fifth grade

Common Core Language: Teach Your Students to Speak Like a Geek

common coreHere’s a free lesson plan from the newest Ask a Tech Teacher book, How to Achieve Common Core with Tech–the Language Strand. This covers K-8, 87 Standards, and has 8 projects.

BTW, the lines at the front of each step are to check off the skill–track progress in case you don’t complete it in one class period. Feel free to print to out for your classroom use:

Essential Question

 Why is appropriate vocabulary essential to academic success?

Lesson Summary

Students teach each other domain-specific words through presentations. This reinforces vocabulary, as well as presentation skills.

By the end of this unit, 3rd-middle school students will review up to 7 L, 4 SL, and 1 WHST, as well as authentically use and review Tier 3 vocabulary (or optionally, Tier 2).

Big Ideas

  • Words are beautiful.
  • Knowing Tier 3 vocabulary helps students understand the subject.

Materials

Internet, Speak Like a Geek assessments, Speak Like a Geek sign-ups

Teacher Preparation

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Categories: fifth grade, fourth grade, free tech resources, lesson plans, third grade, words | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Tech Tip #64: Reset Default Font

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each week, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: If you’re like me, you don’t like MS Office 2007 or 2010’s default font of Calibri, size 11 with a double space between paragraphs. Here’s how you fix that:

  • Type a couple of paragraphs in any document
  • Highlight what you typed and right clicktemplate ms word
  • Select font
  • Change the font to what you prefer. In my case, it’s TNR 12
  • Click the Default button on the lower left and approve that this is, in fact, how you’d like a future documents to be formatted when opening a new document. If it asks whether you want this for future documents, say Yes.
  • Now right click again and select Paragraph
  • Make sure Line Spacing is single (or double if you’re following MLS)
  • Go to Spacing and make sure both Before and After show 0 pts.
  • Click Default

That’s it. The next time you open a document in MS Word, it will open with this revised formatting.

Questions you want answered? Leave a comment here and I’ll answer it within the next thirty days.

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Categories: 8th grade, fifth grade, middle school technology, Parent resources, teacher resources, Tech Tips, Word Processing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Tech Tip #60: How to Add Shortcuts to the Desktop

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: How do I create a shortcut on my desktop so I can find my programs easier?

A: There are two ways to do that:

  1. click on the icon on the start button and drag and drop it to the desktop, or
  2. right click on the icon on ‘all programs’ (click start button, then select ‘all programs’ at the bottom) and select ‘send to’, then select ‘desktop (create shortcut)’

That’s it.

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Categories: 8th grade, fifth grade, fourth grade, free tech resources, middle school technology, teacher resources, Tech Tips, third grade, windows | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Tech Tip #57: How to Create a Chart Really Fast

tech tipsAs a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: What’s the easiest way to introduce 3rd graders to Excel charts?

A: Before making charts, try this easy and fun intro to Excel columns, rows and tools (If you’re a member of my co-teaching wikis, click the link; scroll down to Dec. 9th 2010, to creating a gingerbread house in Excel).

When students have gone through the basics and feel like that treacherous interface (with the blank boxes and letters and numbers) isn’t so scary, you’re ready to create a chart. Collect class data (If you’re a member of these K-5 co-teaching wikis: for step-by-step directions, go to Excel Graphs Jan. 28th on my 3rd grade wiki,). Highlight the labels and data and push F11.

That’s it–a simple chart.

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To ask a question, fill out this form:


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing TeachersCisco guest blogger, a columnist for Examiner.com, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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Categories: Excel, fifth grade, fourth grade, free tech resources, lesson plans, MS Excel, teacher resources, Tech Tips, third grade | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tech Tip #56: Force a New Page

tech tipsAs a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: I’m teaching my students to create a book report with a cover page. what’s the easiest way to get the cover on the first page and the report on the second?

A: Students as young as 2nd grade can learn to force a new page with Ctrl+enter. I have them create the cover page during one class and add the Ctrl+enter for the new page. That way, students can type the book report without my help–even on  classroom computers.

To sign up for Tech Tips delivered to your email, click here.

To get the complete list of 98 Tech Tips, click here.

To ask a question, fill out this form:

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Categories: fifth grade, fourth grade, homeschool, keyboard shortcuts, second grade, Tech Tips, Word Processing | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Handwriting vs. Keyboarding–from a Student’s Perspective

keyboardingEvery year, I have 4th grade students compare handwriting speed to keyboarding speed. We run it like an experiment.

