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Happy Thanksgiving Week to All!

I’m taking next week off. I’ll be preparing for my daughter’s holiday visit from her home in DC and my son who’s visiting virtually from Okinawa Japan. I am so excited to see both of them!

I’ll be back November 26th. Any emergencies–drop me a line at askatechteacher@gmail.com.


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-8 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 reviewer, CAEP reviewer, 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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10 Common Core Tech Tips You Don’t Want to Miss

common core resourcesHere are ten of the top Common Core tips according to Ask a Tech Teacher readers:

  1. 13 Ways Blogs Teach Common Core
  2. Common Core Breathes Life into Keyboarding
  3. Common Core requires publishing. Technology makes that happen
  4. Dear Otto: What are Common Core keyboarding standards?
  5. 7 Ways Common Core Will Change Your Classroom
  6. 7 Common Core Ways to Assess Knowledge
  7. How to Align Technology with Common Core State Standards
  8. 11 Things I Love About Common Core
  9. Common Core Reading–What if Students Don’t Like Reading
  10. Common Core: A Lesson Plan for STEM (on Bridges)

More Common Core resources

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Subscriber Special: November

Watch for our Veteran’s Day special in your mailbox.

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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

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Tech Tip #95: Quickly Find Programs You Use

tech edAs a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q:I can’t always find the program I want. They seem to move around on the desktop or get lost in the clutter. I don’t like putting them on the taskbar because then that gets too busy. What’s a better way to organize the programs I use all the time?

A: Pin them to the Start Menu.

  • Find the icon for the program.
  • Right click and you get a drop-down list of favorite choices.
  • Select “Pin to Start Menu”. That puts it above the line on the Start Menu (when you push the Start button). The programs below the line are the ones you’ve used recently.

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FREE Tech Teacher Training–But Join Quickly

teacher trainingUPDATE: OK–no more FREE.But it’s still great value:

I have a great opportunity for:

  • teachers
  • interns
  • pre-service teachers
  • homeschoolers

I have joined with Curriculum Study Group to teach online tech ed classes for teachers (only teachers). A little background on the program:

Who is Curriculum Study Group

It is a company name, but also a learning style. ‘Curriculum Study Groups’ are a powerful way to transform teaching and learning through online collaboration among teachers of the same subject and grade, under the guidance of master teachers. The goals:

  • Magnify the impact of teachers, while providing them with potentially the most powerful professional development of their careers
  • Reduce needless reinvention of the wheel, by enabling participants to build on the experiences and resources of master teachers
  • Provide tangible support for lesson planning, instruction, and assessment that goes beyond what is offered in published curriculum
  • Make high-quality, curriculum-based professional development available to any teacher, anywhere
  • Assist teachers in addressing the challenge of meeting Common Core State Standards and other rigorous standards in specific content areas.

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Book Review: Sixth Grade Technology Textbook

Sixth Grade Technology: 32 Lessons Every Sixth Grader Can Accomplish on a Computer
by Structured Learning IT Teaching Team

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m often asked what books I’d recommend for teaching technology in the classroom. Each year about this time, I do a series of reviews on my favorite tech ed books. If you’re already looking ahead to next year’s technology curriculum and want to fix some of this year’s problems, I suggest you consider the seven-volume K-6 technology curriculum series that’s used in hundreds of school districts across the country (and a few internationally). It’s skills-based, project-based, aligned with NETS national standards and fully integratable into state core classroom standards.

The seventh in the series, the 170-page Sixth Grade Technology: 32 Lessons Every Sixth Grader Can Do (Structured Learning 2012), available in print or digital, and perfect for Smartscreens, iPads, laptops. It includes many age-appropriate samples, reproducibles, Web 2.0 connections, thematic websites, and how-to’s. Because I edited this book, I made sure it includes pieces that I as a teacher knew to be critical to the classroom:

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Weekend Website #96: Embedit.in

Every Friday, I’ll send you a wonderful website (or more) that my classes and my parents love. I think you’ll find they’ll be a favorite of your students as they are of mine.

[caption id="attachment_8081" align="aligncenter" width="614"]embedit Embed any website or file into a wiki, blog and more[/caption]

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6th Grade Technology Textbook is Here!

