Thursday, December 18, 2014

Students L-O-V-E Hour of Code!

Students participated in Hour of Code from December 8-18, and whether they were first graders or fifth graders or in-between, they LOVED coding! Teachers, including Mrs. Key, Mrs. Nerhood, Ms. Price, and Mrs. Salvati, set up classes at the Code.Org web site. Their students accessed their accounts and worked through various coding exercises, which start with simple solutions and get progressively more difficult. The site includes instructional videos and plenty of help, so students can learn to code successfully.

Here's the link to the site:

See the smiles as another level is completed! The
students were so proud to show off their work.

Concentration-  serious concentration - trying to finish
the coding and get the completion certificate.

Third Graders Use Typing Club Chrome App

Most students don't know how to type. That's a roadblock that slows students down and makes their computer work time less effective. So, third graders added a Chrome App called Typing Club and learned how to "link data" so that they will see their apps whenever they log on to their Google accounts. This is a free app, so students also got some guidance on identifying the ads that support the program. The third grade teachers and I are hoping that students with home internet access will be able to practice Typing Club over the two-week winter holiday.

Directions were sent home in Thursday folders about how to access Google Accounts from home and how to access Typing Club. Here's a link to the directions:

This screen shows the basic format of the app. A green
highlight shows that the student pressed the key correctly.
A pink highlight shows mistakes.

Stephanie and Ben in Ms. Pinali's class work on Typing Club.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Word Processing with Microsoft Word

Word processing is a life skill, one that's used not only for publishing school work but also for texting, emailing, and completing work projects. In preparation for publishing their "Small Moments" writing pieces next week, all first graders have been learning the basics of word processing. They learned how to create a document and save it to their folder on the server. They learned how to make capital letters using the shift key. They learned where to find the period key so their sentences could be punctuated properly. The students learned how to center their titles, and they had some fun experimenting with changing the font, color, and size of their titles.

Madison and Jenelle work on their stories, titled My
Thanksgiving. The girls are in Mr. Klaverweiden's
first grade class.
Word processing is an important building block for technology skills!

Grayson is in Ms. Grondin's first grade class, and this
is his amusing story.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Programming with Scratch

George and Daniel work to complete their mazes in Scratch.
Students in Herrington's after-school Scratch programming club completed a a successful, enjoyable fall session this week. Mr. Manny Castro, a parent volunteer, taught a group of students how to program using Scratch, which is provided free of charge by the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Media Lab. He was assisted by second grade teachers Celina Lewis and Alessandro Romano.

Aidan shows Mr. Castro how his characters can
navigate the maze he created in Scratch.
Scratch allows users to program stories, games, and animations. Programming is valuable for students because it helps them to solve problems and to communicate ideas. It also encourages logical thinking.

You can learn more about the program by clicking on the link below. It's easy for students to sign up for a free, online account - only a parent's email address is required.


This is the code for George's maze.

Henry, Joaquin, and Giancarlo concentrate on their
programming work.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Communicating and Collaborating in Google Docs

Students in Ms. Key's fifth grade class worked on Attitude of Gratitude writing pieces in Google Docs during the week before Thanksgiving. Google Docs allows teachers to read and comment on student work during the writing process, so that feedback for revisions is truly timely and helpful.

In the screen shot pictured above, notice Ms. Key's suggestions for McKenzie.
After McKenzie made the corrections, she was able to mark the issues
as resolved. 

Students also participated in peer editing for this assignment. They shared their documents with several classmates, who were able to comment on their work and make suggestions for improvement.

Gabriel and Emily both helped Brianna with revising
her piece.

Another perk of Google Docs is that students are able to share their work with parents, if their parents have Google accounts. McKenzie's mom was able to read and comment on her work.

In the comments to the right in this screen shot, the "Melanie" who  is
commenting is McKenzie's mother.

Google Docs are helping students with the 4C's skills for 21st century learners - communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.