This month, first graders have been working on a few different computer skills. They learned some very basic research skills, practiced troubleshooting common computer problems, and worked on their typing! Students had the opportunity to learn about an interesting animal by watching videos on National Geographic. They summarized the information they heard, and made sure to write down where they found their information in order to give proper credit. First graders also learned how to turn on and off their computers, how to log in with ctrl+alt+del and the computer lab passwords, and how to change the volume on their computers. It's great for students to learn these things early, so that they're able to be self-sufficient as they get older!
Students have also been working on typing practice using a number of different games and activities found on Ms. Schmitt's Website (https://miss-schmitts-website.weebly.com/1st-grade-typing.html).
Kindergartners at Mason Road also spent a lot of time this month practicing their keyboarding. Students have been using the website TypeTastic (www.typetastic.com) to learn where the letters are on the keyboard. Kindergarten has been working on the first five levels, which start off just with matching letters using the mouse, then progress to finding letters on the keyboard. These games are fun and engaging for students, and still give them the right amount of challenge they need. Once students finish all of the levels, they will get a reward for all of their hard work!
During our STEAM Special this month, first graders became archaeologists and used science tools like pipettes to help crack the egg and figure out what was inside. They learned the science word hypothesis, and were able to make their own educated guesses about what would happen during their experiment. Ask your first grader what they discovered!
First Grade scientists at work!
This month, fourth graders wrapped up their mini-unit on coding. They learned some valuable concepts that they'll be able to bring with them to the middle school! After coding, students were able to explore and start working on their end of year projects. Students got to choose from different technology projects that will allow them to work with a partner to create something of their very own - some of the projects are creating a own website (don't worry - everything is kept private!), making stop motion videos, using Makey Makey to turn just about anything into a computer, and making video games using Scratch or Bloxels! Students are very passionate about what they'll be working on, and it will be amazing to see what they are able to create over the next few weeks!
Third graders learned about different types of Simulations in April. They looked at simulations of different places with Google Earth, and science simulations with Discover! Science. After exploring these simulations, students were challenged to come up with ways the simulation could be improved for the future. It's good to get these kids thinking about the potential with technology - maybe these students will be the Steve Jobs of their generation!
Second graders spent the month learning more about computer science principles through the game Zoombinis. They really enjoy this game, and it challenges them to think very logically about how to solve different problems.
Looking forward, fourth graders will continue to work on their projects, third graders will start their coding unit, and second graders will start learning how to use Google!
Both Kindergartners and First Graders had a fun month in the Computer Lab! The highlight of the month was definitely the class on robotics, where Mrs. Ares (DCRSD's STEAM director) came to Mason Road School and helped teach students how to use the BeeBots. Kindergarten used the BeeBots to help them design a robot of their own, and First Graders used the BeeBots to help a dog find her way back to her dog house! BeeBots are wonderful tools for elementary aged students - they are robots shaped like bees, that teach students basic computer science principles. The BeeBot is programmed using buttons on its back - it can move forward and backwards, and turn left and right. By using these buttons, students are able to figure out the answers to bigger problems by breaking it down into step by step instructions. Everyone really enjoyed using the BeeBots, and it won't be long before we use them again!
When they weren't using the BeeBots, our Mighty Mustangs were learning valuable keyboard skills - first graders have been practicing their typing, and Kindergartners were learning all about the arrow keys and space bar. It's amazing to see how quickly they all pick up the necessary skills!
In STEAM Special this month, we focused on the Technology and Engineering aspects of STEAM. Students designed their own Leprechaun map, and then wrote the algorithm to bring the leprechaun through the maze. The more practice students get with writing algorithms, the more familiar they'll be with computer science!
Check out the photos below to see our Mighty Mustangs at work!
Second, Third, and Fourth Graders at DES were all introduced to our new typing incentive program that will monitor their words per minute. Each student has a rocket ship that they will use to keep track of their words per minute, and they will be able to move up their rocket ship as their WPM increases. The typing goal for second grade is 10 WPM, for third is 15 WPM, and fourth is 20 WPM. Many students have already reached their goals, but many are also still working hard to reach it! With this new typing program, we introduced the new website typing.com. Students can log in with their google accounts to access their account on typing.com, where they can do a number of different activities (including timed typing tests) to help them practice their typing skills. This is something students enjoy that they can also do at home, as typing is a very important skill and the more students practice, the better they'll get!
This month, second graders were introduced to the computer game Zoombinis. This is a fun game that teaches students the core concepts of logic and computer science. With the first few activities, second graders learned about attributes and values, and learned how to construct if statements. While they aren't explicitly coding, it is important to get students thinking in a logical mindset so that when they are coding, the logic will come easily to them.
Third graders continued working on their word processing skills this month with their monthly paragraphs. This month, students all watched a video on Grace Hopper (a famous computer scientist), and wrote their paragraphs about who she was and what she did.
Third graders and Fourth graders spent some time in the computer lab learning about how to use the different tools on the online MCAS program. Hopefully this set students up for success on their tests!
Fourth graders also started their coding unit in March. We kicked off the unit by coding without using computers - students used graph paper to write algorithms (lists of instructions) to get their partners to draw different images. This simple activity helps students understand how algorithms work, and provided the basis for learning about loops. They transitioned the next week into learning how to transform algorithms into programs by coding those algorithms onto a computer using code.org's site. The activities on code.org start off simple, but increase in difficulty as the levels increase. They really challenge students' creativity and problem solving skills!
In April, fourth graders will continue their computer science unit, learning about events, loops, and conditionals. