Wednesday, March 25, 2009


In science class, the second grade learned about factors that contribute to placing some animals in danger of becoming extinct. In computer class, students went out on the internet and viewed many endangered animals around the world. After choosing an animal, the class discussed ways that people could be informed and educated about the danger these animals were in. We decided to create reusable window clings, like a bumper sticker of sorts, with a picture of the animal and a catchy slogan to get peoples' attention. Each sticker would also provide a brief explanation as to why the animal was in trouble and what could be done to help. Second graders drew a picture of their animal in KID PIX, then placed the image in Adobe Pagemaker. They typed their slogan and explanation text separately so that they could move the elements around to find the best arrangement in the space allowed in the sticker size. They formatted the text experimenting with size, type style and color. The finished files were printed out on transparent window cling stock, with the image and type flopped, so that the text would be right reading when viewed through a window.


On Read Across America Day (and pretty much all of that week) students in First Grade enjoyed a lot of Dr. Seuss books. They took inspiration from the zany characters in the stories they all know and love so much, and came up with some new character ideas of their own. They drew the pictures of their characters in KID PIX and wrote about their traits in Microsoft Word. They imported their picture file into the Word document to complete the project.


Dr. Martin Luther King's Birthday prompted a discussion with the Kindergarten classes about who Dr. King was. We talked about his famous speech given in 1964 on the Mall in Washington, DC and his dream for the world. The children thought of things that they felt were important that would continue Dr. King's dream. They drew pictures of their dreams in KID PIX, and typed the words in Microsoft Word. (The words that they wanted to say were dictated to me, I typed them and printed them out large, then they typed them into their word documents. This was a good exercise in letter recognition-the words that I typed for them were in upper and lower case letters, but the letters on the keyboard are all capitals!) Students learned how to import their picture into their word file and print them out. All the student's dreams were bound together to form a book.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


The Second Grade learned about different countries around the world in Social Studies. As part of the unit of study, they researched and reported in their classrooms about Christmas/holiday traditions and celebrations in other countries. In the computer lab, second graders went out on the internet and looked at flags of different countries and states. They read about the meanings behind the colors and symbols found on flags, and what those things told you about a nation. Inspired by that information, students thought about themselves as if they too were a country, and tried to think of colors and images that represented them and their lives. These flags are a sort of "self-portrait" of each child who designed it.


An important technology skill that students learn and practice regularly is file management. When you work on a computer, it is necessary for you to understand how to save a file to an appropriate place (folder) and name it in such a way that it can be easily retrieved at a later date. The First Grade practiced this skill while working on this book in Kid Pix. The master template file was in each student's personal folder. They opened this template file, created a picture of one of the four seasons and then saved the file in their folder, assigning it the name of that season. That left their original master template file untouched, and allowed them to open it and begin on another season picture. By the end of the book, students were very good at navigating their way back to their folder (located on the school's server) and naming files appropriately. This is a skill many adults still struggle with! Students printed their final seasons pages and designed a cover which were bound together as a book.


The Third Graders have been learning to keyboard. They started out working in Type to Learn and Type for Fun, learning home position on the keyboard and practicing typing by touch-trying not to look at the keyboard. In addition to the mostly rote drills used in these programs, we also like to do some fun typing practice. These creative stories were written by classes playing a sort of "musical computers" game. Students started out at their own computer with one beginning sentence in a Microsoft Word document. They were timed as they read the sentence, then added the next sentence in the story. They then rotated to the next computer, which had a completely different story started, and read, then added a sentence of their own. This continued until each student had typed a contribution to each story. Back at their original computers, the third graders practiced editing and using spell check to polish the final paragraph. They formatted the type and added appropriate clip art. Showcased are just a few of the whimsical results of this project.