Sit back and enjoy a cup.

Sit back and enjoy a cup.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fun Freebie for Thanksgiving Grades 1-2

Here's a fun freebie that might come in handy. Each of the 3 pages has a Thanksgiving themed activity for your students. Some writing, number, and coloring fun.

Fun Freebie

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Did you know that November 7-13 is "Write a Letter to Santa Week"? Here's a Fun Freebie for the Kiddos to Use.

Did you know that November 7-13 is "Write a Letter to Santa Week"?
Here's a fun free lesson to help with the job. There's decorated writing paper to match the small banner you can use for display. It's a fun whimsical way to introduce or reinforce a variety of ELA skills. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

How I Tried to Make Keyboarding Fun-or at Least Bearable!

Generally, teaching in the computer lab is a pretty good position.  The students are motivated and eager to see the lesson that is planned for them.  Learning to create a power point presentation, designing a graph in Excel, or completing a webquest are all lessons that will get a gratifying reaction from most students. But mention keyboarding......instant change.  So, I decided that I would try to find a way to turn the whole situation around.  I'll spare you the false starts and total failures and share with you an approach that seemed to get more of the reaction we would all prefer to see in our students for any lesson.
My classes included Kindergarten through 8th grade.  I decided that I would begin some form of keyboarding right from the start.  After some initial lessons on the actual keyboard and mouse, I introduced them to Kid Keys. They all seemed to get a kick out of it.  It's a very colorful and charming program with a number of components.  For the next level, I had a Type to Learn Program and later added a second one.
In addition to the software I had a monthly lesson with the older students that involved them typing a selection I handed out to them.  They typed in Microsoft Word and it was timed.  They were able to pull up the word count as well as the number of mistakes.  I showed them how to compute their words per minute and they recorded their progress.  During these lessons they typed the selection three times as I timed them.  The second time they typed they had to shut off the monitor.  This was to give them a chance to see how they performed using more of a touch approach.  They would groan but give it a try.  Of course their speed increased and surprisingly as time passed, their accuracy did not suffer as expected.  The third trial they chose how they wanted to type-with or without the monitor.  Most chose to keep the monitor off.
Now, here is what I think really helped make the whole thing work.  They practiced their keyboarding every class period, BUT, for only 10 minutes.  To show my classes I meant business, once everyone was in the program and typing, I set a timer for ten minutes.  Once the timer went off we went on to a lesson that they would normally look forward to.  But what changed for me was the absence of groans and faces when I mentioned keyboarding.  I also added a number of fun online keyboarding games and sometimes would assign these as alternatives to the program.  Variety did seem to help.
One day after school, I was working in the lab.  A young woman came in to visit-a past student now attending high school.  She had come back to tell me how well she did in her high school computer class.  She thanked me for the keyboarding lessons, explaining that she was so much faster than many in her class.  She told me she appreciated how I had made it fun. I thought, mission accomplished!

If you're looking for some fun lab activities, here's one my classes always enjoyed.

Lesson in Designing a Bar Graph in Excel 2007

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Halloween and the Middle School Kids-How About Some Fun and Games Linky Party At Mrs. Mc's Place

    Halloween can be a bit tricky for the middle school student and their teachers.  Many of them are transitioning  to a different set of expectations on so many levels.  Now, to add insult to injury, they realize that this change includes NO MORE CLASSROOM HALLOWEEN PARTIES??  No Halloween parade around the school (in my little town it actually includes several blocks in the town),
    Here's a suggestion that might make both groups happy for the day. Educational Games.  Games are a great way to keep the kiddos happy and productive .  You're covered both ways.  You're happy because the kids are learning and on task and they're happy because they think they're just playing games.