USN Lower School Technology!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Two Weeks' Worth of Catching Up!


Sorry I'm a bit behind. I'm busy on so many fronts I can't believe the time is flying so fast!
This morning (Tuesday, January 27th) marked the first 4th graders' (Ms. Hunt's class) entrance into Quest Atlantis. My goal this week is just to hand out the usernames and passwords I've set up for the kids and to have them log in and begin to become comfortable with the user interface. Though the initial distribution process (handing out slips of paper to the kids with the information printed from a spreadsheet) was a bit clunky, we got in, and we didn't crash the internet connection! Yay! I did meet our network administrator in the hallway afterward and he said there was some slowing down, and we'll be testing over this week to see if I need to perhaps stagger the logins during that period more than I did today.

The kids did GREAT! I asked them to find me at the clocktower and they did, then they moved about the OTAK island exploring and laughing. The excitement in our lab was palpable. This is looking good, very good, and look for ongoing communication about the process. Here's a picture of some of our virtual citizens in their "n00bie" shorts and teeshirts:

The kindergarteners this week are exploring Boowa and Kwala's Lesson number 40, having experienced number 39, The Alphabet. Lesson 40, Simple Drawing, Construction, and Creation, which has several very interesting creative tools, including my favorite, "My Funny Mygummy Whatsit Line Machine," which has the subhead, "Draw Lines. There's no point. But it's fun." And it is! Think of it as a mashup between an etcha-sketch and an arrow-maze game. I have several pictures I'll share out here:
3rd graders are reinforcing their Google-search, copy, paste-into-a-Word-document, and save skills by looking on the Web for more pictures they think they might want to cut out for use in their poster creations for their Master Artist report. While it's true we could be doing some of this in totally digital ways, I honor the 3rd grade team's creative design process and I'm looking forward to seeing the final results of their careful planning. Is it more important for a 3rd grader to create a PowerPoint than to crawl around on a floor with posterboard and a gluestick to arrange a presentation? Not so much, I think, especially if the 3rd grader isn't yet accomplished at the latter. It's all of a piece, one supporting the other.
2nd graders last week worked with Stackerblocks 3D and Tangrams to bolster their geometrical facility manipulating geometrical forms with purpose. Both these programs are available, by the way, for free download at the Webliographer's Download topic page, so if you'd like some fun geometrical diversions for yourself or your child, go have at it! Let your child help you trick out Stackerblocks for cool looks, then work in friendly competition for high scores. I'm still not sure how 4th grade teacher Ms. Dent has racked up a score of over 7000 points on the teacher machine, but that's the score I'm trying to beat!

This week, 2nd graders are visiting a cool new site I found in response to an email from Ms. Meeks last week, which said,

just a thought...
My class has been talking a lot about storybook
illustrations and how illustrators act like a camera and zoom in
and out to add variety to the pages. We have talked about cropping close ups
as well. Any programs the kids can use in class Tuesday to practice zooming,
cropping, etc.??
I asked about on my PLN (Personal Learning Network) and one of my tweets (on suggested PhotoOp, from (the National Gallery of Art's website) and wow! is it great or what!? It's so much fun and so laden with value that I added a new topic to the Webliographer, "Graphics and Graphic Design," which I'll be fleshing out over time. Go play yourself: The concepts are appropriate for any grade level or age level and it's never too late (or too soon) to learn!
There: lots of words and pictures! Have a great week and we'll see you all at Parent Teacher conferences Thursday or Friday!

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  • Hi Scott - Thanks for the nice review of NGAkids! Glad to hear your 2nd graders are enjoying Photo Op!

    Would you mind correcting one thing in your Jan 27 post? The Photo Op link is working, but the text accompanying it says Photo Op is from" -- which seems to be some kind of ad portal.

    The Gallery's URL is (.GOV not .COM), and the NGAkids address is


    By Anonymous Donna, at 5:17 PM  

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