Thursday, September 27, 2012


Edmodo is a social networking application that is used for educational purposes.  Teachers can setup their students on Edmodo for a virtual classroom environment.  Teachers can assign homework, quizzes, polls, assignments, references, a classroom calendar, and much more without making copies.  In addition, teachers can connect with other classrooms, post questions and have discussions about a topic.  The students can respond to the teacher or to their classmates, privately or publicly.  Meaning, only the students in their class can read the postings, which is public, or directly send a private message to the teacher.  Another great feature Edmodo offers is it automatically generates parent codes. This will allow parents to log in and keep track of their child's progress.

Last year, I helped first grade teachers use Edmodo when they came into the computer lab.  First grade students were given a ticket with their username and password so they can sign in.

Once they signed in, they had to respond to a question or a poll that the teacher assigned.  They also had to read and respond to other students in their class.

In addition, some teachers took pictures of their students, and we were able to upload the pictures to the student's Edmodo profile.  As the year went on, one teacher awarded badges to the students which made them access their profile to see their badges.

Once the students were familiar with Edmodo, they used more advanced features such as, completing quizzes, creating discussions, and logging in at home.  They absolutely loved it!!  Soon, the teachers would only use Edmodo in the computer lab.  The students were writing and practice their typing skills, they were practicing good citizenship, and they were helping each other navigate through Edmodo.  They took ownership and was engaged with the activity.

If you ever had doubts about young students using a social networking tool at a young age, well I hope I convinced you that you should never underestimate your students!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Teach Computer Programming!

Teach your students computer programming using Scratch.  Scratch is a free application that will allow your students to create, and share stories and activities.  Its a great tool to teach students the 4C's, communication, creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking.  To understand the purpose of Scratch, visit the website to view sample projects.

An article, "Introducing Programming to Preschool" by MindShift, Heather Chaplin, is an example of implementing computer programming to preschoolers.

Another application to teach programming is, Small Basic by Microsoft.  It is also a free application that can be downloaded and surprisingly, the download is only 4MB.  Visit the website for more information on this product.  Think of all of the possibilities!

A reference to an Introduction to Small Basic.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


What is TILT?  It stands for Teachers Improving Learning with Technology.  When using web 2.0 tools, most of the time, the user needs to create an account using an email address.  This normally is not an issue for anyone over a certain age.   However, you may want to use a web 2.0 tool with younger students which require a unique email address to login.  No need to worry, Google's gmail has the answer!  Gmail allows multiple unique email address to be setup to under one gmail account.  Its very easy to do!  Watch TILT, a short video,  to find out. I plan on using this with my students during the school year.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Over the summer, I became Symbaloo certified.  So, I decided to create a webmix of websites that are commonly used in my computer lab.  A webmix is a collection of bookmarks that are saved with an image onto a webpage.  It is user friendly!  It also allows the creator to organize the bookmarks and to include RSS feeds.  The reason why I decided to implement a Symbaloo webmix is to make it easier for my students to find bookmarks.  Last year, I had many of my students use the favorites in Internet Explorer and I found they were moving or deleting the bookmarks or they had a difficult time double clicking on the link.  A webmix will make it easier for them and for myself.  Go to Symbaloo to create an account.  You will not be sorry!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Identifying Keys

This year, I decided to put stickers on important keys on the keyboard to assist the students on identifying them and their purpose.  I am pleased to say, it has definitely helped my kindergarten and first grade students identify the enter keys, delete and backspace keys, space bar, escape, and the shift keys.  I also put a sticker on the left mouse button so they know which button to click.  As the year goes on, I will be adding more stickers to the keyboard and expect them to use these keys as needed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tux Paint

Tux Paint is a free drawing program for children between 3-12 years old.  It can be downloaded on multiple platforms.  This is a great alternative program to KidPix.  I used it last year with my kindergarten and first grade students and they were engaged and excited about completing the activity.  I plan on using it again this year with my students.

Visit Tux Paint for more information on downloads.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My Computer Lab

Typing Superstars

This bulletin board is used as an incentive for my students to type 10 words per minute.  I use Typing Web to measure the student's progress in keyboarding.

QWERTY Keyboard Wall

A giant size QWERTY keyboard is displayed as a resource for primary grade students to refer to when typing in the computer lab.

Computer Lab Bulletin Board

 While most of us know the location of the letters on the keyboard, some of us still need  assistance.  This is one of my bulletin boards in my computer lab to help Kindergarten and 1st grade students learn how to type, letter and number recognition, and location of the letters on a qwerty keyboard.