Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Busy time of year--but we need some feedback

Today, we had a training session with Dr. Z. As we get closer to the holidays, it gets harder to make time after school for extra training, seminars, etc. However, tonight's session had smaller attendance than the prior trainings. I'm curious as to the reasons for this. If you have been a regular attendee at the tranings, and could not make it this week, please send me an email to let me know why. I hope we are just dealing with busy schedules. On the other hand, if we are not hitting the target with our training, we need to know so that we can improve the model. Please send me an email at mikewrd042@gmail.com

Monday, November 9, 2009

Farmingdale Elementary

At Farmingdale I have used Google Docs several times to gather input from the students. They prefer using the computer to send me their information over the traditional paper/pencil method. Unfortunately, using Google Docs does not give me the option of really showing the students what they got correct or incorrect.

One of the projects I did recently was to have the fourth grade students tell me what program they would use for a particular project. The programs were all something they had used in the computer lab in the past. Many of the students struggled with that project because they don't pay attention to the programs that we use in class. I tell them what program to open, so that's what they do.

My third graders recently completed a project where they typed in a web address on the internet, then they needed to determine several things about the website they visited: subject of the site (math, reading, etc.), grade level appropriateness (pre-k, 1st, etc.), material available on the site (games, information, worksheets), and determine if there were advertisements on their site and why they were there. The students did okay with the project, but this was another one where there were no hard and fast answers, and they struggled with determining the information on their own.

The fourth graders created their first PowerPoint in technology class. Once the students satisfied the minimum requirements for their presentation, I encouraged them to try out the different options available in the program. I told them to try the buttons to see what they did. The students at the elementary school are not used to having that kind of freedom with a school project. Many were wary of doing "something wrong" in the program.

This year I will be having my fourth graders contributing to a blog website. I will post the web address for my website and that blog page at a later time. I had the students write on a blog last year, and they did enjoy it. What they enjoyed even more was the ability to respond to one another's postings. I have been considering switching from a blog to a wiki so that there is the "threading" capabilities.

I do have more of the technology projects for my third and fourth graders. Kindergarten, First, and Second grade students use their technology class to reinforce the skills they are learning in their classrooms. I use software and websites for the early grade levels. The older students then have a chance to work with more of the programs available.