This week the K-8 collaborative presentation about the best things at St. Martin’s was finished. Each student drew a self-portrait and wrote or dictated, in the case of Kindergarten, what they think makes St. Martin’s the best school.
Check it out and let us know what YOU think. Does your child (or grandchild) attend St. Martin’s? Did you attend St. Martin’s? What do you think is best about St. Martin’s?
You can use the arrow keys to navigate through the slides or click the play button and the slides will automatically advance every 30 seconds.
In addition to finishing up this project, this week also included:
Kindergarten: Finishing up dots for Dot Day and starting Adventures in Keyboarding
1st Grade: Finishing up dots for Dot Day and starting Rainbow Alphabets
2nd Grade: Creating dots that show how they will make their mark on the world for Dot Day
3rd Grade: Keyboarding with Keyboard Climber games
4th Grade: Creating a spreadsheet and taking Keyboarding Speed Tests
5th Grade: Creating a spreadsheet and taking Keyboarding Speed Tests
6th Grade: Keyboarding Speed Tests and learning how to format Science Labs in Microsoft Word
7th Grade: Keyboarding Speed Tests and reviewing how to format Science Labs in Microsoft Word
8th Grade: Keyboarding Speed Tests and first posts on their Google Sites
Drew self-portraits using Tux Paint (3rd grade and under) and Paint.NET (4th grade and up)
These will be showing up on Class Blogs and student Google Sites in a few weeks!
Celebrated International Dot Day (Kindergarten, 2nd & 3rd – more Dot Day fun to come next week!)
Dots will be shared once they’re all done!
Keyboarding Speed Tests (4th grade and up when finished with self-portraits)
The results of this year’s Technology Survey of St. Martin’s 4th-8th grade students are in! All but one of our 4th-8th graders has a computer they can use to complete homework but five students don’t have printers if they need to print their work. Even the one student that doesn’t have access to a computer for homework does have access to other electronic devices with Internet access. Here’s a recap of the results!
What Electronic Devices do you OWN?
52% own an iPad or other Tablet Device
45% own a Laptop or Netbook
45% own an iPod Touch
34% own a Smart Phone
24% own a Desktop Computer
What Electronic Devices do other members of your family own that you can use?
Laptop or Netbook – 66%
Desktop Computer – 59%
iPad or other Tablet Device – 59%
Smart Phone – 52%
iPod Touch – 38%
What Gaming Systems do you or other members of your family own that you use?
Wii – 59%
Nintendo DS – 45%
Xbox – 41%
Playstation – 41%
Other handheld gaming systems – 4%
Cell Phones – 59% of our 4th-8th Graders own a cell phone; 28% of them have data plans and another 31% use their phones to access the Internet via WiFi. How much do they text using phones & other devices that allow texting like the iPod Touch?
No texting – 24%
Less than 25 text sent per week – 28%
26-100 texts per week – 14%
100-400 texts per week – 17%
Over 500 texts sent per week – 17%
Internet Access – 100% of our students have some kind of Internet Access at home. 69% of our students can access the Internet anytime they want even without asking permission first and that same percentage use the Internet in their room. 90% can use the Internet without adult supervision. Here’s what our students use the Internet for:
Other is mainly watching but not posting videos.
Time Spent on the Internet or Gaming at home each week:
An hour or less – 24%
1-2 hours – 14%
2-4 hours – 14%
4-6 hours – 21%
6-8 hours – 14%
Over 8 hours – 14%
What do you think of these results? Did any of them surprise you? We’re planning a parent night to discuss responsible Internet use later this year. Let me know if you would like to attend.
Wow, what a year it’s been! 8th Grade has been really busy in the Computer Lab this year. Here’s a recap of what they’ve done:
September: 8th Grade started the year listening to President Obama’s Back to School speech and setting goals for the new school year and contributing to a VoiceThread about those goals. They then created self-portraits and a resume, reviewed how to format papers for English and Science Labs and did a short Keyboarding assessment to gauge where they were in their keyboarding skills to start the year.
