USN Lower School Technology!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The K-4 First Weeks of April

How I Spent My Spring Break by USN Kindergartners!

How I Spent My Spring Break by USN 1st Graders!

Last week March went out like a lamb but this second week of April is amazingly frozen lion-like. Freezing temperatures may greet us in the morning, but inside the computer lab is toasty and thriving.

3rd and 4th graders continue their exploration of Scratch, the fantastic programming-for-kids platform built by the fine folks at MIT's "Lifelong Kindergarten" project. Even as the kids pursue the completion of the dozen or so "Scratch Cards," notating their project on the Google spreadsheet form I whipped up at Google Documents, I note some early projects budding. I'm hoping next week to be able to share a few, as I upload them to the Scratch Wiki galleries in a school account. This week we'll explore one project together at the group projector display before I send the students off for another go at Scratch Card completion. And thanks to the Google Survey spreadsheet, I can remind them what they did last week so they can make good choices about what they dive in this week!

We haven't lost track of Quest Atlantis. Though Scratch is taking the lion's share of the lab time, a clear benefit of QA's online location is that kids can access it from home. I hope that if you haven't downloaded it for a computer to which your child has access, you consider that. There is all manner of information about the program at the Quest Atlantis Parents page!

Kindergarten and 1st graders will be finishing up their dictation to me of "How I Spent My Spring Break" for the blog comment project (I'm doing the typing for them while they finish up their pictures. I put the resulting (separated by grade level) Drawing for Children pictures up top and the comments at the Lower School Lab Blog, where the comments reside. Watch for an announcement of that milestone, as each and every kindergartner and 1st grader joins her or his fellows in sharing. The resulting document is, to say the least, interesting, or will be as I complete compiling the pics into .jpgs from their native .bmp format and uploading them to Picasaweb to create the slideshows!

2nd graders, my last class of each school day, will be making their business cards this week for the Business Unit. Last week they learned how to play "My Lemonade Stand," a remarkably fun and concept-laden 30 day experience selling lemonade, each day making decisions about how much lemonade to make and how much to charge for a cup based on the cost of supplies and the randomizing weather forecast. This is an old game from the days of Windows 98, but it still runs well on our newer Windows XP Pro and I'll keep using it until it fails us. It's to my knowledge no longer available for download, but kids can play it in the lab at free choice options time and I often see a 4th grader or two making that choice when it comes time to choose from the available options at the end of a class.

That's all for now. More later! Oh, if you're looking for the Webliographer on our new website,, it's not there! I'm working on that and you can expect an announcement soon about the solution. For now, if you're not here to simply click on its link in the sidebar, the link is and you can always just "google" "usn webliographer." It'll be the first return link.

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