Friday, August 26, 2016

Week of August 22-26, Routines Establishing Well!

Good week! That's a greeting like "good morning" or "good day" but it's for the whole week. We had a stellar week in Mr. M's Computer Lab. Kids were great, by and large, routines are becoming habits, and I actually have 3 classes already who are in the running for the new, important, and prestigious "Order of the Golden Mouse" award! What is that, you might ask? It is a long established clan of heroes who have achieved the award by being the most ready-to-learn-in-the-computer-lab classroom of the week. After all classrooms have attended lab, a determination is made by a clandestine group of Mouse Masters, and on Monday morning the honored classroom finds
proudly displayed over their classroom door for the week. We just started awarding the Order of the Golden Mouse last week, and it was claimed by Ms. Appleton's 3rd grade classroom, yay!
Here they are working in the lab this week:
Speaking of mouses, we are working on mouse skills this week in Kindergarten and 1st grade. Working with children 1-on-1 while they visit an online "Mouse Practice" website allows me to make adjustments to the mouse usage and grip individually as needed. This site also requires reading, and for the youngsters who aren't at that level yet, I read for them. They learn how to play these unique and age appropriate games, learning to use the mouse correctly without even knowing they are learning.
proper mouse grip

Note the custom mouse pad! I did a little research after shopping for new mouse pads for the computer lab after discovering the cost would be in the 80 dollar range, and I modified one suggestion I found. I purchased a stack of "craft foam" from Michael's  Arts & Crafts and a can of textile adhesive, sprayed the bottoms of the craft foam so they stayed put on the computer tables--total cost = around $13. Yay again.

All 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders are beginning to identify key placement on their keyboards and this week we visited ABCya's Keyboarding Zoo as a first baby step toward acquiring the immensely valuable skill of touch-typing.

Expectations were varied as 2nd graders used their pointer fingers to type left hand keyboard letters with their left pointer and their right hand pointers for the right hand letters. 3rd and 4th graders were challenged to use home row key position but allowed to look at their hands. We'll keep working at this as this kind of activity is a good way to begin with a brief computer lab assignment and then free choice time--from a selection of choices available at, our lab start page. Here's one group of 3rd graders on Keyboarding Zoo. They are on task and ready to learn!


I will gradually expand the duration of the lab assignments until we are producing products and building skills like I know we all can. For now, the baby steps are not just with keyboarding, but also with lab routines and expectations, positive free time choices with limits, and using quiet inside voices in the lab. It's already working well. Just hold tight and we'll see some real progress!!!

Have a great week.
 Call me if you need me:
615 576-0252 text or voice 
Mr. M.

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