USN Lower School Technology!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

First Week After Spring Break!

I'm glad to be back with my kiddos, though I did have a fun and relaxing Spring Break. Now, with only 10 weeks or so of school left to go, I'm racing to get goals and instruction finished. Welcome back to you and yours!

The Short Story:
3rd Grade
--Keyboarding for Kids
4th Grade--Mesa Verde unit at Quest Atlantis
Kindergarten--Katie's Room
1st Grade--Math at Internet4Classrooms

The Long Story:
3rd Grade
--Keyboarding for Kids work continues. Typing correctly in home row key position is an invaluable skill and this is the very first year we've instituted K4K for the third graders. I was gratified to receive a compliment from a parent just yesterday, as he mentioned his child's work on the computer at home. If you have any problems installing and running K4K at home, please pop on over to the USN Lower School Webliographer to the Keyboarding topic, where there's a great link to the Ellsworth Publishing website page for "Troubleshooting." You'll be glad you did!

4th Grade--The Mesa Verde Mission at Quest Atlantis continues. This set of missions begins with a missing girl on a field trip. She's hiding from her classmates at the fantastic QA replication of the real life Mesa Verde National Park because she is of Hopi descent and she fears ridicule from her classmates about the primitive culture her ancestors enjoyed 800 years ago. One classmate in particular has been vocal about his low opinion of the "Puebloans," and a conversation with him turns up in the mission's trajectory. There's a detailed "scavenger hunt" which requires the quester to learn a great deal about the Puebloan's life style and culture, then a journey into the past is in the offing. This is a well designed, beautifully illustrated, thought-provoking experience and I'm happy to provide it to our children. More than that, I'm pleased to be learning with them as I pursue the Mesa Verde Mission myself!

Kindergarten--In Katie's Room, located online at the Thomson Online Courses "Growing with Technology" website, early learners get a gentle introduction to the "home row" keys on a computer keyboard. I demo the first activity at the projector-connected computer then I send the kids off to "break the codes" by typing on their keyboards with the correct fingers. There's more at the website, including activities about computer terminology and more, and we will be back.

2nd is a fantastic website that is subtitled "Aquatic Animation for Analysis and Education" and which allows the user to look in virtual unlimited 3-dimensional ways at a whole host of swim strokes. Lisa Preston, chair of our Physical Education department and a stellar teacher, comes in to demonstrate this website for our second graders toward awakening a visualized understanding of the physical elements of the breaststroke. She's even concocted a little 3 question Google Survey the children can fill out during their lab session to demonstrate understanding of the concepts. Parents may want to visit the site with their children, and I guarantee the visit will be a learning experience.

1st Grade--1st Grade Math at Internet4Classrooms is rich and varied, and though we've found a few of the games' links lead to broken or dysfunctional websites, having 20 or so links to online interactive math practice and drill websites gathered together by topic (fractions, telling time, money and counting, etc.) in one place is very handy. This week the 1st graders visit the site after a brief demo and choose a topic to explore, after a brief demo. It's interesting that most of the children choose to go straight to the ones I've demonstrated, even though they have full reign to go to any of the dozens of games. These resources and those like them are available anywhere with an internet connection and a computer to make it, and options for online lifelong learning will only increase.

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