I have no curriculum. Well, to be precise, my school's tech curriculum is entirely based on elderly software that we no longer have in the labs. I played it by ear this year, and I borrowed some great units from a colleague. I have some time now to plan for next year and I am already being overwhelmed, so I am asking my favorite Internet folks for help.

What are the vital technology skills for 1-5 grade students to have? (We do have a 3-5 keyboarding curriculum.)

What are some great projects that integrate these skills with each other and if possible with standard classroom units and topics?

What else am I missing?

(ISTE's NETS provide some frame of reference.)

Tags: curriculum, elementary, technology

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Here are a few ideas for elementary tech:

As tedious as it sounds, keyboarding is still a real necessity here in 2007. In a few years... who knows?

Once kids get some keyboarding under their belts, a simple blog could help them improve. I know that I couldn't type my way out of a paper bag until I started emailing.

I'm just starting out with web 2.0 tools, but one simple blogging assignment I have planned is to start posting my weekly newsletter as a blog. Then I'm going to ask a few fourth graders each week to give thier own impressions of some of the activities described.

I also have a blog or wiki book review project planned. Kids can do review a library book, and/or add to or comment on other book reviews. This would turn into a really nice resource for kids shopping for new books to check out.

I currently have kids do some structured research on-line. I have a site or two bookmarked for them and questions to for them to answer. Free form research seems to be a bit over their heads at this point.

Hope you can use some of these ideas. I look forward to reading other suggestions too.
To start with, let me share a favorite Primary project: During the year in my rotation (I have multi-age groups so I have a rotation for curriculum) that I spend much time talking about characters, and reader manipulation, and realism, I have a unit I really love! I am Info Media teacher, so I include literacy and library skills strands, but you could probably hook this in with what the students are getting from the classroom teachers.

After reading a realistically drawn and written story (The Cornhusk Doll by Minshull), I read a story where we all love to laugh at the cartoon-ish over-the-top characters (Roald Dahl’s The Twits). We spend much time talking about what made us feel sympathetic in the first story, and what makes it feel “safe” to laugh at Dahl’s unrealistically bad characters, and what makes the ending in each story feel “safe” and “satisfying.” We talk about how we aren’t bad for being glad that the Twits get their come-uppance, because we are all really deep-down clear they aren’t real. (The Cornhusk Doll has an interesting twist on the white man/native people conflict which is worth revisiting later, by the way).

Then, I have each student design (on paper to start) a “character” that is ok to dislike – with careful cautions about no blood and that even the youngest preschoolers can’t be scared by our characters, so we can share our work with the whole school. We’ve already talked about famous villains we know, the students frequently name Disney villains like Cruella DeVille and evil stepmothers like Snow White. I prime them with the idea that if someone is mean to something I really love—like library books or birthday cakes—they would be a villain I would “love to hate.” (I send something home to the parents, too, to make this run smoothly!)

Finally, here’s the tech: we take the paper plans and descriptions of “bad ‘uns” the students have made and use KidPix to make a drawing (no canned backgrounds or stamps!). We use our digital camera and have each student take a picture of another student which I import to be the picture for an “about the author” slide. I have the students decide whether to use their KidPix drawing or their paper drawing (I will scan in the paper drawing for those that choose). We have kids narrate to the slides so that the whole group choruses the title slide (“The Primary Class Baduns!” Or some such), and as each student’s picture comes up, we hear them introduce themselves with their age, and then their Bad ‘un comes up and they introduce the Bad ‘un and say something awful they do. Students get to choose the slide transitions and sound effects for their own slides.

I let this roll on classroom computers during student work exhibitions!
I am going to “rethink” my curriculum this summer, as I do every summer, and I hope to make it more project-based and product-oriented this year. I have a 3 year rotation for each grouping (primary, intermediate, middle school) since we have multi-age classes. Some of my favorite projects have overlapped with the information literacy and library skills since I am the “Information Media” teacher.

I’d be happy to share the full documents I excerpt below if you think they would help. I’d love to see what you come up with, too!

