USN Lower School Technology!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Last Full Week Before Winter Holidays!

We're achieving closure here in the Lower School Technology for Learning lab, on a number of fronts!

4th graders are charged with finishing their Powerpoint presentations, each entitled "All About Me," for shareout next week. We'll be displaying them next week on the big screen at the front of the lab, and from what I've already seen it's going to be a reallllly big show!

3rd graders get another session practicing their basic multiplication math facts with Multiflyer, where their mission is to save the solar system from doom arising from a planetary alignment that only happens once every ~82,000 earth years. The year is 3074, and danger is imminent. Along the route they gather data and struggle to maintain their Warp Speed health by solving simple "times" problems FAST. Next week we'll go into its "Practice Mode" for brief timed sessions that will result in printed performance reports, which I'll share with the classroom teachers. The report notes areas of mastery and areas where further work might be helpful.

Kindergarteners and 1st graders are finishing the drawings we'll send to Boowa at, with the hope that some of their drawings will be featured in Boowa and Kwala's gallery. The number of schools using the "UpToTen Premium @ Schools" free account (which I helped design years ago) is nearly 8000 now, which means that a picture in the gallery is likely to be viewed by tens of thousands of children all around the globe. That's a nicely sized audience! I received an email from a Kindergartener's mom last week that warmed my heart: Her son had been drawing on the computer with our freeware software, "Drawing for Children," and she wanted me to see the drawing of Boowa and Kwala that he'd produced at home. Yay! Here it is:
2nd graders spent good time at the LearningPlanet Kids' Site for grade levels 1-3. There is a little group of games there, and they could make a choice from the menu and play any one of these (screengrab from

I particularly love The Counting Game, an interface that allows for counting incrementally, by 1's of course, but also by 2's, 3's, 4's, etc., even by 2's in odd numbers. Very good practice for children seeking to gain instant recall of basic math facts.

As we steer into the holidays, don't forget to make time for closeness and relaxation. We'll be firing up the gas logs in the family room fireplace for quiet reading times at least daily!


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