Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Day computer activities for the upcoming week...

Most of us enjoy having a three day weekend off from school. How many of our students recognize the meaning of Memorial Day? What can we do in the computer lab this coming week to make it more meaningful? 

Here are some online links to a few activities:

Have students type up a letter and send it to a veteran!



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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Make money for your school EVERYDAY in your computer lab!

I recently started using "Goodsearch" as a search engine in my computer classroom. It is free to sign-up, and your school can earn a penny for every search that is made! That can amount to hundreds of dollars every year. It is used throughout the school where I work and also recommended to parents. 

We don't create random searches just to make money. They do need to be legitimate. One student, who had her own account, was trying random searches at home. She said her account was frozen and she lost the money she had earned. So, Goodsearch has, with good reason, incorporated technology to sniff out this kind of behavior.

I don't know of many schools who can't use some extra $, so check it out for your school or group!

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

An idea for when you need a quick computer lesson!

An important guest came to my school today. A mix-up in the timing of his arrival caused everyone's schedule to quickly change. I found myself having to teach computer class to grades 2 and 3 when I thought I wouldn't be. In cases where I find myself having to teach when I wasn't expecting to, I know I can always create a word processing lesson for any grade. Of course, you can do this type of exercise with any grade by just adding grade appropriate skills to the lesson. Here is what I did today for grades 2 & 3:

2nd Grade students:

  • typed 3 things they learned about the visitor. We brainstormed a title for this document.
  • changed the font size.
  • learned to use the numbering command while listing their 3 facts.
3rd Grade students:

  • typed 5 things they learned about the visitor. Again, we brainstormed a title for this document.
  • changed the font size.
  • used the numbering command.
  • created a header with their name (which they right-aligned).

It was a great way to practice some skills, reflect on what they learned today, and had something interesting to take home and share with their family! .

Monday, May 5, 2014

Friendly management tools for when students are keyboarding: Music and Online Timers

There are two things my students really like and associate with keyboarding in my classroom. They are:

  1. Music - I play soft music while students are keyboarding. Sometimes I use an online program like Pandora which has a station I like called "Classical for Studying Radio." Of course, you can use any type of music source. Sometimes I will play a CD or MP3s from my computer or phone which I connect to my computer speakers.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
  2. Online Timers - I used to use a standard timer which basically made a school bell sound at the end of the typing session (my students type for 15 minutes). I kept the volume at a level where it wasn't jarring, but I still dislike the sound. Now, I use an online meditation timer which provides a much more peaceful solution. Below are some links to timers that do not include images pertaining to Buddhism or meditation practices. Don't get me wrong, I am fond of both. However, as teachers we know how things can be misconstrued.

Online Timers

Timers you can download:

Friday, May 2, 2014

Great Websites for Kids!

Do you spend a lot of time searching for good websites for your computer students? The following link is sponsored by the ASSOCIATION FOR LIBRARY SERVICE TO CHILDREN (a division of the American Library Association). They categorize sites by Animal, The Arts, History & Biography, Math & Computers, etc. 

Also, don't miss the link in the upper right of the page "Sites for Parents, Caregivers, Teachers & Others."

Thursday, May 1, 2014

How using Google Images can be a real time saver for you and your students!

Like many of you, I work with teachers to help students find information they need for classroom projects. My coworker, a 5th grade teacher, asked if students could find Coat of Arm samples for their family name. Since they only need an example of what they look like to design and color their own, and do not need to research information about it, I decided to use Google Images. You could also use another search source, like Bing, if you prefer.

Using just an image search can be a huge time saver in instances like this one. Keep it in mind for your students!