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Teacher resources

What You Might Have Missed in April

Here are the most-read posts for the month of April:

  1. An Open Letter to Teachers About Online Classes
  2. 11 Projects to Teach Digital Citizenship
  3. The 15-second Slideshow
  4. What to do when you lose a digital document
  5. Have Google Takeout at Your End-of-Year Party
  6. 12 Tech Tasks To End the School Year
  7. Kindergartners need Technology too!
  8. 10 Myths about Teaching with Tech
  9. Here’s How to Get Started with Ask a Tech Teacher
  10. 5 Favorite Activities to End the School Year

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today and TeachHUB, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

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Here’s a Preview of May

Here’s a preview of what’s coming up on Ask a Tech Teacher in May:

  • Cinco de Mayo Websites
  • Teacher Appreciation Week
  • World Password Day
  • I’m traveling–see you in June!

(more…)

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Dear Otto: Help With Classroom Management Problems

tech q & aDear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please contact me at askatechteacher at gmail dot com and I’ll answer it here. 

BTW–lots of people ask why the name ‘Otto’. It’s a palindrome so beloved by geeks and nerds and techie-sort of folk.

I got this question from a colleague::

I teach computer literacy. K-4 teachers line their students up and they arrive all at one time, so with this age it would be easier to give instruction before everyone is seated. However, it is still difficult because I don’t really have enough open floor space to seat them away from their computer.

5-8 students walk down to my class on their own, so there is a period of 5-7 minutes of students wandering in. Once they sit down at the computer I’ve already lost about half of their attention. If I post the assignment on the board, even after weeks/months of making it habit, they still don’t grasp the concept of looking there for instruction. 
xx
My classes are literally back to back and they are only 45 minutes in length, plus routine is hard to set when you only see students once a week. My oldest students are the worst to not log out of their computers, and with that being said when students sit down and there is a site left open they automatically want to engage. I do have remote desktop, but I don’t find it as useful as I had hoped in regards to locking screens. 
xx
My answer:

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Categories: Classroom management, Dear Otto, Teacher resources | Leave a comment

12 Tech Tasks To End the School Year

end of school yearWrapping up your school technology for the summer is as complicated as setting it up in September. There are endless backups, shares, cleanings, changed settings, and vacation messages that — if not done right — can mean big problems when you return from summer vacation. If you have a school device, a lot of the shutdown steps will be done by the IT folks as they backup, clean, reformat, and maybe re-image your device. If you have a personal device assigned by the school but yours to take home, the steps may be more numerous but really, not more complicated.

Here’s a list. Skip those that don’t apply to you and complete the rest. I won’t take time in this article (I’m at about 1000 words right now) for a how-to on each activity so if you don’t know how to complete one, check with your IT folks or Google it:

Make sure your firewall and antivirus programs are working.

Many computers come with a built-in one to keep viruses and malware out that slow your computer. Sometimes, they seem to turn off by themselves (I have no idea why). Check to be sure yours is active. If you have a Chromebook or an iPad, don’t even worry about this.

Clean out your documents.

Sort through the documents you collected this year and get rid of those you don’t need anymore. It’s intimidating, like a file cabinet that hasn’t been opened in months –- or years — and is covered with spider webs. If you don’t do this regularly, the computer must finger through these unused files every time you search. If you hate throwing anything away, create an ‘Old’ folder, toss them all in it, and save that to a flash drive or in the cloud.

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Here’s How to Get Started with Ask a Tech Teacher

Hello! Ask a Tech Teacher is a group of tech ed professionals who work together to offer you tech tips, advice, pedagogic discussion, lesson plans, and anything else we can think of to help you integrate tech into your classroom. Our primary focus is to provide technology-in-education-related information for educators–teachers, administrators, homeschoolers, and parents.

Here’s how to get started on our blog:

Read our varied columns

They are numerous and varied, including

Read Hall of Fame articles

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2 Children’s Books You’ll Love

As a teacher, I’m always looking for children’s books for my students. I’m excited to say I’ve found two I think you’ll like:

  • Amazing Matilda — A coming of age of a monarch butterfly; delightful
  • Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five story and cookbook

amazing matildaAmazing Matilda

by Bette Stevens

5/5

Bette Stevens Amazing Matilda: The Tale of a Monarch Butterfly (CreateSpace 2012) is the story of tiny Matilda, a round white creature born from an egg in Nature’s garden with a burning desire to fly.  Without wings, though, she knows that can’t happen. Matilda has no idea that in her life, she will morph from the crawly leaf-bound creature to a gorgeous monarch butterfly. She tells her animal friends about her passion to fly and they offer their stories of growing up as well as sage advice any parent would be envious of. For example, her friend Sparrow suggests:

“Just have patience and follow your instincts, my dear…” 

Another friend suggests:

“I could do anything that I wanted to if I only tried long enough and hard enough.”

She is frustrated by this good-natured advice because she has no idea how to do what they suggest:

“Sparrow said that I must have patience and that I must follow my instincts. Now, you say I must have wings. Where can I find all of those things?”