October: October kicked off with a review of basic Internet Safety and the month ended with creation of Leaf people in KidPix and writing of Bio Poems for their Leaf people.
November: During November, 8th grade created their very own Home Pages on the Computer Lab wiki and set some safety rules for themselves on those pages. As November came to an end, 8th Grade created turkeys in KidPix to celebrate Thanksgiving.
December: Since December means Christmas, one project completed during December was a rewrite of the Twelve Days of Christmas with a partner using Scribblar to collaborate on the project. This project kicked off with a really fun rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas used as inspiration:
January: 2010 started out with a few catch up days for those students who hadn’t completed their Wiki Home Pages or other projects. 8th Grade then began creating short videos to educate younger students about Internet Safety. They used PowerPoint to put together slides which they exported as images and then created the video using Animoto.
February – April: There was more work on the Animoto videos and then alternate versions were created using Flixtime and PowerPoint uploaded to the web at authorSTREAM and finally Windows MovieMaker uploaded to SchoolTube. At the end of the project, all completed versions were posted to the wiki and the students compared the tools that they had used. More than 50% of the class said they could see themselves using both Animoto and Flixtime for their own projects at home. Here’s what they had to say about the different tools they used:
Also during this time, 8th Grade participated in World Math Day, helped 7th Grade out with a survey project they were doing and voted for their favorites of the videos they had created.
May: May was Keyboarding time. 8th grade spent five classes working on their keyboarding skills. As 8th grade moves on to high school and then college, they’ll be called on to do more and more typing so we like to spend some time on refreshing keyboarding skills.
Now, it’s nearly the end of the year and 8th grade is working on their final project which will be previewed at the Graduation Breakfast!
For Earth Day, 2nd Grade discussed why they love the earth and things that we can do to help the earth. Each student then created original artwork using KidPix and these were added to the PlanetFesto ribbon along with their ideas of what they could do to help the earth. After this was completed, 2nd Grade used the PBS site, Eeko World which is designed to help children between the ages of 6 and 9 learn about the important role they can play in taking care of the earth.
The students continued to work on their typing skills using the Dance Mat Typing site. They will continue to use this site in 3rd Grade. 2nd Grade also practiced their Money Skills on various web sites, created a Mother’s Day Wordle which I hope made it home, practiced writing paragraphs in Word and played a variety of educational games to end the year including trying out Jumpstart 3rd Grade!
Next year, these students will participate in the Monster Project as well as continuing to learn about Internet Safety, Microsoft Office Products and Keyboarding.
4th Grade finished off the 2008/2009 year by completing their Keyboarding Boot Camp and finish the last two Voices of the World Projects. The goal of Keyboarding Boot Camp was to improve keyboarding technique which will in turn improve keyboarding speed. The average increase in speed during the 12 class session was 60% with an average typing speed of 20wpm. All but two of the 4th grade students met or exceeded their goal for the class. Keyboarding instruction will continue in 5th Grade and beyond.
The April Voices of the World Project was all about the planets. Each 4th grader drawing a planet (or the sun) and then recorded themselves saying their planet’s name. This project included Pluto even though Pluto is not considered a planet any more. 4th Grade also visited some web sites about the planets to see what each planet looks like and read some facts about the planets and used an online image editor called SUMO Paint to create the planet pictures.
May’s task was a celebration of the two years of the Voices of the World project. Each school was to say in their own language: Happy Anniversary, Two years of Voices of the World, Congratulations all.
Finally, 4th Grade took an End of Year Survey about the projects and activities they did in the computer lab during the year. As you can see from the results, the favorite activity for the year was the Tongue Twisters. If you haven’t watched and listened to this one you really should.
Coming in as the least favorite project or activity for 4th Grade was Keyboarding Boot Camp. Interestingly though, the majority of the 4th Graders hope to learn how to type better in 5th Grade.