Current projects include “intermediate business cards” with home addresses to share with classmates so you can get postcards over the summer (demonstrates using Word and clipart and templates); for Primaries a page about me with a picture taken by a classmate for a class “autograph/yearbook” (again, in word with imported picture which I help them get on the page, but they use the picture toolbar, alignment, formatting, etc.).

Here are some excerpts from our reporting system, which we call Individual Student Evaluation templates:

Primary Level “Strong” student descriptors (a “strong” means students meet most of these descriptors):

Strong
Uses a variety of media and technology resources
for directed and independent learning activities
Communicates about technology using
developmentally appropriate and accurate
terminology
Demonstrates positive social and ethical behaviors
when using technology
Creates developmentally appropriate multimedia
products with support
Uses technology resources for problem solving,
communication, and illustration of thoughts,
ideas, and stories

Intermediate Level “Strong” student descriptors:
Strong
Determines which technology is useful and selects
the appropriate tools(s) and technology resources
to address a variety of tasks and problems
Uses technology resources for problem-solving, self-
directed learning, and extended learning activities
Uses technology tools (e.g. multimedia authoring,
presentation, digital cameras) for individual and
collaborative writing, communication, and
publishing activities to create knowledge
products for audiences inside and outside the
classroom.
Evaluates the accuracy, relevance, appropriateness,
comprehensiveness, and bias of electronic
information sources

Excerpt from Fall parent newsletter:
In the technology studio, all Primary students have explored the parts of a computer (both inside and out). They’ve been introduced to the concepts of ethical use (getting permission, safe behavior, etc.), home keys and keyboarding, and good posture. Students especially enjoyed having a guided “virtual field trip” to various places in the world and beyond (using Google Earth, pre-selected webcams, and Fourmilab’s earth and moon viewers).

I know I’m pretty wordy, so I will cut it short here!
Great Question, though, and I would love to see others' answers!
I agree with Richard that keyboarding is a necessary skill. However, don't teach to mastery. Teach key position and hand position and stop. My own daughter knew that much and became as master typist IMing her friends.

Beyond that, as I now teach adults as well as my own fifth graders, I find certain basic computer skills a necessity. Things like Control C and Control V, inserting graphics, searching for and copying material, copyright laws, and internet safety are important. But teach it all through projects. If you check out my site, you can see many examples of online and application software projects done throughout the year. We are now finishing up research. They have PowerPoints, Excel double bar graphs, and Word drawings to complete. And all these basic skills come into play with them. Of course, blogging sites present internet etiquette needs.

Good luck!

http://classblogmeister.com/blog.php?blogger_id=88116
http://herricks.org/webpages/spcollaborative/
Check out my blog, I have some intro info for blogs and wikis and you can see some projects we've done. http://anotsodifferentplace.blogspot.com

Along with teaching gifted kids my other passion is using primary source documents in the classroom. Access ito these sources is one of the best things about the Internet. You can see my new blog about that here http://areallyoldplace.blogspot.com Let me know how I can help you, I'd use the ISTE standards as district objectives.

I'm a proponent for using technology to do "real" work. Several of our latest projects include wikis ans spreadsheets, diagrams and graphs as part of the project.
Check out my blog, I have some intro info for blogs and wikis and you can see some projects we've done. http://anotsodifferentplace.blogspot.com

Along with teaching gifted kids my other passion is using primary source documents in the classroom. Access of these sources is one of the best things about the Internet. You can see my new blog about that here http://areallyoldplace.blogspot.com

Let me know how I can help you, I'd use the ISTE standards as district objectives.

I'm a proponent for using technology to do "real" work, rather than fluff stuff. Several of our latest projects include wikis and spreadsheets, diagrams and graphs as part of the project.
I taught first grade for nine years and now I teach fourth grade. I've found that in first grade, it's really important for them to become familiar with the mouse and how to use the keyboard. After that, just basic learning about internet safety and how to properly use the internet is important. They are already "Webkinz" professionals so they certainly have some knowledge of it. As far as fourth graders so, I am truly held back by their lack of ability to type properly. If they could type using the proper positioning, we could do anything! Unfortunately, a lot of time seems to be wasted with this!

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