As Matilda grows, she changes from a larva to pupa to a gorgeous winged adult. Each stage in Matilda’s amazing journey is accompanied with wonderful drawings that show her progress, who she meets, and how she changes.

As a result, readers are not just entertained by the story but happily learn about the development of a butterfly. There are lots of cute lines, such as:

“Matilda crunched and munched and lunched, leaf after leaf, day after day.”

If you loved P.D. Eastman’s incomparable book, Are You My Mother, about a baby bird’s search for its mother, you must read this book. If Charlotte’s Web is one of your childhood favorites, I say, Move over Charlotte. Matilda is now here!

This is a short book. In fact. This review is almost longer than the story!


Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five story and cookbook

by Robbie Cheadle

5/5

Robbie Cheadle’s Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five story and cookbook (2019) is the next in the author’s delightful series of books that blend children’s stories with themed original recipes. This one is a clever story poem about the disappearance of zoo animals and how Sir Chocolate must figure out what happened.

“One day Sir Chocolate arrived, and not a sound could hear, he called long and loud, but no animals did appear. The animals had vanished, the zoo was empty and still,”

“The monkey is naughty, he likes to have fun, he plays tricks on the others, then away he does run.”

The story is written in the format of a poem and includes great photographs that help readers visualize the action. At the completion of the story, there is a cute poem to introduce an original collection of animal-themed recipes children can complete with their parents. Some of the recipes are:

  • Sir Chocolate peppermint caramel pudding
  • Cheetah Cheese scones
  • Rino Soetkoekies

I have bought several of these books because I love the idea of blending a story with cooking and inspiring kids and parents to spend time together. I also love that Robbie writes these books with her son, Michael, each doing their part in writing, cooking, and photographing. Overall, this is another excellent book in a clever collection that not only entertains but brings parents and kids together.

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5 Favorite Activities to End the School Year

end of school activities

The end of the school year is a time when both students and teachers alike are distracted by thoughts of vacation, sleeping in, and no deadlines. For many, this means, during the last few weeks of school, learning limps to a grinding halt but increasingly, teachers use this time productively to introduce curricular- and standards-aligned activities that “color outside the lines” — step away from the textbook to blend learning with dynamic activities that remind students why they want to be life-long learners. Many of these, educators would love to teach but “just don’t have time for“, even though they align well with broad goals of preparing students for college and career.

If you’re looking for meaningful lessons to wrap up your school year, here are my top picks:

  • Digital Passport
  • Cool book reports
  • Practice keyboarding
  • Dig into cyberbullying
  • Applied Digital Skills

Digital Passport

Common Sense Media’s award-winning Digital Passport is the gold-standard in teaching digital citizenship to grades 3-5 (or Middle School). This free-to-schools online program mixes videos, games, quizzes, and the challenge of earning badges to teach students the  concepts behind digital citizenship:

  • Communication
  • Privacy
  • Cyber-bullying
  • How to search
  • Plagiarism

It includes certificates of achievement, badges at the completion of units, and a classroom tracking poster to show how students are progressing.

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Categories: Digital Citizenship, Keyboarding, Teacher resources, Writing | Tags: , | Leave a comment

What You Might Have Missed in March

Here are the most-read posts for the month of March:

  1. 33 Resources for Read Across America Day
  2. Teaching Basic Cybersecurity Measures To Everyday People (For Parents of Digital Natives)
  3. How Readilearn grew from one woman’s dream to an exciting education resource
  4. How Smart Tech and IoT are Making Educational Spaces More Accessible
  5. Humorous Look at What I Learned from my Computer
  6. Peer Feedback That Works
  7. The Importance of SEL to Education Success
  8. April is Financial Literacy Month
  9. Why Mastery Based Learning is a Good Option
  10. Fake News or Fact? How do you tell?
  11.  Ways to Teach Tolerance
  12. Solve 50% of Tech Problems with 16 Simple Solutions

(more…)

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Here’s a Preview of April

Here’s a preview of what’s coming up on Ask a Tech Teacher in April:

  • Cutting Edge Tech to Improve Music Teaching
  • 5 Favorite Activities to End the School Year
  • 9 Ways to Teach Tolerance
  • Fake News or Fact? How do you tell?
  • 10 Myths about teaching with tech
  • Solve half of tech problems with 16 simple solutions
  • Have Google Takeout at your end-of-year party
  • What to do when you lose a digital document
  • 11 projects to teach digital citizenship
  • How to wrap up tech for the school year
  • 5 favorite apps for summer learning

(more…)

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What You Might Have Missed in February

Here are the most-read posts for the month of February:

  1. My Favorite 5 Tech Tools for Teacher-Authors
  2. Questions Parents Ask
  3. 18 Valentine Sites For Students
  4. How Wearable Technology is Changing Education and Easing Disabilities
  5. The Easy Way to Teach Internet Skills
  6. Engineers Week — A Must for High School
  7. Purpose Driven Learning: Myths, Problems, and Education Applications
  8. Best-in-Category Winners for 2018
  9. Easily Manage Class AR with Metaverse Collections
  10. Kid-created Games That Teach

(more…)

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