The votes for the Most Useful Project or Activity were split between many projects and activities with the Computer Parts & Internet Safety activities slightly edging out others.
I look forward to having this class in 5th Grade and look forward to seeing how fast some of them will be typing by the time the enter Middle School!
The end of the year included some keyboarding lessons for those finished with other work. Keyboarding is a major part of 6th Grade so those that didn’t have keyboarding time this year will get it in 6th Grade. Touch typing using correct technique is a skill that will be useful not only during Middle School but will be invaluable in High School and beyond. I would encourage your children to practice their keyboarding skills over the summer as we would like them to type at least 30 WPM by the end of 6th Grade. Check the Summer Ideas page for links to keyboarding sites but practice does not have to be actual keyboarding sites. Keyboarding skills can improve while IMing or playing games online or emailing, etc. as long as the correct technique is used each and every time any typing is done. Take some time to watch your child as they type and encourage them to properly position their hands and to use the correct fingers for typing. It’s much easier to learn to do this correctly then to have to unlearn bad habits.
5th Grade also completed an End of Year Survey about the projects and activities they did in the computer lab during the year. As you can see from the results, the favorite activity for the year was World Math Day. 5th Grade really enjoyed the online math activities that we did this year. If you child would like to keep up with their math facts during the summer, they can visit Tutpup and Arcademic Skill Builders and complete against others from around the world.
While some of the students rated the month portion of the Time Zone Experiences project as their favorite activity, the least favorite activity was by far the time portion of the Time Zone Experiences project. This was a tough project with a lot of new skills. I am proud of all of the students for finishing the work and hope that they learned something in the process.
The majority of the 5th Grade felt that the World Math Day activity was the most useful to them.
The final question on the survey was What do you hope to learn in computers in 6th Grade? The majority of the students hoped to improve their keyboarding skills in 6th Grade.
I am looking forward to the 2009/2010 with this class. We will be spending time on keyboarding and improving our knowledge of Microsoft Word as well as learning more about Internet Safety and much, much more.
6th Grade completed their 12 class Keyboarding Boot Camp with a class average typing speed of 28.5 WPM and an average speed increase of 21%. All but two of the students increased their typing speed during the 12 class session. Touch typing using correct technique is a skill that will be useful not only during Middle School but will be invaluable in High School and beyond. I would encourage your children to practice their keyboarding skills over the summer. Check the Summer Ideas page for links to keyboarding sites but practice does not have to be actual keyboarding sites. Keyboarding skills can improve while IMing or playing games online or emailing, etc. as long as the correct technique is used each and every time any typing is done. Take some time to watch your child as they type and encourage them to properly position their hands and to use the correct fingers for typing. It’s much easier to learn to do this correctly then to have to unlearn bad habits.
For Earth Day, 6th Grade watched and then discussed the presentation, The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard. As a follow-up to this presentation, each student created original artwork and then created a ribbon piece on the PlanetFesto ribbon to celebrate the reasons they love the earth and to commit to doing something to help perserve the earth.
6th Grade also spent some time correcting errors in three poems about Spell Checkers. Often we all rely too much on the spell check feature in Microsoft Word and these poems point out that this tool will not catch every error you make in something you write. Try these yourself? Can you find all the errors?
6th Grade also wrapped up the A Room With a View Project with pictures and reflections added for April and May. Each student took a picture around the campus in May and posted that to the timeline on the project. Have your child show you which picture they took!
6th Grade also completed How To Survive Middle School brochures for 5th Grade using Microsoft Word. These were allowed to be humorous or serious but were supposed to be truthful and not derogatory to the teachers or the 6th Graders. Each student printed two copies of their brochure – one that they kept and one that was given to one of the 5th Graders. The students seemed to enjoy making these however I believe the point of helping the 5th Graders may have gotten lost. I hope that when school starts that this class truly does help the new 6th Grade class to survive and thrive in Middle School.
