Category: Teacher resources
3 Projects to Teach 1st Grade Architecture
Many Fridays, I report on a wonderful website or project my classes and parents love. This one is teaching architecture to youngers:
Three projects over six weeks and your students will learn about blueprints, room layout, dimensions, and more. Plus, they’ll understand how to think about a three-dimensional object and then spatially lay it out on paper. This is challenging, but fun for first graders.
Spend two weeks on each projects. Incorporate a discussion of spaces, neighborhoods, communities one week. Practice the drawing, then do the final project which students can save and print. Kids will love this unit.
- First, draw a picture in your drawing program of the child’s home. If you don’t already have a class favorite, check this list. Many have architecture tools so show students how to find them. Have kids think about their house, walk through it. They’ll have to think in three dimensions and will soon realize they can’t draw a two-story house. In that case, allow them to pick which rooms they wish to include and concentrate on what’s in the room.
You Know You’re a Techy Teacher When…
I have to reblog this wonderful post by my efriend, Lisa. How many of these fit you? Can you add to this list?
You Know You’re a Techy Teacher When…
- You can’t remember the last time you printed a classroom document.
- Plurking, tweeting, and playing with your wiki in public are acceptable behaviors.
- Your Notebook isn’t spiral bound – it plugs into the wall.
- Forget the garden…you spend more time on the weekend weeding out your Inbox.
- You can recite your school’s Acceptable Use Policy by heart.
- On parent/teacher night, instead of exchanging business cards, you Bump.
- You express yourself with emoticons.
- You no longer consider it graffiti to write on someone’s wall.
- Your significant other gets jealous of your PLN.
- It’s not creepy to have lots of followers.
- Your students call you the “cool” teacher.
- The other teachers are jealous of your Instagram.
- YouTube is blocked in your school, and you know how to get around it.
- The Tech Department is sick of your constant requests to unblock Twitter.
- You’ve Googled your principal.
- You know that TweetDeck is not a patio with a lot of birds.
- You correct your friends’ grammar when they text you.
- “Casual Fridays” means logging into the EdTech UNconference in your bunny slippers.
- You wear your “I Heart EdTech” button everywhere you go.
- You read this blog post then tweet it, like it, and pass it on to a friend (more…)
#72: Check Your Math in Excel
This is one of the most popular lessons I teach to Excel beginners. It is relevant, instantly usable and makes sense from the beginning. Click the images below to enlarge them for viewing.[gallery columns="2" ids="45219,45218"]
–from 55 Technology Projects for the Digital Classroom
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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, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.
Know Computer Hardware
Learning computers starts in kindergarten with understanding hardware. This lesson plan (#103 in the lesson plan book noted below) includes three pages. Introduce less with K, more each year until by sixth grade, students are good hardware problem solvers because they understand the basics.
Page 2 is an assessment you can either print out and have students fill in or push out to students to be completed online.
How to Keep a Timecard in Excel
This project (#70 in the collection of #110) hides a spreadsheet’s power behind a template you create and students fill out at home. If they’re older and more familiar with spreadsheets, involve them in creating the template. If the lesson plans are blurry, click on them for a full size alternative.
Note: The example uses Excel, but it works just as well with Google Spreadsheets.
–from 55 Technology Projects for the Digital Classroom
Should You Unschool?
The first time I read about Unschooling, I ignored it. Surely, it was a fad that would go away.
When I read about it a thousand more times, I dug into it.
Inspired by the teachings of John Holt (1923–1985), this free range branch of homeschooling promotes learning through nonstructured, child-led exploration. There’s no set curriculum or schedule; students learn what interests them with guidance from involved adults. There are no worksheets, tests, or structure to provide evidence of learning or templates for teaching. The children pick what to learn, when, at what pace. The result — according to unschoolers, is a love of learning, tenacity to a task, and independent thought that prepares them for college and career better than traditional methods. In fact, if you look at the list of traits valued in popular education programs such as Habits of Mind and Depth of Knowledge, the reasons why parents unschool their children mirror the traits included in these lists.