  • we discuss the evidence–pros and cons
  • we develop a hypothesis
  • we test the hypothesis (with a series of four tests)
  • we revise if necessary

I wanted to test some of the reasons students come up with on both sides of this issue. I framed the discussion with Common Core standards for keyboarding as well as my school’s guidelines:

  • students must type 25 wpm by 4th grade, 30 by 5th, 35 by 6th, 40 by 7th, 45 by 8th
  • students must type 2 pages in a single seating. That roughly 500 words. at the 4th grade required speed, that’s 20 minutes of typing at a single sitting

Since fourth graders for both years I’ve done this have (from a show of hands) believed handwriting was faster, I put that as pro. I should note: The pros and cons were verbal the first two times I did this. The third time, I wrote them on the SmartScreen as students commented:

Pro–handwriting is faster

  • students are better at it. They’ve had more practice
  • don’t have to search for the keys
  • I can handwrite forever. Keyboarding–I get frustrated
  • Have to use two keys for some symbols which slows it down
  • Hand gets tired
  • Gives you writers bump if you do it too long—hurts for 4th graders

Con–keyboarding is faster than handwriting

  • Can lose your paper
  • pencils break, erasers disappear, points get dull. Then, I have to take time to get a replacement. Never happens with a keyboard.
  • hand never gets tired
  • eyes must constantly move from sheet to pencil. Once I’ve memorized the keys, I don’t have to do that anymore
  • you can only get so fast at handwriting–say, 45 wpm. Most students will exceed that speed with typing. Lots of people type 65 wpm. I type 120 (well, not anymore because of my arthritis). In the big picture, the average student will never handwrite as fast as keyboard
  • Erasing is easier
  • Spell check is easier
  • You get better at it because it crosses over into other uses
  • Counts words for you
  • Adjust font sizes to fit in smaller spaces
  • Always legible
  • Quick formatting to make thoughts stand out
  • Grammar details are easier
  • Shortcuts in keyboarding
  • Don’t waste paper

Students really got into this discussion. There were hands up frantically waving until I had to pull the plug because we would run out of time to complete the test.

The test (five minutes typing and five minutes handwriting the same selection) indicated that student handwriting was faster–and so students thought that indicated handwriting was better.

I realized I had made a mistake: Students voted based on THEIR personal status rather than the big picture. In the third of three classes, I wrote the pros and cons on the SmartScreen as students pointed them out, then we voted and discussed the results. This time, students voted based on the future–whether they thought they would soon be more efficient typists or handwriters.

Truth, the results don’t matter. We had a great time applying scientific experimentation to an authentic situation that students could relate to. Students talked about it for months afterward and were proud of themselves when one of our quarterly speed quizzes showed that they–finally–typed faster than their handwriting.

What do students at your school think?



Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculumK-8 keyboard curriculumK-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing TeachersCisco guest blogger, a columnist for Examiner.com, featured blogger for Technology in EducationIMS tech expert, and a monthly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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Categories: critical thinking, fifth grade, fourth grade, Keyboarding | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Tech Tip #55: Find a Lost Shortcut

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q:  I can’t find the shortcut for a program I want to open. It’s not on the desktop, on the start menu or in ‘all programs’. How do I open the program?

A:  Try ‘Start button’, then type in the name of the program where it says ‘start search’. The shortcut shows up.

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Tech Tip #54: How to Auto Forward a PowerPoint Slideshow

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q:  My students are learning to use Powerpoint for presentations. They’ll stand in front of the class and the slideshow will play behind them. We want it to go automatically without requiring them to click the mouse or push the space bar. How do we do that?

A: Presentations are a great skill to teach students. I applaud you on this. Auto-forward isn’t difficult:

  • go to Transition on the menu bar
  • go to Timing on the right side
  • Leave ‘on mouse click’ selected (in case you as the teacher need to move it forward automatically. I’ve had students mistakenly put five minutes on a slide instead of five seconds and we would sit waiting forever if I didn’t do the mouse click)
  • set the timer to serve the needs of the slide. This will require students to practice before presenting so they can put the correct time in. A good default of 5-10 seconds.

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Categories: fifth grade, fourth grade, free tech resources, Slideshows, teacher resources, Tech Tips, third grade | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer Keyboarding Class–How to Win FREE K-8 Keyboarding Curriculum

SUMMER KEYBOARDINGEvery summer, I teach a keyboarding class to 2nd-8th graders. It’s sixty minutes a day, five days a week, for three weeks. This summer, I’m moving it online, through my Keyboard Wiki.

Ready? Don’t need any more information? Click here to join.

There will be two sessions:

  • June 24th-July 12th (no class July 4th)
  • July 15th-August 2nd

Class will be self-paced, self-managed, the sixty minutes arranged whenever the student can make it fit into summer schedules. Required materials include:

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Categories: fifth grade, fourth grade, Keyboarding, second grade, third grade, websites | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Free Lesson Plans–Visit My TeachersPayTeachers Store

tech edLooking for something to spice up your classroom? Here are a variety of projects you can download for free. Just visit my TeacherPayTeachers store, click download, and they’re yours. If you enjoy them, please add a few stars to the recommendation list:

A Colonization Brochure in Publisher

A Publisher trifold on American colonies (or any
other topic you’re covering in your classroom). Includes step-by-step directions, standards addressed, time required, prior knowledge expected, vocabulary used, higher-order thinking skills addressed, samples, reproducibles, grading rubrics, and more.

