USN Lower School Technology!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Short Story:

3rd graders are finishing off and printing their Master Artists pictures for their posters
4th graders continue their introduction to blogging by posting about the recent snow day and snowy weekend.
Kindergarteners and 1st graders begin Valentine cards from a template in Drawing for Children
2nd graders visit and email results from's 2nd grade addition word problems

The Long Story:
3rd graders are finishing their quest for pictures by and of their artist so that they may print them for cutting out and pasting onto their hand-made posters for the culmination of the Master Artists Unit. The concept of the Windows clipboard is at once simple and complex, and like so many other no one really gets it until they use it for a while. Use it for a while they are, as they collect as many as a dozen pictures and copy, paste, and resize them to fit no more than 6 to a page for printing. Those who finish delve into Keyboarding for Kids, and I'll have much more to say about that next week.
4th graders are blogging with the closed platform at, and we've had a rocky start. It's a learning curve for me as I introduce the concepts of blogging with a Prezi, a creative new online presentation platform (introducing Prezi in the process). Here's the one I am sharing with them this week:

Once we've talked about the issues surrounding blogging, shared the "Blogs in Plain English" from, viewed some examples of my own blogs and talked about the way some blogs are open and some blogs are closed, we go to it. Our initial introduction was interrupted by the snow day last Friday, and we had a great deal of confusion as kids dived right in and began using the comments feature essentially as a chat platform (I've currently disabled comments altogether until I can ascertain that we have consensus that we will not do so using, but that snow day did give us some fuel for some good blog posts. Here's what the menu for me looks like:

And here are a couple examples from the blog, which no one but the kids, the 4th grade teachers, and Ms. Rankin--who is interested in seeing if this might be the venue for kids to share their summer reading over the summer--can see. I encourage kids to share with parents while they are at computer at home, though. As you will see, we'll use to share opinion and experiences and once comments are enabled I hope to get meaningful dialog going. Ms. Touchstone was observing one class this week and she contributed some language that will help me in this regard, encouragement to the students to write about "small moments." I will be encouraging detail and honesty in these writing efforts. Let's see how we're doing:

From Gracie:

My snow day was awesome! the only part i’m sad about is it isn’t still happening!

we had ice chunk contests, hot chocolate, snowball fights, you name it!

we made huge forts out of sticks, and little ice sculptures to go outside.

I also made a snowball the size of one of those masks we made in kindergarten.

I hope there is another snow day!

P.S. Do you know this is like a record? Two snow days in the same month! I heard people were so shocked that we got one it was in the newspaper but that might just be a rumor…..

From Conner:

Does anybody reading this know what a Tonkinese cat is???

I thought not. a Tonkinese cat is a cross between a Siamese and a Burmese. they are very sweet and loving. nobody really knows about Tonkinese cats, so if you could, tell a friend, or, you could send an email to someone. I happen to have 2 Tonkinese kittens. They are very, very, sweet. I will upload a picture on a future blog, right now i cant figure out how. Please tell someone about Tonkinese cats.

and when I asked in a blog post of my own for students to share their opinions about Scratch, I got some very interesting responses:

From Carolyn:

I really like it, but at first I thought that it wouldn’t be fun just boring programing but now I can do really fun stuff on scratch and it is really awesome so I also do it at home!!!

From Evelyn:

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!

Some 4th graders have already copied and pasted their Aztec reports into their blog, sharing them with their classmates, and one has proposed to do a weekly weather report. I can't wait to see the possibilities!

Kinder and 1st grade kids are creating Valentines Day cards from a template in Drawing for Children. With Vday on a Sunday this year, a week from Sunday to be specific, we'll print these next week. Watch for them to appear, and make room on your refrigerator doors for these beauties!

2nd grade is visiting 2ndGoHere and choosing one or more sets of 2nd grade math word problems, solving them, getting a "score" and emailing the results to me. This involves copying my email address from the 2ndGoHere page and pasting it into the email form field at the site. It's quite involved, and I've been mostly pleased at the perseverence with which 2nd grade kids can get this done. Ms. Pitt's class didn't do this one this week, rather opting for an introduction to Keyboarding for Kids for her students. More about that next week too!

I'm off to the races! See you next week!


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