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!

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