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!
It was a pleasure teaching this year’s graduating 8th Grade class. They are all creative, wonderful students who will do great things in high school and beyond. They were very busy at the end of the school year with their End of Year project which resulted in the DVD they all received at the Graduation Breakfast. I hope that each of you has had a chance to watch this beyond the excerpts shown at the breakfast.
Prior to the End of Year Project, all 8th graders spent one day taking a series of timed typing tests and creating Excel spreadsheet to calculate their average typing speed. Many of this year’s 8th grade class loved Mavis Beacon and would spend time working in it every chance they got and this showed in some of the average speeds. For any 8th grader who isn’t already typing at least 40 wpm, I would highly encourage some keyboarding practice before they begin high school.
Each 8th grade student also viewed all of the Think Before You Post presentations and voted for their favorites in 3 different categories. The awards for these were given out at the Graduation Breakfast and congratulations again to the winners!
8th 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?
For Earth Day, 8th Grade watched the discussed the presentation, The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard. As a follow-up to this presentation, each 8th Grade student 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. Some of the 8th Grade students created original artwork for their ribbon piece while others used one of the stock photos available for this project.
Last but not least, 8th Grade added to the Social Studies wiki with their Wordles and analyses of Presidential Inaugural Speeches.
The first 8th Grade Social Studies podcast was completed. Unfortunately, one group’s recordings got corrupted somehow so this group is not included in the podcast. As I listened to the completed podcast, I discovered a few errors in the information included in the podcast that were not caught before the recording. Can you find them? I will be reviewing these with the class after Easter break. You can subscribe to all St. Martin’s Podcasts from iTunes at http://www.itunes.com/podcast?id=309479240.
As teenagers and soon to be high schoolers, 8th Graders tend to have more access to social networking and other sharing sites on the Internet. 8th Grade spent some time creating interactive PowerPoint presentations about thinking before you post online. When these were done, they uploaded them to St. Martin’s Computer Lab SlideBoom account and then embedded them on our wiki where you can see their presentations. 8th Grade will be viewing all of these and voting for their favorites after Easter break.
8th Grade also participated in World Math Day in the Computer Lab on March 3rd. World Math Day is an International event with students from around the world competing against one another in mental math games to try to set a world record for the most correct math answers in a 2 day period – 2 days because the event ran during the time that it was March 4, 2009 anywhere in the world. 8th Grade answered 2,983 questions correctly during World Math Day and each 8th Grader received a participation certificate from this event. Here are just a few statistics from World Math Day:
204 Countries represented
12,647 Cities/Towns participating
38,058 Schools participating
1,952,879 Students participating
452,682,682 Questions correctly answered
Did you know that 3/14 is Pi Day? It is and in celebration, 8th Grade completed an extra credit Pi Day Trivia Hunt.
8th Grade has also begun a new Social Studies related project. They were each assigned a President and read that President’s Inaugural Address. They then posted their analysis of the address. After the Easter break, they will use Wordle to create a pictorial representation of the Inaugural Address and then re-analyze the speech. Both analyses (see the discussions tab) and the pictorial representations will be available on the 8th Grade Social Studies wiki.
KINDERGARTEN: Kindergarten reviewed the parts of the computer by singing Our Computer Song and they visited some age appropriate web sites: Peep & the Big World and Poisson Rouge. Kindergarten also began their introduction to keyboarding by meeting our mascot A Silly Dancing Frog, Giggles and using the web site Key Seeker along with green & purple stickers on their hand to begin to find letters on the keyboard using two hands. They also started working on their Adventures in Keyboarding project in PowerPoint. Each week in class they will be typing words that begin with a specific letter of the alphabet. This week they typed A words. After they finished their typing, they visited Caillou’s Magic Keyboard.
1ST GRADE: 1st Grade was reintroduced to A Silly Dancing Frog, Giggles and Harry (the) Jazzy Koala (with a) Little Semi and visited the web site Key Seeker to reinforce typing with two hands. They then completed the A page of their Adventures in Keyboarding project. Like Kindergarten, 1st Grade will also be completing one letter a week as their typing practice. In addition to typing, 1st Grade also used the educational software program, Jumpstart 1st Grade.
2ND GRADE: 2nd Grade only had computers once this week and concentrated on keyboarding with a re-introduction toe Giggles and Harry to help learn the keys on the homerow. They then completed Stage 1 on the Dance Mat web site. 2nd Grade will be using this site as their primary keyboarding site this year.
3RD GRADE: 3rd Grade only had computers once this week and some of them were still working on their Plant Life Cycle projects in KidPix. Many of the students are done so they went to Tutpup and played math or spelling games against one another or other students around the world.
