Saturday, 13 March 2010

Lab lessons with Juniors

I was working with a computer lab teacher today looking at ways to work with students. She had a class of Year one students came in!

You need to put some sanity saving measures in when working with a class of 5 and 6 year olds in a lab. They can't sit for long, because they are too excited, so it is best to get them on the computers straight away. If possible don't have them sharing as their collaborative skills at this age aren't that great!
Beforehand you will have needed to teach a couple (or more) of more able students to help the others to log on, and then click on the programme they are going to be using i.e KidPix or Paint. Let them go for it, experimenting with the tools or doing their favourite thing. Once everybody is logged on and in the programme, THEN you can start to add some order to your lessons.

The following are the stages you could go through with Juniors
These happen over several sessions!
  • free play
  • while they are in free play, work with individuals showing them a new tool i.e dragging background pictures and adding stamps
  • show them the typing tool and type their name (you will need a display on a wall that shows the Upper and Lower case letters for those who haven't mastered them yet)
  • type the words they know how to write (have high frequency words on the wall for students to look at)
  • first official lesson can be drawing a picture about their topic or what they are writing about in their classroom LIMIT THE TOOLS! Pencil and Paint Can ONLY
  • Repeat this session many times but bring something new in when the students look ready for it like typing your name (I also teach new things to students who look like they are capable of it as I walk around)
  • next session might be typing a sentence
  • at some stage teach the more able students how to save (they will help you to save students work)

  • once the students are used to all these steps then you might introduce a new programme/Application
  • at the same time talk to the students about the magic line, put two hands on the keyboard, this hand can't cross over this side of the magic line and the other hand can't cross over that side of the magic line (I put little pieces of folded paper between the keys to create a magic line)
Once the students know the routines and how to use one or two of the programmes, then start using your computer lab time as curriculum teaching and learning time. Writing is a good area to start with. Use the projector to model your writing genre. Students can have their writing books (there should be a container of pencils in lab). Send a small group of able students to the computers to draft (use Kidpix, Kidspiration, Pages, Word etc). The rest of the students can be drafting in their books. Children could be sent off to the computers to...
  • draw a picture for their story
  • Type a heading for their story that could be printed out
  • find a picture in Kidpix that could be printed out
While this is all going on, integrate keyboarding skills at the same time
  • always remind them of the magic line
  • thumbs only on the space bar
  • pinkies only on the delete key
  • rest fingers on the home keys (those students whose fingers can reach and are ready for it)
With little ones it is all about learning the basic skills and developing that fine motor control. Some students will need more time 'with free play'. If you have students that need mouse skills then set up Interactive Learning Centres such as...
Mouse Practice
    Mouse Practice PowerPoint Show version
    View more presentations from Jacqui Sharp.

    To make these Learning Centres follow these instructions

    Finally, limit the time students are on the computers, 30 minutes is plenty of time for younger children to be staring at screen. If you have extra time over, then bring out the cameras and take photos that could be used for motivational writing or for publishing their work.
    Just remember at this age more than any other age, the students will develop their skills at differing speeds...some a LOT faster than others. Identify those children that have those skills and use them to help you to teach the others. You will find that children learn best from each other!

    Wednesday, 10 March 2010

    Researching smarter

    There are still a lot of teachers that are sending children off to do 'research' on Google using one key word.i.e bird (253 million hits later). When they finally find a page that has the information they want, it is invariably printed out, and trawled through looking for information.
    This is long, tedious, boring and usually irrelevant!
    Become a smart researcher with some of these strategies

    1. have at least 3 key words if you are looking for information on birds, what sort of birds are you looking for, what country etc so now the Google search becomes 'bird native wading' and because we want to search for New Zealand Birds we click on  pages from New Zealand.
    Now we have 10,400 hits!
    2. Open up a mindmap/Graphic Organiser (I like to use Kidspiration or Inspiration, or you can use online versions) Create a simple mindmap

    3. Go back to the internet site you have chosen, press Ctrl F (Command F for Macs) type in one of the key words from questions in mindmap like 'eats'

    4. The word eat did not appear on my page so I used a synonym such as feed, click the next button to see each instance of the word feed until you see a sentence that will answer your question
    5. Go back to your mindmap and type in the information you found
    6. Go between the Internet site and the mindmap adding information
    7. Add a picture to your mindmap by right clicking on a picture in your internet page, select Copy Image, go back to mindmap and paste (Ctrl V)
    8. Don't forget to reference where information and picture came from

    Model this way of researching to your class.
    Use this model in all curriculum areas.
    Become a smarter researcher yourself and your students will follow!

