Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Week of September 12-16--Testing week 1

Hey, families,

This week the Computer Lab is benefiting from extra grown-up hands as we administer one on one FastBridge testing to our young charges. This testing, though perhaps not the most exciting part of going to school, will help teachers individualize learning for their students in ways that cannot be done without the kind of data that FastBridge can deliver. Since we have a computer lab this year (yay), most of the testing can be done in the lab, making FastBridge testing even faster!

That said, we continued with planned activities started in the short week last week, and we'll move on into other plans for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

e-learning typing
4th & 3rd graders are continuing keyboarding practice at e-learning with Monty the monkey. I see improvement every week as we concentrate on home row key position and knowing where the letters and characters are on a QWERTY keyboard. Some of my students have not yet developed the fine motor skills to do the two-handed home row technique deftly, but with them I am concentrating on keeping two hands up there and typing the correct letter with the correct hand. This will develop into traditional form and skill as the children develop.

I do still hear "This is too harrrrrrd" or "I can't do this" from some of my young 'uns. I persevere with encouragement  and humor with the reminder that anything good is worth working for--and this is good. I work with them one-on-one as I can get to them, which can be a challenge in the larger classes. In the words of Bob Dylan, "We do what we must do and we do it well." You can help. Encourage your child to learn this incredibly valuable skill. Anything worth learning is worth working for--and this is worth learning!
from https://techcrunch.com/2013/04/24/kalq/
Did you know the first QWERTY keyboard was designed on the advice of telegraph operators who used it for translating Morse Code? With smartphone usage growing, new keyboard system for use with thumbs only has been invented. Look for the KALQ keyboard on a smartphone or tablet near you soon.

2nd graders are continuing on their own initial typing quest with Dancemat Typing. This is a fun and silly animated platform let by a goat with a Scottish accent.
1st graders and Kindergartners are continuing on with UptoTen.com's "My First Clicks," working through the 25 Lessons, each with four games and a video (cartoon), highlighting new computer skills. I purchased the Premium license for this website with my own funds. I know it's worth it. Plus doing so removed ads from the rest of Boowa & Kwala at Uptoten.com--totally worth it. Click the image below to make it larger so you can read the scaffolded skills.

Thanks to everyone who joined in last Thursday for our re-do of Back to School night. I ended up getting "voluntold" to grill hotdogs, so I didn't get the chance to show off our new computer lab, but you know? There will be many more opportunities this school year to do so. Have a great week!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Week 4, Labor Day Week--a Short One!

Hello, Warner Parents,

This week we teachers got the Monday respite and on Tuesday spent our work day at school in professional development centered around making Warner Enhanced Option Elementary School the best school in the world. Seriously.

I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that we are as a team of professionals collaborating daily to make sure your child is safe, is happy, and is learning. A dedication to Peace is our current focus, and we will culminate a series of learning experience--delivered throughout the building--on September 21, Peace Day, with display of 307 Pinwheels for Peace on the front lawn of the school. For more information on this much needed project, visit Pinwheels for Peace.

Tonight we are holding a re-do of our Parents Night, originally held the first week of school. We want to get more parents involved in our agenda for improvement and a social meeting followed by opportunities to visit classrooms, including the computer lab, the art room, the music classroom, and the gym (with our fantastic new PE teacher, Mr. Southerland. As you know, we were without a PE teacher for a little over a week, and we are glad he's come aboard: One of our goals, originated by him, is to make Warner the healthiest school in the district! We can do it!

Have you seen the fabulous mural painted by one of our parents at the start of the school year? Here's a picture, but you really must come to see the original! THANK YOU, Mr. Ray!

This week, and on through Tuesday (so that those who were out Monday and Tuesday of this week can get everything, learn everything, those Wednesday through Friday folks learned) here's what's on the menu in Computer Lab (after each class completes a little survey I've put online to learn how much latitude I have to extend learning beyond the lab and into the classroom):

Make a Word - Short "a" sounds. "an". 
ABCya Numbers 1-10 counting and mouse practice 
After completion, free time from Tizmos Kindergarten tab 

1st Grade: 

Make a Word - Short "a" sounds. "an".    
ABCya Numbers 1-10 counting and mouse practice.
After completion of Lesson 1, free time from Tizmos 1st Grade tab

2nd grade: 
Students do any two of the stages at http://kidstyping.weebly.com/   
Enrichment. Do your choice from these activities:

http://www.abcya.com/numerical_order.htm http://www.abcya.com  

After completion, free time from Tizmos 2nd Grade tab.

3rd Grade: 

After completion of Lesson 1, free time from Tizmos 3rd Grade tab 

4th Grade:
http://www.e-learningforkids.org/computer-skills/lesson/module-1-prehistoric-time-alphabetic-keys/  After completion of Lesson 1, free time from Tizmos 4th Grade tab