4TH GRADE: 4th Grade only had computers once this week and reviewed and discussed their Cyber Safety quizzes and Cyber Safety issues.
5TH GRADE: 5th Grade reviewed and discussed their Cyber Safety quizzes and Cyber Safety issues. They also worked on completing their Cyber Safety posters in PowerPoint and All About Me projects in KidPix. These are complete and will be shared soon. Once they were done they played some Internet Safety games and during the last 15 minutes of class they went to Tutpup and played math or spelling games against one another or other students around the world.
6TH GRADE: 6th Grade only had computers once this week and they worked on finishing up their Cyber Bullying Comics in Microsoft Word and writing their November Reflections for our A Room With A View project.
7TH GRADE: 7th Grade completed their Electoral Votes spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel for St. Martin’s voting and reported their results. They then worked on their Cyber Bullying Glogs.
8TH GRADE: 8th Grade completed their Electoral Votes spreadsheets for St. Martin’s voting and reported their results. They then worked on their Cyber Bullying Animoto videos.
KINDERGARTEN: Kindergarten spent their time in the computer lab this week using Bailey’s Book House and Jumpstart Kindergarten.
1ST GRADE: 1st Grade again worked on the How Tall is a First Grader project. We read the book Not So Tall for Six by Dianna Hutts Aston and talked about height. Then each 1st Grader was measured and they typed their height into an Excel Spreadsheet and watched the graph of their heights show on the screen. It will be interesting to see how our 1st Graders compare in height to the other 1st Graders participating in the project. 1st Grade also spent time using the educational software program Jumpstart 1st Grade.
2ND GRADE: 2nd Grade also used an educational software program, Jumpstart 2nd Grade, during the week. In addition, they recorded their comments about their Favorites of Fall for the Online Autumn Project.
3RD GRADE: 3rd Grade continued to work on their Life Cycle of Plants project in KidPix. As they finished these, they visited various web sites about the life cycle of plants. Most of the students have or will complete these next week and we will be sharing their slideshows online.
4TH GRADE: 4th Grade watched a short video on Presidential Elections, learned about the candidates for President and visited our Voting Booth and selected their choice for the next President/Vice President. They also completed their work on their All About Me projects and their Internet Safety posters. We will be sharing at least the Internet Safety posters online soon.
5TH GRADE: This was a catch up week for 5th Grade who spent their time working on their All About Me projects in KidPix and their Internet Safety videos, quizzes and posters. Most students have completed these and we will be sharing them very soon. Students that were finished with their work played math or spelling games at Tutpup.
6TH GRADE: 6th Grade practiced keyboarding and continued to work on the Cyber Bullying comics in Microsoft Word. Most students have finished these and we will be sharing them soon.
7TH & 8TH GRADE: This week was spent discussing the election and how the electoral college works. 7th and 8th Graders created an Excel Spreadsheet to count “electoral” votes from the school by assigning each class 1 electoral vote for each 5 students in the class. They discovered that while McCain had 50% of the popular vote at school using an electoral distribution he ended up with 60% of the electoral vote.
There were some problems with our blog host and I wasn’t able to update the blog for a couple of weeks. The issues seem to be resolved so hopefully there won’t be problems in the future.
KINDERGARTEN: Kindergarten spent Week 6 learning about Internet Safety. They were introduced to the characters at NetSmartzKids.org through the activities at Clicky’s Web World and were all awarded a Clicky’s Web World Certificate. Did you see it? During Week 7, Kindergarten was introduced to their on-line collaborative project called Online Autumn. They were shown a map of where all of the other schools participating are located and viewed a few of the projects already completed. They also listened to and watched the pictures of an online book, Leaf Jumpers and created a pumpkin picture in KidPix. Week 8 brought more activities about Autumn. Kindergarten has recorded a song called 10 Little Pumpkins and we will be showcasing all of their pumpkin pictures set to this song in the near future. They also completed a My Pumpkin Math Book using PowerPoint. This also featured their pumpkin pictures as the last page of the book. These were printed as mini books for each student to take home and share. If this didn’t make it home or if you would like to see what the other students in Kindergarten did, here’s a slide show of all of the books:
1ST GRADE: Week 6 was Internet Safety Week for 1st Grade. They were re-introduced to the characters at NetSmartzKids.org through the activities at Clicky’s Web World and were all awarded a Clicky’s Web World Certificate. Did this make it home for you to see? During Week 7, 1st Grade was introduced to their on-line collaborative project called How Tall is a First Grader. They were shown an interactive map of where some of the other schools participating are located. They then watched a short video clip from a show called Math is Everywhere and read an online book called Measuring at the Dog Show and then they played some online measuring games. Week 8 brought a seasonal activity and the creation of Pumpkin Math Books. There are still a few of these being worked on but they will be printed and shared online when they are all complete. Since 1st Grade had just completed some work with the states of the United States in Social Studies they also played some online USA States games if they had completed their Pumpkin Math Books.
