We’re hard at work on a high school technology curriculum. We’ve had a lot of requests for this and hope to have it available before the holidays.
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A new school year is a fresh start. For students, that means a different teacher and new classmates. For teachers, it’s another chance to make an impact on the lives of kids, turn them into life-long learners or at least let them experience the joy of learning.
In the chaos of getting ready for that all-important first day, it’s tempting to “do things as they’ve always been done” — like lectures, quizzes, student plays, and posters — but more and more teachers want to shake things up by adding innovative activities that differentiate for student learning styles while creatively accomplishing classroom goals.
Here are eleven such activities I’ve collected from colleagues using transformative tools that optimize learning while making students active participants in expected learning outcomes:
Use the webtool Too Noisy for the first month of class to show students how loud the class can get. Demonstrate how it works by showing that the louder classroom sounds are, the more the needle moves into the red. After that, project it onto the class screen occasionally throughout the day when voices and activity exceed what is best for learning. Let students notice the meter and then self-correct.
This tool is intuitive, easy to use, and is available on mobile devices only. A good alternative if you don’t have the ability to project your iPad to the class screen: Bouncy Balls.
Post a draft of class rules on the wall based on those followed last year. Ask students for suggestions. As they offer ideas, jot them down on the list. When everyone is done, post the edited list in place of the draft. Now, everyone is a stakeholder in classroom management.
Where to purchase: Teachers Pay Teachers
- for grades K-12
- five resources, from posters to pedagogy to lesson plans
- 175 pages, delivered digitally via PDF
- available only through Teachers Pay Teachers
These five tools (included) help you start Day One and can be used throughout the year:
The 56-page 25 Digital Tools in the Classroom is a thorough discussion on which are the most useful tools in any K-8 classroom, classified by appropriate grade level. This includes popular digital tools such as blogs, backchannel devices, vocabulary decoding tools, avatars, digital portfolios, digital note-taking, and more.
This is the same as the Ask a Tech Teacher resource, 25 Digital Tools in the Classroom You don’t need to purchase both.
I get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m going to take a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are edited and/or written by members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, by tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found, are well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.
Today: the K-8 Technology Curriculum
The K-8 Technology Curriculum is Common Core and ISTE aligned, and outlines what should be taught when so students have the necessary scaffolding to use tech in the pursuit of grade level state standards and school curriculum.
Updated in 2018, each book is between 212 and 252 pages and includes lesson plans, assessments, domain-specific vocabulary, problem-solving tips, Big Idea, Essential Question, options if primary tech tools not available, posters, reproducibles, samples, tips, enrichments, entry and exit tickets, and teacher preparation. Lessons build on each other kindergarten through 5th grade. For Middle School, they are designed for the grading period time frame typical of those grade levels, with topics like programming, robotics, and community service with tech.
Most (all?) grade levels include base topics of keyboarding, digital citizenship, problem solving, digital tools for the classroom, and coding.
Included are optional student workbooks (sold separately) that allow students to be self-paced, responsible for their own learning. They include required weblinks, rubrics, exemplars, weekly lessons, full-color images, and more.
Grades K-5 has a FREE companion website with FREE videos on how to teach each lesson throughout the year, a glossary of terms used in the books, and how-to videos on webtools referred to in the books (not all, but most).
The curriculum is used worldwide by public and private schools and homeschoolers.
I get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m going to take a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are from members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, from tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.
Today: Lesson Plans
There are lots of bundles of lesson plans available–by theme, by software, by topic, by standard. Let me review a few:
- bundles of 5 lesson plans–Themed; great when you want to cover a software program, a tool, a grade, or a standard. Each calls out the higher order thinking skill engaged. Pick the one that fits your need. They’re affordable, focused, and often completed in just a few class sessions.
- bundle of bundles–Buy three bundles of five lessons to cover a wide-range of needs.
- STEM Lesson Plans
- Coding Lesson Plans
- By Grade Level
- 30 K-5 Common Core-aligned lessons–5 per grade level
- 110 lesson plans–integrate tech into different grades, subjects, by difficulty level, and call out higher-order thinking skills. These cover everything and are discounted this month. Check them out. They could be exactly what you need.
- singles–for as low as $.99 each. Genius Hour, Google Apps, Khan Academy, Robotics, STEM, Coding, and more.
- Holiday projects–16 lesson plans that theme to holidays and keep students in the spirit while learning new tools.
Who needs this
It’s the end of school. Everyone’s tired, including you. What you want for these last few weeks are activities that keep the learning going but in a different way. You want to shake things up so students are excited and motivated and feel interested again.
Change your approach. Provide some games, simulations, student presentations–whatever you don’t normally do in your classroom. If you’re doing PowerPoints, use the last few weeks for presentations. Make them special–invite teachers. Invite parents. If you never serve food in your lab, do it for these presentations.
Here are my favorite year-end Change-up activities:
6 Webtools in 6 Weeks
Give students a list of 10-15 webtools that are age-appropriate. I include Prezi, Google MapMaker, Scratch, Voice Thread, Glogster, and Tagxedo, These will be tools they don’t know how to use (and maybe you don’t either). They work in groups to learn the tool (using help files, how-to videos, and resources on the site), create a project using the tool (one that ties into something being discussed in class), and then teach classmates. Challenge students to notice similarities between their chosen tools and others that they know how to use. This takes about three weeks to prepare and another three weeks to present (each presentation takes 20-30 minutes). Students will be buzzing with all the new material and eager to use it for summer school or the next year.
Designed for grades 3-12. Need ideas on web tools?
From Ask a Tech Teacher
Are you teaching a Summer Tech Camp to Kids? We have the solution:
Build Your Own Adventure
$230 value for $179
Check out my article over at Western Governor’s University on how to update the classic bridge building lesson plan:
Over the past decade, a mainstay for middle school science programs has been building toothpick bridges. This type of school project—somewhat of a rite of passage in Project Based Learning—is intended to help teach students through hands-on experience. Similar projects include baking soda volcanoes, the infamous egg drop, and growing plants as a class. I remember assigning the bridge project to my students, as well as helping my own children with it, but I have since learned that the typical way of tackling this school project can leave students feeling dissatisfied.
- 10 Tips About Using Images in the Classroom You Don’t Want to Miss
- Image Copyright Do’s and Don’ts
- Photos For Class–Robust, Student-safe with built in citations
- Quick Search for Plagiarized Images
- 5 Image Apps for your Classroom
- My Picture’s a TIFF and the Program Needs a JPG
- What Online Images are Free?
- Where Can I Find Kid-safe Images?
- Drawing in Photoshop
- Easy Photo Editing in MS Word
More on image editing:
- lesson plan in teaching about copyrights
- bundle of lesson plans on KidPix
- bundle of lesson plans on Photoshop
Here are ideas for Halloween projects, lesson plans, websites, and apps:
- ASCII Art–Computer Art for Everyone (a pumpkin–see inset)
- Lesson Plan: Halloween letter for grades 2-5
- Make a Holiday Card
- A Holiday Card (with Publisher)
- A Holiday flier