Thursday, November 21, 2013

Taking a Virtual Field Trip to Zoo Atlanta

Ms. Key's third grade class took a virtual field trip to Zoo Atlanta on November 21. The class participated in a Google On Air Hangout sponsored by the zoo. They watched and listened to a turtle expert in Minnesota, live in front of a pond where the turtles live. They also learned from an alligator expert at the zoo, who used an 11-month old alligator to show them how alligators have adapted to their environments. One interesting fact was that alligators have 80 teeth, which grow back when they are lost. One alligator might have 2000-3000 teeth over its lifetime!

Before the hangout, Ms. Key instructed her students in the "netiquette" for virtual field trips, so they would be good ambassadors for Herrington. Students from several schools across the United States participated in this hangout, and some were able to ask questions of the presenters. Unfortunately, students in Ms. Key's class waited quietly but were not called on. Maybe next time!

Damajia, Delilah, Leyla, and Zion in Ms. Key's third grade class took notes in their journals as they participated in the virtual field trip to Zoo Atlanta.

Learning Mouse Skills with TuxPaint

Hannah displays her writing in TuxPaint.
Kindergarten students in Ms. Bird's class recently used a program called TuxPaint to practice their mouse skills. TuxPaint is a drawing program that also allows users to learn technology skills. It's especially good for younger students to practice their mouse skills. Many kids are catching on to mouse skills more quickly than in earlier years, since they have played with tablets or iPads at home. Students also practice opening and closing programs, which is a skill from their Technology TEKS.

Devin shows off the skillful way he wrote his name with the mouse.
TuxPaint is a free program, but it does have to be downloaded and installed from the TuxPaint web site.

First Graders Access Starfall for Reading Practice, Tech Skills

Learning to use computers can be complex, especially for students who don't have computers at home. Students have to learn how put in their user names and passwords to access the RRISD network before they can do any computer tasks. They also have to learn to use the touch pad mouse that is found on netbooks and laptops. And then they have to learn what different programs do and how to access them.

Connor, Mikayla, and Kaitlyn, from Ms. Redwine's first grade class, navigate Starfall activities. is a popular and free web site for primary students that reinforces reading skills like letter recognition and decoding. Along with  reading skills, this web site work provides practice with Technology TEKS, including opening and closing programs.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

AUP = Acceptable Use Policy

Technology instruction begins every year with lessons in Internet Safety and Acceptable Use. Students at all grade levels learn ways to be safe on the internet. They are also taught Round Rock ISD's Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), along with school policies about the use of technology.

Students in Ms. Zepeda's second grade class practice waiting safely back from the computer cart and carrying the computers with two hands.
Every student has a personal user name and password for logging into the Round Rock ISD network. Students learn to log in and are encouraged to memorize their user names and passwords to speed up the process. They also have folders on the server which allow them to save work that they do on computers.

Ms. Zepeda assists one of her students with logging in to the network for the first time.

Better late than never!

Welcome to Herrington's technology blog for the 2013-14 school year! I am getting a very late start on this blog, it's true, but I have many wonderful technology projects to share with you. I'll be catching up for a few weeks, and then you can expect to see weekly posts about what our students are doing with technology.

I am Carol Edwards, instructional technology specialist for Herrington. I was here half-time when Herrington opened in 2011-12. Now our school has grown, and I'm pleased to be the full-time ITS for Herrington.

Revised Technology Applications TEKS for grades K-8 went into effect for fall 2012. The K-2nd Grade TEKS are introduced in  kindergarten, developed further in first grade, and should be mastered by the end of second grade. The 3rd - 5th Grade TEKS follow the same pattern.

TA_TEKS for K-5

Our goal is to incorporate these technology TEKS into subject area instruction, so students are learning technology skills along with reading, writing, math, science, or social studies content.

If you have questions, feel free to contact me.