2ND GRADE: During Week 6, 2nd Grade worked on their Favorite Things About Autumn pictures in KidPix and reviewed the parts of the desktop using a PowerPoint presentation. They also used the program Jumpstart 2nd Grade. Internet Safety was the focus for 2nd Grade during Week 7. They were re-introduced to the characters at NetSmartzKids.org through the activities at Clicky’s Web World and were all awarded a Clicky’s Web World Certificate. Did this make it home for you to see? They all fondly remember NetSmartz and had fun playing some games on that site during the week. It was back to Autumn projects during Week 8 with the creation of Pumpkin Math Books. These will be shared online soon as will the Favorite Things About Autumn pictures.
3RD GRADE: All About Me pictures were the focus of Week 6 and 3rd Grade continued to work on these. They’re still not all done so be looking for these to come home during November when we have a chance to get back to them. Week 7 was Internet Safety Week for 3rd Grade. 3rd Grade participated in an interactive presentation from NetSmartz all about how to be safe on the Internet. Did you hear all about the WizzyWigs? After the presentation, 3rd grade played Internet Safety Games at NetSmartz Kids and continued to work on their All About Me pictures. Since 3rd Grade has been working on the Life Cycle of Plants in Science, they began a Life Cycle of Plants project in KidPix during Week 8. They are creating a title page illustration and four pictures to show the life cycle of a flowering plant. They will then create a slide show of their pictures which we will export and share here in a few weeks.
4TH GRADE: During Week 6, 4th Grade continued to work on their All About Me pictures. Most of these are done but a few are still not complete. They will be printed once they are all finished. Weeks 7 and 8 were focused on Internet Safety. 4th Grade watched a series of videos about Internet Safety and answered quizzes after each video. The wrap up to their Internet Safety unit will be a discussion of the quiz results and the creation of an Internet Safety Poster. These will be shared online when they are complete.
5TH GRADE: 5th Grade continued to work on their All About Me pictures during Week 6. Most of these are done but a few are still not complete. They will be printed once they are all finished. Internet Safety was the focus of Weeks 7 and 8. 5th Grade watched a series of videos about Internet Safety and answered quizzes after each video. The wrap up to their Internet Safety unit will be a discussion of the quiz results and the creation of an Internet Safety Poster. These will be shared online when they are complete.
6TH GRADE: Most of 6th Grade finished their All About Me bios in Word during Week 6. They also did their Daily Typing assignment on one of the days this week and wrote their reflections of September in Word. Week 7 and 8 were focused on Internet Safety. 6th Grade watched and discussed a video called Adina’s Deck which focuses on Cyber Bullying. They are currently working on creating comics using the drawing tools in Microsoft Word about Cyber Bullying. When these are completed they will be shared online. In addition, 6th Grade also completed their October reflections in Word and learned how to add them to the discussion section of their A Room With A View page. Make sure you visit the A Room With A View page each month as 6th Grade adds to this project throughout the year. NOTE: In order to be able to maintain the information on the wiki, all 6th graders must return a signed Wiki Warranty form. If you have not seen and signed this, please do so as soon as possible!
7TH GRADE: 7th Grade continued to work on their collaborative project, Human Genetics: A Worldwide Search for the Dominant Trait, during weeks 6-8. They were introduced to Google Docs and worked together in small teams to write portions of our introduction letter for the project. This will be online on the wiki once it is submitted to the project. They also completed a genetic trait survey of their class and each 7th grader surveyed either 6th or 8th grade for a specific trait. This data was all recorded in an Excel spreadsheet and the totals will be submitted to the Human Genetics project in the next week or so. During Week 7, 7th Grade watched a video called Adina’s Deck which focuses on Cyber Bullying. We will be discussing this video and creating a Cyber Bully Glog during November.
8TH GRADE: During Week 6, 8th Grade completed their Wiki Profiles to include information about what they hope to learn from working with the wiki this year. Week 7 and 8 were focused on Internet Safety. Like 6th & 7th Grades, 8th Grade also watched and discussed a video called Adina’s Deck which focuses on Cyber Bullying. 8th Grade has also begun creating Public Service Announcements about Cyber Bullying using PowerPoint and Animoto. These will be shared online when they are complete. 8th Grade also voted on their choice for the yearbook cover. Do you want a sneak peek at the cover?