According to Dr. Peter Gray of Freedom to Learn:
“Unschooling parents do not … do at home the kinds of things that are done at school. More specifically, they do not establish a curriculum for their children, do not require their children to do particular assignments for the purpose of education, and do not test their children to measure progress. Instead, they allow their children freedom to pursue their own interests and to learn, in their own ways, what they need to know to follow those interests. They may, in various ways, provide an environmental context and environmental support for the child’s learning. In general, unschoolers see life and learning as one.”
If you use Genius Hour in your classroom, you have a sense of how inspiring, motivating, and addicting learning for the love of learning can be. Another popular example of unschooling is Sugata Mitra’s 1999 Hole in the Wall experiment where a computer was placed in a kiosk in an Indian slum. Children were allowed to use it freely. The experiment successfully proved that children could learn to use computers without any formal training. This was extended to be a method called Minimally Invasive Education (MIE) where students were encouraged to learn what interests them without adult direction — much as what is expected from unschooling.
5 (free) Mouse Skills Posters
Every month, we’ll share five themed posters that you can share on your website (with attribution), post on your walls, or simply be inspired.
This month: Mouse Skills
–for the entire collection of 65 posters, click here
5 (free) Keyboarding Posters
Every month or so, we share themed posters you can re-share on your website (with attribution), post on your walls, or simply be inspired.
This month: Keyboarding
Tech Ed Resources–Online Classes and Coaching
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 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.
Ask a Tech Teacher offers a variety of classes throughout the year. These can be taught individually (through coaching or mentoring), in small groups (of at least five), or as school PD. Some are for certificates; others for college credit. All are online, hands-on, with an authentic use of tools you’ll want for your class.
Click the course titles for more information.
The 21st Century teacher blends technology with teaching to build a collaborative, differentiated, and shared learning environment. In this course, you will use a suite of digital tools while addressing overarching concepts like digital citizenship, internet search and research, authentic assessment, digital publishing, and immersive keyboarding. You will actively collaborate, share knowledge, provide constructive feedback to classmates, publish digitally, and differentiate for unique needs. Classmates will become the core of your ongoing Personal Learning Network.
Assessment is project-based so be prepared to be fully-involved and an eager risk-taker.
The Case for PDFs in Class Revisited
I published this about a year ago and have updated it to reflect our current teaching environment. Let me know if this fits your experiences:
The biggest reason teachers report for NOT liking internet-based cloud accounts has nothing to do with money, security, or privacy. It’s that they aren’t inclusive enough. Students can’t access cloud storage, Google Classroom, or their LMS for a project they’re working on because of the lack of Internet at home or slow internet service–or a teacher can’t get to lesson plan resources because of dead spot in the school or overload, the excitement of learning melts away like ice cream on a hot day.
That’s why no matter how good webtools sound, I won’t install them if they’re problematic–for example, they are slow to load, the website is unreliable, or saving is an issue. The most dependable method of accessing resources is through programs preloaded onto the local computer or available as PDFs that are easily shared.
I get it. Schools have moved many of their educational resources to the cloud. This might be to save money on maintenance or to make them accessible from anywhere or any number of other great reasons, but the change results in the problems I’ve mentioned. Too often and annoyingly That has spawned a rebirth in the popularity of Portable Document Formatted books and resources, commonly referred to as PDFs. While not perfect for every situation, they are exactly the right answer for many.
Here are ten reasons to consider when evaluating PDF vs. cloud-based resources:
PDFs play well with others
PDFs work on all digital devices, all platforms. No worries about whether they run better in Firefox or Chrome, Macs or PCs (or Chromebooks or iPads), Windows or MacOS (or Linux or iOS). They work on all of these and most others. With a free PDF reader (like Adobe or many others–check this link for ideas), students can open a document and get started right away. Even if they’re school system is a Mac and their home is a PC, the PDF opens fine.