If keyboarding is an important skill for students to learn and master—and many would say that it is—what are some good tools to help students learn this skill? Like many online options, there are free versions that can work for different circumstances. Sometimes free versions have limits, and paying a little bit for one of the programs is well worth the money. But other times, especially when students are first learning keyboarding, free versions are just fine.
A new month is upon us, which means it’s the perfect time for new learning opportunities to share with your students! Here is our collection of engaging themed content for May:
Spring Gallery Pack: Spring is in full swing, and this MimioStudio Gallery pack is filled with images, backgrounds, lessons, and activities to help you bring some spring magic to your classroom.
Spring Backgrounds: Add a pop of spring to your lessons with these fun spring-themed backgrounds. You can even make them your own by inserting a text box, changing the transparency, or adding a shape.
What is the role of keyboarding instruction in the classroom—especially the elementary classroom? Over the past few years, as one-to-one devices become more widespread and accessible to students at younger grade levels, this question has become more and more pertinent. I know our own school has struggled with student keyboarding skills over the past few years.
Three main issues we grapple with as educators.
Asking students to write is one of the most difficult tasks we require. It tasks the writer with managing multiple cognitive functions all at one time: idea creation, organization, word choice, grammar rules, voice, correct sentences, and focusing on a topic. Whew. Writing this myself is taking a lot of hard work!
Because of the load that is placed on the writer, students are more successful when some of the individual tasks are broken down and isolated for them. Teachers do this in a variety of ways. We have them spell check at the end so they can focus on the ideas at the beginning. We have them review their sentences for run-ons or incompletion. We help them to organize in paragraphs. And most importantly, we try to help them with original and complete ideas.
March is finally here, which means we can bid farewell to winter and welcome the warmer weather that comes with spring! While you’re doing your springtime cleaning, why not spruce up your lessons as well?
Here is our collection of engaging themed content for March:
As I conduct classroom walkthroughs with my fellow administrators, we often discuss the role of technology use in the classroom. One of the indicator areas on our form is “student technology use,” which we mark if students are using technology. The next indicator, “technology is used to enhance the lesson,” is a little more tricky. There are times when technology may be used, but we have to consider whether or not it is really enhancing anything about the lesson.
Finding ways to motivate students can be difficult. Finding ways to motivate students when you have a tight budget can be even harder. But with a little creativity, a teacher can find multiple tricks to bringing a free incentive system into the classroom.
These ideas are separated into four different areas that research has indicated motivates students: adult approval, peer approval, consumables, and independent rewards. The level a student is motivated to obtain one of these will fluctuate from one student to the next, but by a quick survey, a teacher can find the area that calls to each student and then have a list of ideas for engaging them to work for a reward. Most of these are free and take very little effort, but will be greatly appreciated. Here are some suggestions for how to integrate these ideas easily to make them work for you:
Differentiation is both a complex concept and a critical tool to meet the needs of today’s learners. At times, I have seen the complexity overwhelm a teacher to the point of frustration. Teachers will tell me it is just too much, and they are returning to the whole group instruction model that they used before.
While front-of-the-room learning isn’t a bad concept, it is difficult knowing that all of your students are not at the same place and you can’t do anything to help all the differing levels. Technology has helped change this—especially in classrooms with a 1:1 model. With a device in the hands of each student, teachers can more easily differentiate to meet the needs of the individuals.
So when it comes to math, where is a teacher to start? Here is a list that touches on a few of the major players in the market—each one has its advantages and disadvantages. Some of these are connected to large textbook companies, while some are more independently operated. If you are seriously considering the time and money needed to invest in one of these, here is a starting point for your research:
As a classroom teacher, you may have heard about the recent push to incorporate more computer science and coding into students’ lives. The problem could be—as it is with most teachers I know—that you feel vastly underqualified to teach anything in that realm. Coding seems like an intimidating subject and something that requires a lot of professional learning before jumping in.
When looking at the big picture of a school system, it can be daunting to think about effective ways to incorporate change. Systems are complex by nature, and education can be a hard one to change for a variety of reasons.