USN Lower School Technology!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Slideshow for Mrs. Princehorn!

This past week 1st grade teacher Marty Kennedy contacted me to let me know that the teachers were planning to gather all the Lower School students together for a brief "songfest," since cherished Lower School Music teacher Doni Princehorn is away from school with a family illness and is unable this year to facilitate the traditional grade level songfests.

Here's the bad news: I filmed the wonderful songfest in the auditorium yesterday (Wednesday morning), which I did with the Lower School video camera, which I hadn't used before. It was fun to do and I think I had a pretty interesting film when the program was over and I turned off the camera. Bringing it back into my computer lab to edit, I opened the camera before finalizing the disk. Can you say "Poof?"

This is of course just another incident in a longstanding tradition of intentional technology goof-ups designed to demonstrate that "even Mr. Merrick" makes mistakes. Well, sort of.

Here's the good news. Talented photographer and Yearbook Manager/Editor Genie Tanner spent the whole hour taking pictures and she shared them with me. In penance, I spent a couple hours putting them all into Microsoft PhotoStory (a free download add-on to Windows Media Player), then some more time adding some music from the show.

It's online, and you can view it with Windows Media Player (it's a .wmv file) or any compatible program. I am working on a Quicktime version, so check back for that! I hope it does justice to the love everyone in the room shared for Mrs. Princehorn, that morning and every day.

Have a marvelous holiday, all, and we'll see you next year!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Happy Holidays!

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Here's hoping everyone has safe and happy holidays with so much wonderful family time you'll be ready to come back to school with renewed energy for the second half of the year!

This week we partnered Kindergarten and 1st graders in the lab to play the BBC Numbertime "Snakes & Ladders" game. I so love to see the kids working well together and helping one another and the slideshow (available small here but larger if you click to visit the site) is here to celebrate that work. Counting, directional awareness, lightly competitive play, sharing, turntaking--all those skills were exercised, and in fun ways.

The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade classes all had still more fun (does it ever end here!?) at yet another BBC site, "Dancemat Typing!" This I offer as a great alternative to 4th graders in case they experience problems running Keyboarding for Kids online at home. Parents please note: I still want 4th graders doing as much K4K as they possibly can. If you are having problems with the online Keyboarding for Kids program and have faithfully followed the troubleshooting tips in the handout with the textbook, please email me with 1) your computer make and model and 2) as detailed a description of how far you get and what happens. I'll try to help and if we can't get it fixed we will make every effort to accomodate the work here at school!

Take care, and see you next year!!!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Exploring NumberTime Games with the BBC

Hey, ya'll,

This past week I shared the BBC "Numbertime Games" website with students K-3. How, you may ask, can I use one Internet tool with that broad a range of ages? Well, if you go to the site, you'll understand better. Even mo' better, visit the site with your child! 3rd graders found themselves challenged as the Dartboard game moved into problems with three addends generated by doubling values. The youngest amongst us found "Find the Number" good practice in the art of identifying numerals visually.

It's easy to find from wherever you are. Just click here! Then click on Center Number 1!

Fourth graders are working on PowerPoint presentations on randomly chosen constellations. Once finished, we'll have 4 multi-slide presentations on each of 18 constellations, a resource I plan to format for the Web and post online. As we create these, we're beginning to learn how to cite our Internet resources, acknowledging the original work of others the way we expect our own work to be acknowledged if shared. This is a first step toward understanding why we need to be careful to do so in our schoolwork.

Cheers, and I hope everyone's working looking forward to our Winter Break, Dec. 15 (half-day) through Jan. 2nd!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Thanksgiving Turkey Slideshow!

Okay, maybe we didn't get them all finished (some classes were more rushed for time than others in part due to Grandparents' Day rehearsals and other running-up-to-holiday-weekend activities) but the Kindergarten and 1st graders who did get their turkeys saved on their computers created some really fine pictures, and the slideshow here is a beautiful blast of color! Click on the slideshow to go to BubbleShare to save and/or print your child's picture, and if it's not "finished" (is art ever really finished!?), have them add color with crayons and markers!

Cheers, and thankfulness to you all for sharing your children with me!!!

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