USN Lower School Technology!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Back from Spring Break! We Take Off in New Directions!

I hope everyone had a great Spring Break. My son and I trekked to northern Kentucky to explore Paducah and the wilds of Metropolis, and you can see pics from that at my personal blog at

Here in the lab, I'm taking entry level computer programming to the people. All classes grades 2 through 4 will spend some quality time with the free open sourceware program "Scratch," developed and made available from the fine folks at MIT's "Lifelong Kindergarten" project. This fine little program is very intuitive and easy to learn, and I'm expecting that a good number of kids will take to it like shine on a doorknob, teaching me things about programming as we learn together.

My plan is to spend just two (or three) weeks in the lab working with the program with the second graders. Third graders will get four weeks, then it will revert to a "free choice" option for after other work is done. Fourth graders may well spend the rest of the school year, as I discover projects to help drive them toward their own discoveries and the realizations of their own competencies.

Kinder and 1st grade kiddos will be drawing all week and likely into the next, as we share pictures illustrating something that happened over Spring Break. I have begun posting their words on that topic at the USN LS Edublogs blog and that should fill out nicely by the end of the month. Often there is no classroom assistant or teacher with me for K and 1 these days, as special projects geared to getting things done by the end of the year draw them away from the lab classtime, so it's just little old me calling them up to the teacher 'puter to take dictation. Mark the site though, and visit for fun insights about how our community's families choose to spend their leisure time--and, even more interestingly, how their children perceive those times!

Some kids didn't go anywhere, but their art says they had fun!

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