His Words in Our Words

Students interpret the words of Dr Martin Luther King in their own words in a visual organizer. Great project that gets students thinking about impact of words on history. Common Core aligned

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Categories: 8th grade, fifth grade, first grade, fourth grade, free tech resources, Kindergarten, lesson plans, middle school technology, second grade, third grade | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Tech Tip #38: My Desktop Icons Are All Different

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q:  My desktop icons (those little pictures that allow you to open a program) are all different. What happened?

A:  I get this question a lot. Push the start button and check who the log in is. That’s the name at the top of the right-hand side of the start menu. It should have your log-in name. Any other, log out and log in as yourself and the world will tilt back to normal.

This happens a lot in my lab because I have separate log-ins for different grades. Students being students often forget to log out. I teach even the youngers how to check for this problem and solve it.

Truth be known, lots of adults have this problem, also. They’re used to sitting down at a computer they share only with themselves. When tech comes and does something on it–say, fixes a problem–and they don’t log out, my teachers are also lost

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Categories: Computer hardware, fifth grade, fourth grade, high school, homeschool, problem solving, Tech ed, Tech Tips | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

10 Most Popular Tech Tips in 2012

top tenAs a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday in 2012, I shared one of those with you. Here are the

Top Ten tech tips from 2012. Between these ten, they had 48,001 visitors during the year. They better be good or a lot of people were disappointed!

  1. Tech Tip #18: Ten Best MS Word Tips–How Did You Survive Without Them
  2. Tech Tip #18: 10 Best MS Word Tips
  3. Ten Best Keyboarding Hints You’ll Ever See
  4. Twenty-one Techie Problems Every Student Can Fix
  5. Tech Tip #2: The PrintScreen Key
  6. Tech Tip #19: How to Activate a Link in Word
  7. Tech Tip #12: Wrap Text Around an Image
  8. Tech Tip #2: The PrintScreen Key
  9. Tech Tip #57: How to Create a Chart Really Fast
  10. Tech Tip #1: the Insert Key

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Categories: classroom management, fifth grade, first grade, fourth grade, free tech resources, K-5 Tech training, Keyboarding, Kindergarten, lesson plans, problem solving, projects, research, Science, Tech ed, Tech Tips, third grade, Web 2.0 | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lesson Plans for Martin Luther King Day

5th grade mlk nanoogo cover4th grade mlk nanoogo cover

I have two new lesson plans, both aligned with Common Core, that I’m giving away to help you plan Martin Luther King Day.

4th grade

Students interpret the words of Dr Martin Luther King in their own words in a visual organizer. Great project that gets students thinking about the impact of words on history. Common Core aligned. 7-page booklet includes a sample, step-by-step projects, a rubric for assessment, and additional resources to enrich teaching.

5th grade

Students research events leading up to Dr. Martin Luther King’s impact on American history and share them with an Event Chain organized visually, including pictures and thought bubbles. Aligned with Common Core. 7-page booklet includes a sample, step-by-step projects, a rubric for assessment, and additional resources to enrich teaching.

They use a new (FREE) online tool I’ve recently discovered called Nanoogo.

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Categories: fifth grade, fourth grade, free tech resources, lesson plans | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Tech Tip #34: My Program Froze

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: I’m writing a very (very) important paper and all of a sudden, the screen is frozen. I can’t save it, or anything else. What do I do?

A: Programs do freeze for no reason sometimes, but not often (I’m assuming you take care of your computer–defrag, don’t download with abandon, update it occasionally). Before you declare a dog-ate-my-homework sort of catastrophe, try this:

  • Check your desktop for an open dialogue box and close it. You might have to answer its question first.
  • Push escape four times. You might have inadvertently got yourself into something you don’t even know you’re in. Escape often lives up to its name.
  • Click your program on the taskbar. You might have gotten out of it by accident.

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Categories: fifth grade, fourth grade, free tech resources, homeschool, K-5 Tech training, teacher resources, Tech ed, Tech Tips | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Tech Tip #33: My Desktop Icons are Messed Up

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: I have several kids/students who share the same computer. Kids being kids loving moving the icons around on the desktop. Sometimes they create the first letter of their name in icons. It’s cute, but makes it difficult for the next student to find the shortcut they need. What’s the best way to handle this?

A:  I’ve tried everything. Refusing to allow them to play doesn’t work and asking them to undo their play at the end of their time doesn’t either. The best solution is to teach all students how to organize their desktop:

  • Right click on the desktop
  • Select ‘arrange icons’
  • If you’re in Win &, pick ‘sort by’ and ‘type

This can be part of their start-up maintenance when they sit down to begin their class. They’ve learned a new skill. They feel empowered to solve their own problems. Life is good.

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Categories: classroom management, fifth grade, first grade, fourth grade, homeschool, K-5 Tech training, problem solving, Tech ed, Tech Tips | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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