The final task for 6th Grade was to fill out a survey about the projects and activities they completed this year during computer class. As you can see the brochure project was the most favorite project this year. For your Information, ARWAV is the A Room With a View Project.
Christmas Around the World followed by the 12 class Keyboarding Boot Camp were the least favorites this year, however, more students felt that the Keyboarding Boot Camp was the most useful project or activity they did this year than disliked it.
The Most Useful Project or Activity was the Keyboarding Boot Camp according to the survey, however, many other projects/activities received votes too:
I look forward to next year in the Computer Lab where we will continue to improve our typing speeds, learn more about Microsoft Office and participate in more collaborative projects.
The end of the year was busy and productive for 7th Grade. I hope that they learned a lot this year in computers and will continue to practice their keyboarding skills over the summer. Take some time to watch your 7th Grader when they are using the computer to see if they’re using the correct technique when they are typing – be it gaming, IMing or whatever. Encourage them to always use correct techniques and this will become second nature to them. As an incentive, if the class is typing at a speed of 40WPM or higher with good technique there will not be a need for specific keyboarding classes next year!
For Earth Day, 7th Grade watched and then discussed the presentation, The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard. As a follow-up to this presentation, each 7th Grade student created original artwork and then created a ribbon piece on the PlanetFesto ribbon to celebrate the reasons they love the earth and to commit to doing something to help perserve the earth.
7th Grade also viewed the 8th Grade Think Before You Post presentations and voted for their favorites in 3 different categories. The winning 8th Grade students were presented with awards at their Graduation Breakfast. 7th Grade also spent some time correcting errors in three poems about Spell Checkers. Often we all rely too much on the spell check feature in Microsoft Word and these poems point out that this tool will not catch every error you make in something you write. Try these yourself? Can you find all the errors?
The last project completed by 7th Grade was a careers project. This began with the 7th Grade running their own virtual business using Coolmath’s Lemonade Stand Game and tracking their results. We then discussed running a business and their ideas about future careers. They then used the online tool Drive of Your Life to identify career areas that might interest them based on answers to a series of questions. This site is based in Indiana so some of the salary information isn’t correct for California but it does give the students ideas about how salaries of different jobs relate and it’s a fun way to explore careers. Using Drive of Your Life they were required to explore at least 6 possible careers that had to include at least three which required 4 years or more of college plus one that required at least some education or training after high school plus at least one that wasn’t on their recommended list. As they completed this drive they completed some activities using Word to keep track of the careers they were choosing and what their choices meant. After they had completed Drive of Your Life, each student created a single slide in PowerPoint with the career of their choice. They recorded information about this career including: Education Required, Salary Expectations, Working Conditions, What you actually do on the job and Why they chose that career. These were then combined into one presentation:
It may seem rather early to think about careers in 7th Grade since they are only 13 years old but their grades, attitudes, work ethic, etc. in 8th Grade will have a major impact on the choices they will have for high school and that can impact where they will be able to go to college. Even though most of the 7th Graders will probably end up changing their minds about their careers more than once before they complete college, it’s definitely not too early to start thinking about what they need to do in school to prepare themselves for whatever career they eventually choose.
The last thing that 7th Grade did for the year was to fill out a survey about the projects and activities they completed this year during computer class and the things that they hope to learn next year. As you can see from the results below, Keyboarding Boot Camp was not a popular activity (DoYL is Drive of Your Life), however at least some of the students (who did vote for it as their least favorite) realized that it was one of the most useful activities they did this year and some even requested that they learn to type better next year!
What were the requests for next year? Here’s a sampling of what was requested:
I would like to learn to be a faster, more accurate typer.
I would like to learn how to type faster.
What I would like to learn in computers next year is how to type perfectly with no mistakes.
I would like to learn how to make a website.
Less typing and more computer safety.
Designing video games or programming stuff and how to build a computer.