Last Week of January 2010
The classes I was able to see this short week did...
3rd grade--searched images for printing and cutting out for posters for their Master Art Unit--copy and paste using Windows clipboard
4th grade--began blogging in a secure, closed platform called "kidblog.org"
Kindergarten--revisited Boowa and Kwala "Special Occasions" page with St. Valentine's Day activity
1st grade--watched a fabulous video about Ezra Jack Keats from YouTube and explored Keats resources on the Webliographer
2nd grade--visited 2ndGoHere! at the Webliographer to do word problems from Syvum.com
The Long Story:
3rd graders continue an internet search and MS Word copy-and-paste extravaganza as they collect images from the internet to print, cut out, and glue onto their posters for their Master Artist Unit report. This unit used to be my favorite when I had my own 3rd grade classroom, and the computer skills this project entails will stand them in good stead for the rest of their school experiences and beyond. Many of the 3rd graders finished their work and were able to login to Keyboarding for Kids, the online typing program that will get them up to speed quickly with regular attention to it. They're just beginning, and my goal with these students is to get them so interested in achieving progress that they will work as often from home as they possibly can.
4th graders embarked on a new adventure (I'm serving them up right and left this year) as they took to kidblog.org for an introduction to blogs and blogging. I'm working on a presentation for them at prezi.com that you can visit here. Check back because it's a work in progress as I tweak out details with the kids. At Kidblog, the students select their usernames and use an assigned password that follows a convention that is fairly easy to remember. With Kidblog, a teacher can set up the blog to be viewable only by students and teachers or make it viewable to anyone who registers for an account. The latter option can open up commenting to a broader audience, but at least at first, we're keeping it locked down. Any 4th grade student or teacher at USN can post, read, and comment at our blog, but no one else can see anything more than the subject lines. I only just discovered this ad-free, secure platform for our kids, and the possibilities are still just potentials, but check out this exchange:
Mr. Merrick's Blog:
Some people are loving it. Some are exploring it more deeply than others, and a few really don’t “get it” or see what it’s worth. I would love to hear your own opinions here. Remember to be appropriate and to use the spellchecker before posting. Don’t be telling me what you think I want to hear. Tell me what you really think and why!
What do you really think of Scratch?
Response from one student:
I like it a lot, but i wish it had better instructions. I had to work a while to make a decent project. They should have some more instructions for each little thing so you know how it works and how to use it and stuff. But scratch is really fun!
We will be continuing to explore blogging for several weeks. Talk to your child about the experience!
Kindergarteners are revisiting Boowa and Kwala and checking out the activities at the "St. Valentine's Day" page at Special Occasions. We'll not really be able to visit those as we get closer to Valentine's Day since we'll be making digital valentine cards with Drawing for Children. More later on that!
1st graders viewed a great video about Ezra Jack Keats at YouTube.com. Normally YouTube is blocked at school, more for the toll it takes on our bandwidth than for other issues it presents. I can override that blocking and did to view:
We also took some time to check out the Keats sites on the Webliographer. Ask your child to take you on a tour!
2nd graders visited 2ndGradeGoHere! at the Webliographer and did math word problem work at the website Syvum.com. We'll expand on this next week, offering a choice of word problem topics from a a substantial set of options, then emailing results to their teachers from the site.
February, here we come!