USN Lower School Technology!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Last Full Week in April!

It's hard to believe that next Friday is the first day of May! We're here in Nashville, just putzing along teaching day to day, and we look up and the end of the school year is looming!

This week the 3rd graders and 4th graders are exploring animation in Scratch, starting with the 8th tutorial at, and some are taking off with their own animations. I have it on good authority that a several 3rd graders are already uploading experimental first projects to the Scratch Wiki. I'll be sharing them out soon, I'm certain.

This Scratch work has been good for us so far. One of its unforeseen benefits has been raising the opportunity to talk with my students about the ways one's family values might differ in the area of violence and video gaming: This issue came to light because there are some very light-weight efforts at shooting games at the Scratch Wiki. None are what I would term "inappropriate," excepting possibly for the most conservative of families. I have the whole range in my class--the kids whose parents are fine with them playing Halo 3 (a very violent alien-fighting 3D shooter) and watching "Family Guy" on tv, the kids who are not allowed to play or watch anything with any hint of violence, and all hues in between. I have at least one 3rd grade family whose kids watch the uber-violent "24" on Fox Network (my dearest friend just had his character killed off, taking a bullet for Jack Bauer, two weeks ago:). I tell them one and all that it's their job to know their parents' positions on this issue and to behave accordingly. So far, all the discussions have been lively and interesting, and I'm pleased to have the opportunity to discuss this important topic.

Kinder and 1st graders are finishing up their "My Family" pictures in Drawing for Children and we'll be sharing those at the end of the day Friday, when they're all complete and I can upload them to picasaweb, Google's excellent picture sharing platform. Know that once a slideshow is displayed here, you can click on it twice to go to picasaweb, where you can view the show larger, look at all the pictures at once, and download your child's picture for printing or even for using as your own computer desktop!

Here are the slideshows from the efforts!


and 1st Grade:

2nd graders are meeting up with the fantastic graphing website, CreateAGraph, maintained by an organization called the National Center for Education Statistics. The site hosts a wonderful graphmaking wizard, and just a little familiarity with it should stand our students in good stead for years to come. Of course we will be working in Microsoft Excel by 4th grade, but until then, if they want to play with graphs, this is the site for it!!!

Have a great rest of April and I'll check back in with you next week! Here comes MAY!

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