    Friday, 5 March 2010

    What to do with a few minutes spare?

    There are few games that I like to play with students when we have a few minutes spare, you need at least a projector (and laptop) and even better a mimio or IWB.

    Free Rice
    Free Rice is my first favourite. For every question you get right 10 grains of rice gets donated through the World Food Programme.

    The reason it is my favourite is that if you click on Change Subjects you can choose from other subjects.

     I particularly like to do the Geography questions as most children in New Zealand schools have very little idea of where other countries are in the World.

    Lemons for Literacy
    Then there is Lemons for Literacy. With this site every correct answer helps somebody to read in America. Money is donated by the site creators to purchase literacy materials.

    With this site you can click on the speaker symbol to hear the words and meanings.

    You can also change the type of game by clicking on the 'Defintion Matching' dropdown menu to choose Word meaning. You can also choose a subject rather than General (some of the choices are Business, Medical, School, travel or hospitality). You can also adjust the level of the words.

    Free Poverty
    Lastly there is Free Poverty
    The goal of this game is to test your knowledge of places on the map. Every correct answer means that will donate 10 cups of water. The further away from the correct spot and the cups of water decrease, if you are too far away there is 0 cups of water awarded. Unfortunately it does have advertisements on it so check what they are advertising that day before using with your class.

    The reason I like using the mimio or IWB is that students can use the pens to interact with words and the maps rather than one person using the computer.

    And here is one more I have just found

    Free Flour
    Free flour used to donate one spoonful of flour to World Hunger, but they are looking for sponsers. You can still play the game for free.

    In this game you get questioned General Knowledge questions. Check out what the advertisements are advertising before using with children.

    Thursday, 4 March 2010

    This day in History

    One of the activities I timetable children to do each day before school is to find out what happened on this day in History. Some of the sites I had been using were American (and were the day before, because of time difference).

    Sometimes the information on those sites were not really appropriate for children in New Zealand. I came across this site New Zealand History online. What a great way to teach our students New Zealand history.

    How to use in the Classroom
    IWB or mimio
    Make a file using the notebook software of the IWB you are using. Add the links to the first page.

    I also link to a weather site and current news site.
    Students are timetabled (3 a day) to click on a link, read the page, decide which item they are going to copy and take a screen capture to a new page.
    This becomes part of our oral language time in the morning where all 3 students have a chance to report back to the class what they have found out. They particularly like using the IWB/mimio to navigate to their pages and we always take the opportunity to use the highlighter pens to identify key words, nouns, great adjectives etc( what ever happens to be our focus at that time.)

    Wednesday, 3 March 2010

    Simple but an effective way of Publishing

    A teacher said to me today that her children were always publishing in the same way, in Word with a frame and a title. She wanted to know some different ways to publish. I showed her my slideshare presentation '59 ways to publish'

    Journal Publish
    We decided to keep it simple and look at only using Word and PowerPoint. We looked at the Journal story idea. When  you look at school journals, most of the pages have pictures in the background and text overlaying the page.
    This is an example of two Word pages side by side. The photos cover the whole page, some of the photos have been lightened with the Washout button and then text has been inserted using textboxes. (Remove the background colour and line from the textbox by clicking on the Fill can and selecting 'No Fill' and the outline shape or line button and select no outline or line).

    Publishing using PowerPoint Templates

    One single PowerPoint page can be used for publishing as well. Open PowerPoint, choose a design theme.
    Select a slide layout, type in text, add graphics. Print out single page.

    You can adjust the colours of the template by
    Mac: Open the Toolbox and choose a colour theme from Document Theme

    Windows: PowerPoint 2007 choose from Colours