[caption id="attachment_7244" align="alignleft" width="121"]technology curriculum 7th in the series, a year’s worth of technology lessons for 6th graders[/caption]

6th Grade Technology: 32 Lessons Every Sixth Grader Can Accomplish

7th in the SL Technology Curriculum Series

Be among the first to purchase from website–get FREE P&H

The choice of hundreds of school districts, private schools and homeschoolers around the world, this seven-volume suite is the all-in-one solution to running an effective, efficient, and fun technology program for kindergarten-sixth grade (each grade level textbook sold separately) whether you’re the lab specialist, IT coordinator, or classroom teacher. Each volume includes technology basics all sixth graders should know, useful cloud-based Web 2.0 tools, themed units that tie into classroom units of inquiry, articles that address the pedagogy of sixth grade technology, and Scope and Sequence for a ten-month program. Each lesson includes 1) brief overview, 2) prior skills required, 3) vocabulary required, 4) difficulties students might have, if any, 5) assessment strategies, 6) knowledge, skills, and strategies students will gain, 7) connections to other curriculum areas, if any, and 8) ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) Standards addressed.

Additionally, this ten-month program highlights areas of digital citizenship and higher-order thinking skills identified as critical for students if they expect to live productive lives in our emerging global society. These areas include the ability to demonstrate creativity and innovation; communicate and collaborate; conduct research and utilize information; think critically, solve problems, and make decisions; and use technology effectively and productively.

Note to readers: Color shown and embedded links are included in pdf version only, sold separately. Please contact publisher for a discounted digital book with proof of purchase.

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6th Grade Tech Textbook Almost Ready

I received numerous requests for this logical addition to the K-5 series. We’ve collected lots of ideas from 6th grade teachers, checked the details and are now organizing the lessons so they work in your classroom. Once that’s done, we’ll put them into a year-long format that provides sixth graders a student-centered curriculum to move them into the skills they’ll need for middle school education.

If you’d like to be notified when this book is ready, please click the form below and sign up. The publication date looks to be after the new year.

[caption id="attachment_6843" align="aligncenter" width="599"]6th grade technology textbook Coming after the new year[/caption]

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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and creator of two technology training books for middle school. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, an Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, an IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s seeking representation for a techno-thriller she just finished. Any ideas? Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab.

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Book Review: Second Grade Technology–32 Lessons

Second Grade Technology: 32 Lessons Every Second Grader Can Accomplish on a ComputerSecond Grade Technology: 32 Lessons Every Second Grader Can Accomplish on a Computer

by Structured Learning IT Teaching Team

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the Fourth Edition, updated to MS Office 2007/10. It includes many more samples, reproducibles, Web 2.0 connections and how-to’s that are age-appropriate for a second grader. At 72 pages, it’s much more like a tech lab-in-a-binder than a mere 32 projects. The Amazon blurb says it all:

The six-volume Structured Learning Technology Curriculum (Fourth Edition, 2011) is the all-in-one solution to running an effective, efficient, and fun technology program whether you’re the lab specialist, IT coordinator, classroom teacher, or homeschooler, and is the current choice of hundreds of school districts across the country. Newly updated and expanded, each volume now includes step-by-step directions for a year’s worth of projects, samples, grading rubrics, reproducibles, wall posters, teaching ideas and hundreds of online connections to access enrichment material and updates from a working technology lab. Aligned with ISTE national technology standards, the curriculum follows a tested timeline of which skill to introduce when, starting with mouse skills, keyboarding, computer basics, and internet/Web 2.0 tools in Kindergarten/First; MS Word, Publisher, Excel, PowerPoint, Google Earth, internet research, email and Photoshop in Second-Fifth. Each activity is integrated with classroom units in history, science, math, literature, reading, writing, critical thinking and more. Whether you’re an experienced tech teacher or brand new to the job, you’ll appreciate the hundreds of embedded links that enable you to stay on top of current technology thinking and get help from active technology teachers using the program. Additional items included in each volume are wall posters to explain basic concepts, suggestions for keyboarding standards, discussion of how to integrate Web 2.0 tools into the classroom curriculum and the dozens of online websites to support classroom subjects. (more…)

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