Hello Everyone,

I was hoping to poll to masses for some best practices used as far as bell work (beginning of class before bell) in a Middle School Computer Lab. Currently, I'm not using any because I haven't been able to think of something that would work well. What do you use?

Tags: 6-8, MS, beginning, bell, best, class, computer, ideas, lab, middle, More…of, practices, school, seat, starting, work

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One of our tech teachers would have students come in and keyboard for the first five or so minutes. He used some type of game/software format. Periodically he gave timed tests to see if the students' keyboarding skills had improved. This also held them accountable for their bell work.
I agree that keyboarding is probably the easiest bell work to do consistently. Some other ideas of things you could do:
  • Set up a Wall Wisher board with a question of the day or a "what do you want to learn about" dealing with whatever subject you're going to be teaching.
  • Have a writing prompt they need to do in a Word Processor.
  • Set up some kind of Internet Scavenger Hunt.
  • Use a blog & have a question of the day they need to respond to.
I would agree with the Wall Wisher...it's pretty cool and very fast....
In the past I used Mavis Beacon as our warm-up... This year I am using the sites that can be found on this page. I do recommend trying to keep whatever you do consistent... Even with the reminder on the blog page and on the SmartBoard many of the students in middle school find ways to "not know what to do." Consistency kills that excuse...

At the same time, though, I like the ideas Vicky S put forth... Trying to figure out how I can tweak some ideas to work with my regular education students and the special education students that are mainstreamed - some can be paired up and others cannot. Then turn the ideas into a regular schedule that works for all.
I see my middle school kids twice a week.
We do mouse/trackpad skill games online for 5 minutes when our lessons are typing-heavy such as Office: simple click, fast click, target practice, speed, accuracy. And we practice keyboarding when using drawing, movies and animation lessons such asarrow keys, number pad, keyboard short cuts...
Here are the sites we use in my class:

Mouse Skills

Arrow Keys

Typing Games

BTW Wall Wisher, Stixy, Google Sites (mini blog), great ideas!
I'm trying to do some investigation into the feasibility of Apple's Trackpad in classrooms.  If you have a classroom of 20 computers, all with keyboards and trackpads... all wireless - does that present a problem?  I'm looking for a recommended best practice here. I can see the benefit to having a trackpad as opposed to a mouse for k-3 kids, where fine motor skills are just developing, but what about at the upper elementary, middle and high school levels?  I'm looking for someone with lab experience in managing trackpad use.



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