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Many of my most popular articles are about mouse skills. Every year, tens of thousands of teachers visit Ask a Tech Teacher to find resources for teaching students how to use a mouse. No surprise because using a mouse correctly is one of the most important pre-keyboarding skills. Holding it is not intuitive and if learned wrong, becomes a habit that’s difficult to break.
The earlier posts are still active, but I’ve updated this resource with more websites and posters to assist in starting off your newest computer aficionados.
- Bees and Honey
- Drawing Melody–draw in many colors with the mouse and create music
- Hover skills–drag mouse over the happy face and see it move
- Left-click practice while playing the piano
- Mouse and tech basics–video
- Mouse practice—drag, click
- Mouse skills
- Mouse Song
- Mr. Picasso Head
Kids love puzzles and they are a great way to teach drag-and-drop skills with the mouse buttons. Here are some of my favorites:
- Digipuzzles–great puzzles for geography, nature, and holidays
- Jigsaw Planet–create your own picture jigsaw
- Jigsaw puzzles
- Jigsaw Puzzles–JS
As of June 16, 2018, Today’s Meet closed (read the full details here). That iconic backchannel chat platform for classroom teachers and learners, the one that for ten years was the first name thought of when discussing feedback and collaboration, one that quickly became a staple in classrooms and conferences. I went to my PLN for thoughts on what they’ll use in its stead. It turns out, there are good options, depending upon whether you primarily use Today’s Meet for:
- backchannel and student response
- polls, forms, or surveys
- warm-up and exit tickets
Here are webtool replacements you can use for summer or fall classes:
Backchannel and Student Response
A backchannel is a way for students to chat about lesson material while it’s being taught. It occurs in realtime but is non-intrusive to classwork. The teacher can throw a question out to students and evaluate learning or needs based on answers. Or students can pose a question and get answers from classmates. Here are three options you will like:
Here are the most-read posts for the month of June:
- My Sound Doesn’t Work
- Top Ten Education Blogs
- Gamechanger: Type to Learn is Now in the Cloud!
- The Case for PDFs in Class
- SL Curricula Online Resources are Moving!
- 5 Favorite Apps for Summer Learning
- Seven Fun Math Activities for the Summer Break
- Look what’s new at Zapzapmath
- World Environment Day: Living Responsibly with Nature
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, a weekly contributor to TeachHUB, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.
Summer has a reputation for being nonstop relaxation, never-ending play, and a time when students stay as far from “learning” as they can get. For educators, those long empty weeks result in a phenomenon known as “Summer Slide” — where students start the next academic year behind where they ended the last.
“…on average, students’ achievement scores declined over summer vacation by one month’s worth of school-year learning…” (Brookings)
This doesn’t have to happen. Think about what students don’t like about school. Often, it revolves around repetitive schedules, assigned grades, and/or being forced to take subjects they don’t enjoy. In summer, we can meet students where they want to learn with topics they like by offering a menu of ungraded activities that are self-paced, exciting, energizing, and nothing like school learning. We talk about life-long learners (see my article on life-long learners). This summer, model it by offering educational activities students will choose over watching TV, playing video games, or whatever else they fall into when there’s nothing to do.
Here are favorites that my students love:
Here are the most-read posts for the month of May:
- How to Wrap up Tech for the School Year
- Touch-Typing: Rote vs Integrated Learning or Rote and Integrated Learning?
- Kiddom’s Content Library Makes Differentiation Faster Than Ever
- Positive focus; Positive behaviors
- EdTech Magazine’s 50 Must-read K-12 IT Blogs
- 10 Ways to Wrap Up the School Year
- 5 Best Websites for IELTS Exam Prep
- Study.com Makes the College Dream a Reality for Lots of Students
Wrapping up your school technology at the end of the school year 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 back up, 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 will be more numerous but really, not more complicated.
Here’s a list. Skip those that don’t apply to you and complete those that do. I won’t take time in this article 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:
Memorial Day (May 28, 2018) is the time we remember all of those soldiers who gave their lives in the defense of American freedom. In war and peace, they made the ultimate sacrifice and because of them we are privileged to live the American Dream.
Once a year, we honor them, their sacrifice, and those they left behind. Here are some activities to help students understand the import of this day:
- Folding the American flag
- In Flanders Field--poem
- Memorial Day Messages, Speeches, Oaths, Poems, Anthems, and images
- Memorial Day Poems
- Memorial Day Poetry–poems
- Memorial Day Prayer
- Memorial Day puzzle I
- Memorial Day Puzzle II
- Memorial Day DigitPuzzle
- Memorial Day Quiz
- Memorial Day Word Search
- Primary source recollections of War
- Quotes about Memorial Day/Wars
- Who you are remembering–Americans killed in action
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?
The classroom is not the only place you can prepare for your IELTS exam. Thanks to technology, the candidates can access different resource materials online to practice for their examination. There are many platforms online that offer opportunities for you to prepare for the different stages of the exam: Speaking, Writing, Reading, and Listening. Right from the comfort of your home, you can measure your English skills in the different categories of the test and get familiar with the exam process at a reasonable cost. Stress has been taken out of your IELTS exam prep. You only need to have a computer system or a mobile phone along with the Internet connection.
There are some great online platforms that provide effective training for the IELTS exam. Using any of them will make your exam prep seamless and devoid of any stress. These top 5 online platforms are:
- IELTS Test Online
The IELTS Test Online is the official website for the IELTS examination. This site is the perfect place to get familiar with the process of the exam and how it works. There are different useful exam details that you can access on this platform. For instance, you can learn more about the general information about the exam format, where to find a test center for IELTS, how to register for the exam, tips on preparing for IELTS test, and sample questions for the examination. To keep abreast of information on the site, you can also join the Facebook Page where you can get tips and quizzes in relation to the IELTS exam. The site is very active and you can learn a lot from its different posts. You can also ask questions and interact with other candidates on the IELTS social platform.
Here are the most-read posts for the month of April:
- How to Blend Learning with Play for a Kid-friendly Summer
- Summer Tech Camp–Everything You Need
- College Credit Classes in Blended Learning
- 5 Great Websites to Make Spring Sparkle
- How a Senior Writing Project Helped Make Coeur d’Alene a District of Choice
- Tech Tip for Teachers: Cover your Webcam
- Grammar Check Websites and Apps That Save Your Writing
- April is Financial Literacy Month–Try these Resources
- 25 Websites for Poetry Month
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 25 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, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning. Read Jacqui’s tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days.