Sunday, March 1, 2009

Week 4

This week was the last week of computer rotation for many of the 4th and 5th grade students. New students will be joining existing computer classes starting in the lab next week. The laptop cart was used this week by Mr. Ramirez and Mr. Devore.

Grade 3: Students came back to the lab after an absence of 2 weeks due to the holidays that fell on the previous two Mondays. Students continued to work on their keyboarding skills. Although some debate whether or not keyboarding should be taught in the lab, I feel strongly keyboarding instruction should be emphasized at the grade 3 level. For the most part, students in grade 3 are very open to keyboarding instruction. In fact, most seem to enjoy keyboarding and like the structure of the Type to Learn keyboarding software that we are using. As a parent of two girls in high school, I have observed that being able to type efficiently offers the middle and high school student a huge advantage, since most assignments must be handed in typed. Other computer skills essential for success in middle and high school are internet research skills and also being able to express learning through a variety of media (powerpoint slideshows, papers). Students in grade 3 were introduced to the 3rd grade classroom blogs that they will be contributing to. Several students volunteered to contribute to their classroom blog. Blogs will be up next week.

Grade 4: Students who did not have a chance to present their Energy and Magnets Powerpoint Quizzes presented their quizzes to fellow classmates. As mentioned last week, great work by the students. Students especially enjoyed the challenge of incorporating animation into their quizzes. Students were shown a variety of "cool" applications that could be built with Powerpoint, including claymation and games created with Powerpoint.

Grade 5: Students have been studying the colonial days as part of their Social Studies curriculum. To complement this unit, student in Grade 5 completed an online simulation called the Jamestown Adventure. In the adventure, students re-enacted the voyage of English settlers to Jamestown. They were faced with many decisions (just as the real settlers were) such as where to settle, what crops to plant, how to related to the Native Americans that they met and what resouces to use. Students referred to the charter from the queen to help them make decisions, they also considered the advice of the Native Americans. If student made wrong decisions, the settlers did not do well in the New World. If the right decisions were made, the settlers thrived. Upon completing the simulation, students filled out a crossword puzzle that tested their knowledge of the settlement of Jamestown.

5th Dimension: After school 5th Dimension students were shown additional examples of digital stories by a visiting professor from Sweden who had been involved in creating digital stories in Sweden. Students worked on their own projects, some taking pictures to incorporate into their digital stories.