I'm wondering what technology other educators use, as such word, PowerPoint, digital camera use, flip videos, etc., in a K-3 environment. What one thing works for you best given little hands and short attention spans?

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Janet,

Just finished updating the web version of a project I used in a K-2 school in 2001 as the computer lab teacher. Zman is a friend who lives in NYC, and visited the students in the spring of 2001. http://www.educationalsynthesis.org/projects/Zman provides a look at some of the projects done in that lab that spring. Paint was the first solution. I made some picture outlines they could color in Paint, and as they got their bearings in the menu, they began to do free-drawings. Word was used to let students learn to write their names and free-write. Powerpoint was used to make The Presidents Scrapbook with Famous Americans http://www.educationalsynthesis.org/prof/Lessons/LESS-SOC-Scrapbook... ...

The students came in the lab for a twenty-five minute session once a week. Game software from EdMark was put in the CD drives of the machines, rotating the games so that the students, who had assigned seats, would have different games each week. We used Bailey's Bookhouse, Millie's Math House, and Trudy's Time and Place House. There are many games on each. Once a month, I taught them something new on the computers: Word, Spreadsheets, Powerpoint, Photo-Editing, etc. We also had one copy of History Explorer, which ran on one computer, and students took turns working in pairs on that program (2nd graders, not lower, since it required reading). In addition, the kids had access to the Internet, and my web site which let them choose to play online games for characters such as Spongebob, PBS Kids, and Dr. Seuss. You can see some of those link on http://www.educationalsynthesis.org/mrsp/index-Games as well as on other pages on Mrs P's Links: http://www.educationalsynthesis.org/mrsp

At the time, Mrs. P's Links were less than half a dozen pages, including the Holiday pages. Since I retired and can work on it full time, it has grown to nearly 1000 pages. Many of the resources on the site were created for the K-3 crowd. Look around and find what fits your curriculum.
WOW! I could spend hours on all those links you suggested. I love the "my books" link and the web quest on the Presidents too! Perfect for the K-3 crowd. I did find some links that were not active however (I get so sad when that happens). Is that because you're still developing them or just how it goes on the internet?
Hey Janet this is Suchitra. I'm working as a coordinator for computer education in school. I find most of the schools here use KidsPix software and MS Paint for the K-3. However both application are same but perfer KidsPix
Janet,
Here in NC our tech curriculum expects our K-2 kids to explore word processing, multimedia, Internet, even spreadsheets. I teach each class 50 min once a week. We usually spend 10-20 min on the floor for learning time and then get to computers. (I use stretch breaks which I'm calling a "scrollbar stretch" this year to break it up for the wee ones). I too start kinders painting on our coloring pages (inherited the to be colored pages from a previous teacher). We also have JumpStart Phonics which K's and 1s love to use. I've just discovered TuxPaint, which is very much like KidPix, but freeware!

We also do basic word processing (name in kinder, alphabet and copying short sentences or spelling words in first, copying a short paragraph and typing contractions and 2nd, and creating "revolving" stories together in 3rd). I start showing some formating in 2nd. I don't do real spreadsheets til 3rd (and those are way basic and already started "templates"). The younger ones use Graph Club to talk about #s on the computer more than anything Excel, though I found the program Scholastic Keys a few years ago which is a wonderful addition to Office for the little ones, so we do a little more "Excel" than we used to.

We do lots of Internet Multimedia (this awful link is to my Links page for my K-5 lab: http://iss.schoolwires.com/167820314133732467/cwp/browse.asp?A=3&am...). Starfall.com is my absolute favorite for K & 1. Each grade also creates power point. Kinders last year were studying Oviparous animals in their rooms, so we watched a video of a duck being hatched on discovery streaming and talked about other egg layers. Then they typed the title Oviparous on a blank slide (I spelled it letter for letter as they typed). Then they typed their name in the text box. While they added clipart of other oviparous animals (Keys program has clipart arranged so they don't have to type what they are looking for, but can browse the options), I made my way around the room with a mic so they could record the sentence, "my favorite oviparous animal is..." on the slide. I put them all together to make a class show. I think we only spent 2 weeks creating it and the 3rd we watched it. Keys makes saving to the right place and opening it up again very simple! Before we got it, I couldn't do multiweek projects with Ks and 1s.

I find if the attention spans start running out on one activity on the computer, I have them stop what they are doing and we go to a new website (or open paint or JumpStart depending on the first activity).
I'll have to check out the Keys program for sure. Also, your experiences with the K-3s remind me to go slow and steady. I'm going to have to ask our district tech department about TuxPaint too. I'm not sure of the "feeling" they have for freeware. I almost feel like I have to use the Microsoft Office Suite and I'd like to start immediately with word and inserting clip art. From there it's on to PowerPoint with all its bells and whistles. The mobile mic is doable too, so there's plenty to keep both my students and myself engaged!
I've heard a lot about KidsPix and I'm sorry to say I don't think our district has this software (maybe in the K-2 building?). Perhaps it's time to do some homework on the topic and pass it along to "the powers that technically be." Thanks for your response though, it helps me to see what others are using and prefer!
A pre-K teacher at my school swears by ipods for her little ones. She uses them in a listening center and the kids scroll through the stories and find the one they want to hear. I've seen them do it and they're naturals!
I used ipod shuffles last year to record text from our social studies textbook and I agree that the kids pick it up fast. Using them in a listening center sounds like a plan! Thanks!!!
I teach Grades 1 through 5, once a week for forty-five minutes. In the Grade One class, we spend time on Kidpix and Starfall. I have also made my own All the Right Type drills, and have had limited success at keyboarding. I am starting to wiki and blog, but am not sure what that will look like.

Our network has changed to six-digit user ids and five letter passwords. Am not looking forward to tomorrow period one with grade ones trying to log them in.
Ron,

We had to very quickly get some second graders able to log onto computers to access testing programs. What I did was build a database of each child user ID and password, put them into a merge into a word document, print out each child's "card" with their name and information, glue them to large squares of construction paper, laminate them and string them on yard so they hung upside down. When the kids left their classroom for the lab, the "necklaces" came with them. With the "necklace" upside down, the child could lay it on the table in front of the keyboard, and log in without having to memorize all that stuff. That may work with your first graders.

Good luck!
Anne,
Thanks for the idea! I, like Ron, have the same concern with my students. The idea of the card "necklace" is a keeper. All the procedural stuff takes so much time and letting the kids have independence with the log in process is a great time saver as well!
Janet,
The "necklaces" were a true on-the-spot inspiration. Much easier than writing the information on an index card, and less likely to get lost. The classroom teachers were the "keepers" of the necklaces so I didn't have a jumble of bags in the lab to go through as each class came in. By giving them a complex password and the "standard" ID of first initial and last name, it gave them a start into the "grown-up" world of logins and passwords. By using the last four number of their social security number, it also gave them a start on memorizing their soc sec numbers. It worked well with the second graders, who already had some familiarity with the keyboard. If used with first graders, it would help build their knowledge of the keyboard. Kinders typically don't know their letters and numbers well enough to use it, at least not the first half of the year. Perhaps, for. Kinders were able to "log in" on a spreadsheet by typing first, their first initial, then their first and last initials, but they would need a common password that everyone would use to be practical.

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