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November 09, 2009
January 23, 2009
Well it was a rainy day today. We bring our kids in early (8:00) on rainy days. School hadn't officially started and I thought it would be a good time to show the kids the Tuxtyping program. Many of them brought "earbud" style headphones to school today because I suggested to them that they'd have to go sans sound on their programs otherwise. They liked the program but many of them were having a hard time keeping their fingers based on the "home rows." I told them that typing could be a free time activity if they met the requirement of keeping their fingers on the home rows. Despite trying, it was clear they needed more instruction. So I sent them to BBC Dance Mat Typing. This website has leveled lessons in typing with animations showing finger placement and everything. It was just what the doctor ordered.
After that, the bell rang. I had planned their quickwrite for later but since the computers were open, I swapped lessons. I had them post their response to a prompt asking them for their opinion about the President's retaking of the Oath of Office. I didn't bother having them go to MyAccess because it tends to slow down journal writing by adding another layer to the process. Straight to the blogs they went.
Later in the day they tackled algebraic patterns again. This time I used an easier tool- the stamping tools in Tuxpaint. Tuxpaint is a bit tough to find on the EeePCs. You have to go to "learn"..."kidsgames"...and choose the lowest button that has a beachball on it. Tuxpaint is a very easy to use painting program. The stamps are great for math counters. I had them create visual input output tables. Personalizing their tables using their favorite stamps (there are tons of stamps to choose from) added extra interest to the activity.
I also decided to be a bit brave today and see how they would handle a less structured activity. We just finished a unit on earthquakes and I wanted to spend the last two days this week doing a little more on earthquake safety. I brought up the concept of mining for information vs. surfing. Mining goes deeper, you start with a plan, and you have an idea where to look. We started as a class brainstorming what kind of information they thought they'd be looking for. It boiled down to: What to do before a quake, during a quake, and after a quake. I listed 4 or 5 internet sites that I had already found concerning the topic. They worked as a group to take hard copy notes for each site. They broke this task up among their groupmates. I prefer doing hardcopy rather than internet scrapbooks (at least initially) because it encourages writing true notes- not plagarizing. Tomorrow, we'll tackle turning the info into an earthquake safety awareness brochure for people moving to seismically active areas.
They keep asking me about some of the enticing looking games on the EeePC. I really need to put a poster together that details appropriate free time activities on the computer. Also, if you're using the internet, you might want to spot check histories in firefox. Just tap the arrow next to the address bar to see where a student has been. I've already had to reiterate that we aren't going to "YouTube." If I want them to watch a clip, I'll embed it in the blog- YouTube is as bad as Google images if you're just browsing.
Posted by David Lindsay @ SWATTEC | 0 comment(s) |