USN Lower School Technology!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Quest Atlantis Apace, Math Arcade A-Go-Go, and Valentines Art Amazing

We are spending this week in various ways, and I'll dive right in, in the order in which the kids come in the lab each day:

3rd graders are finishing up their Master Artist poster projects, and they've been locating images with Google image search, always with the procedure in mind that in the event of inappropriate images they 1) close the window or turn off the monitor and 2) report it to a teacher (me, most likely, but their parents at home if that's where it happens). Copying and pasting seems such a natural concept to us old digital immigrants, and while the myth is that all things computer come naturally to little kids, that's truly just a myth. My 3rd graders, after a few sessions of work with it, do "get" it better than, for example, my mother-in-law [nods to Ann], but it has to be learned, ya'll--it's not breathing, it's a task! They practiced this task with Internet Explorer and Microsoft Word, copying and pasting both text and images. The benefit of pasting an image into Word before printing it is that it can then be easily resized by dragging handles from corners, yet another new skill. Here are a couple of the resulting projects, these from students in Ms. McKay's class!

Once the 3rd graders have mined all they need from the internet, they are returning to Type to Learn 3 for more practice home-row-keying! That will come in handy next month when we foray into computer programming with Scratch.

4th graders are venturing further into Quest Atlantis! The room is both exciting and filled with questions from the questers, and one thing I note is that the din is beginning to subside a bit as confusion yields to early understanding and wonder. NOTE TO PARENTS: If you can't get the software working at home, not to worry! We'll be questing at school for real and soon, pursuing an aspect of one of the 5 Social Commitments that underscore QA. Look for more soon! Meanwhile, here's a picture I snapped at the Ecology World Game Preserve, only one of the amazing wealth of experiences available in this virtual environment:
Kindergartners and 1st graders are designing Valentines with Drawing for Children. They are working from template, adding their name, and exploring the shift and Ctrl keys for modifying the effects of stamps and clipart hearts. Then we print! All the kids love to print; it must be the tactile attraction of paper and physical product, which shows no sign of going away, despite the digital world's offerings. Here are a couple of those, one from K and one from 1st!

2nd graders are working with basic, simple math operations at's Math Arcade, easily accessible at the Free Choice Options category of the Webliographer. While there's no product to share from this activity, the hopeful expectation is that 2nd graders will become familiar enough with the interface to come and practice their math skills at this fun site, available anywhere, anytime with internet access. There are 22 games in the gameboard-style interface, and the problems can get more challenging depending on the grade level set at the beginning. After each game mastered, a code is issued so that a student can come right back in at that earned level the next time, no user registration required. We went in this week using the code "Cow2," which puts us at Math Basketball. Try it for yourself!


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