USN Lower School Technology!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Week 3 of January, 2010

The Short Story:
3rd Grade--We're continuing with Keyboarding for Kids, the fantastic online touch-typing program from Ellsworth Publishing, and we're seeking out images for Master Artist reports.
4th Grade--We're continuing with Scratch projects and we'll be blogging about Scratch beginning next week
Kindergarten and 1st--We're doing free draw pictures with Drawing for Children.
2nd Grade--We're engaged in drawing and writing support for in-class story writing projects.

The Long Story:
3rd Grade--Third graders are using their 30 minutes of computer lab time to seek out a favorite image of their artist, then revising a template so that it contains the correct information for a printed cover for their upcoming Master Artist unit reports. This entails some basic Google search strategies: enclosing in quotes, spelling correctly, using the Google "Images" feature; as well a copying and pasting skills in conjunction with the concept of the Windows clipboard function. Graphics manipulation skills such as resizing and maintaining the relationship of height and width (aspect proportion) are called into play, as well as spelling and grammar (capital first and last name of both artist and self) without a great deal of preliminary setup. The template strategy allows fast and clean work; and when 3rd graders are finished and their document saved on the network, they are logging into Keyboarding for Kids. There's not much time to make progress, but the login practice is needed at this stage of the process.

4th Grade--We're still working in Scratch, saving completed projects on the network in the appropriate folder so that I can review and upload to the "USN Tigers Stuff" gallery at the Scratch Wiki. I've found a marvelous secure blogging solution at and we'll go there next week to begin blogging by commenting on my own blog post, "What do you really think about Scratch?" Watch here for more on that initiative!

Kindergarten and 1st Grades--It's Free Draw time at Drawing for Children, the freeware graphics program that is our program of choice in the computer lab. I'm being selfish here: I want to upgrade the lab bulletin board from the November turkey drawings. Plus, giving students choice is important to the development of their own decision-making skills and allowing them to explore the potentials of D4C is essential to their understanding just how to explore software and online programs. It's all good, and watch for pics here soon.

2nd Grade--Second graders are approaching their story writing projects variously in different classrooms. Ms. Pitt chose to have her kids type up their stories from their hand-done storyboards, a procedure that will take a few class periods (since typing is still tentative at best in 2nd graders) but which I will facilitate as completely and as quickly as possible. Other classrooms are drawing illustrations for their stories, which we'll print out and they can use in their handwritten stories.

In a sidenote. I took a professional day Wednesday this week to attend a full-day professional development workshop at Vanderbilt University which featured Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's keynote address and a score of experts from Microsoft. Between you and me, much of the day flew over my head completely--I am more of an end-user kind of guy than a programmer, but I did get some exercise "liveblogging" and I won a nifty MS Visual Studio backpack at the end of the day raffle. I needed a new backpack, as my old Targus ebag is getting a bit frayed. If you want to check out my work during the morning, go visit and play the CoverItLive blog file!

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