Are you going on road trips? Are you playing with your children, seeing friends you forgot existed, or engaging in retail therapy?
If I have time in between what I HAVE to do, I’ll join you. It might be a virtual trip, but we’ll make it happen.
Here’s what’s on my plate (so far) this summer of 2012:
- Attending ISTE 2012. It’s in my backyard this summer–San Diego.
- Attending training my school signed me up for on UbD, our new grading program (forgot the name), and robotics. One of the training sessions comes with a free lunch.
- Editing a K-6 technology curriculum and a keyboard book for Structured Learning (a great publisher of edtech resources for the classroom)
- Working on a tech thriller I hope to finish and get off to publishers. Of course it has lots of cutting edge technology in it and a quirky AI named Otto.
- Picking the brains of my two children. One works in cybercom for the Navy; the other the Signal Corps for the Army. Most of the stuff they can’t tell me, but I love hearing what they can.
- Working with tech teachers at my local school district on a technology curriculum for their K-6 classes.
- Presenting at several schools on tech ed topics. If you’re interested in working with me on that, please contact me at this link.
- Consulting with a Denver school district online to train their new tech teachers in what to teach in their computer labs next year.
- Getting back to my inquisitive, curious roots. I used to spend hours figuring out how to solve problems, find solutions, determine what made something tick. Now, I’m too busy. I can feel the rift in my spirit, my sapped energy, my fuzzy brain. This summer, I’m getting back to that. Here’s my promise:
For the next six weeks, when I see something techie I don’t understand, I’ll stop and ask the essential questions:
Did you promise that this summer, your child would learn to type with more than two fingers, keep his eyes off his hands, and learn to like keyboarding? Your teachers consider that important–Common Core requires
students type between 1-3 pages at a sitting without giving up from boredom, frustration, fatigue. To do that requires a knowledge of where the keys are on the keyb oard and what habits faciliate speedy, accurate typing.
It doesn’t have to be rote drills, drudgery. There are a lot of options that make it fun. Here are 32. I think they’ll find a few they like:
- ABCYa–Keyboard challenge—grade level
- Alphabet rain game
- Barracuda game
- Big Brown Bear
- Bubbles game
- Dance Mat Typing
- Finger jig practice game
- Free typing tutor
- Keyboard practice—quick start
- Keyboarding practice
- Keyboarding—more lessons
- Keyboarding—must sign up, but free
- Keyboarding—quick start
- Keybr–Online practice
- Online typing lessons — more
- Touch Typing Progressive Program
- Typing Club
- Typing Defense—fun word practice
- TypingWeb.com—a graduated course
Summer is for change. Out with routine, in with spontaneity. When you were in high school, that meant relaxing, seeing friends, going to parties. In college, it likely meant a summer job to make the money that paid for college. Now, as an adult, living your future, summer is a time to rejuvenate, to enrich, to build your core–those things that make you who you are.
As a technology teacher or IT coordinator or computer specialist (or all of the above), you need as much time as you can get and more than you have during the school year to stay afloat of what’s happening in the tech ed field. The list of changes is daunting–iPads, 1:1 initiatives, technology integration, podcasts, sharing and publishing student work, embeddable widgets, Common Core State Standards, digital citizenship, keyboarding. If you’re like me, you try to do what you can during the school year, but it’s summer, with its endless days and no schedule that gives you the freedom to let your brain lose.
Here’s my bucket list for this summer:
Which means I must come up with activities to keep myself busy until I return to the next classful of eager faces.
Truth, I know exactly what I’m doing this summer. I’ve spent much of this school year drooling over exciting tools I wanted to learn to use, unable to eke out the requisite time. Too busy with classes and homework and report cards and student needs to focus that nine-pound muscle inside my skull on the nerve-wracking horrors of Something New. What if I can’t figure it out? What if it sucked up all my skimpy free time and I had none left for, say, reading a book?
If you’ve been swearing all year to get students online using some of those amazing digital tools. I have some ideas for you. These seven projects will be so much fun, they will eagerly welcome the new school year, hoping you have more toys for them to learn.
The trick with so many of these online sites is: Let students explore. Don’t rush them. Don’t teach them every twist and turn. Don’t expect perfection. Expect inquiry and enthusiasm and self-paced discovery. Let them solve problems as they create.
Here are seven ideas for amazing end-of-year projects that leave students thinking the school year is ending too soon:
End-of-year Multimedia Summative
Students take pictures of each other holding up favorite projects or working on tech skills–humorously, of course. Use these pictures in an Animoto movie to share light-hearted details of their Year in Tech. Open it with a magazine cover of student (created in Big Huge Labs). Accessorize with music, transitions, and text bubbles. Save to class network and load onto the school set of iPads. Students can play these movies on the last day of class as they celebrate the end of school. If you don’t have iPads, gather students in comfortable seating, play a student video as they reflect on another successful year of Tech.
The most popular website at my school is Minecraft–hands down, starting in 1st grade (I’m amazed parents let six-year-olds use this sometimes violent game, but they do and students do and the mania starts). Because kids would live in this blocky virtual world 24/7, I only let them play it two lunch periods a week. Those days, my lab is always packed. Kids have no idea they’re learning math (estimation, geometry, shapes), science (geology, rocks, minerals), building, or softer skills like thinking and reasoning, problem solving, hypothesis-testing, risk-taking, and collaboration. They don’t realize they’re exercising that delicate skill called ‘creativity’ or care that Common Sense Media raves that “Minecraft empowers players to exercise their imagination and take pride in their digital creations as they learn basic building concepts.”
Hi guys–I’m looking for suggestions on what to teach in a summer school keyboarding class, grades 3-8. I’m offering one for the first time this summer and don’t want it to be non-stop typing. I got some excellent suggestions from my friends over at Elementary Tech Teachers, but I always want more.
Do you have any activities that work well for you in a more-relaxed, casual summer environment? Once I have a list, I published them for everyone.
Thanks so much in advance for all your help! (more…)