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.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

First Week of School! GREAT!

Hey, parents,

The first week of school was spent working on routines in the classroom. Please talk with your child about how he or she enters Mr. M.'s Computer Lab, takes a criss-cross-applesauce seat on the lab's carpet, hears and sees directions for the day, and then earns a computer number card to
learn which computer they will be working on that day. I like to shake things up a bit and so have chosen to randomize (with teacher discretion) the placement each week. That will help me learn which students to place alongside one another and which might need some distance between one another in order to optimally work. In many cases, I may allow students to switch up to be nearer a good friend they know they can work with. A difficulty is that there are only 17 currently working computers in the lab, so in classes with 18 or 20 children, I put a temporary band-aid on that problem by pairing students on one computer. I will set a timer for one to be the driver and one to be the navigator so each gets equal time.

In keeping with my goal of providing voice and choice to my students, I started each class at the Warner Tech Start page with a set of choices available to them. had one this week, as I was concentrating on getting them to double-click to open the page and to select the Boowa and Kwala icon, then explore games, cartoons, and songs. Those little ones are a challenge, but I'm up to it!

The choices widened as grade levels rose--1st graders had 2, 2nd graders, 3, and 3rd and 4th graders could choose from Boowa and Kwala, Starfall, PBS Kids, and Nickelodeon. Most classes went very well, and I finished my week encouraged and completely hopeful we'll have a GREAT year.

As I only came on board a few weeks ago, and as it's been a bit since I've taught computer lab, I'm constantly seeking the very best of the best as I plan Computer Lab curriculum for the year. Stay tuned!

Here's a picture of the Start Page. Be aware--it's going to change!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Nice to Meet You!

Just to reach out to parents who attended our open house today. I was glad to see any and all who were curious enough about our firing back up Warner's computer lab to drop in. I handed out little slips of paper for folks with two internet addresses I'd love for you to add to your favorites or bookmarks. For those who may have missed that, the two addresses are: and The first is this blog that you are reading! I'll be posting at least weekly as we plan our fun and learning in Mr. M.'s Tech Lab.

The second is our start page at a platform called Symbaloo. This will be the start page I'll continue to add to throughout the year. If you have a computer at home that your child can use, this is a good place for them to start. NOTE: I'm switching over the start page to a new platform I purchased just yesterday. Watch the blog for more

Again, thanks, and I'll be so glad to have a band-aid on my schnozz tomorrow instead of this bulky bandage!

Call, voice, or text anytime to 615 576-0252 or email me at I'll get back to you within 24 hours if you leave me clear contact information!!!

Mr. M.

First Full Day of School

Well, I had a wonderful first day with my new kiddos, and I wanted to share that with you all. I truly feel we are off to a great start!

Today I saw only a few classes, but I want to thank you all for sharing your children with me. I told each and every one that it is my over-riding goal to make sure every one of them has a shining skill set by the time they leave Warner for Middle School. I plan to teach the 4th graders, and maybe even the 3rd graders to code, with the help of

Stay tuned! Much more to come, every single week of the school year!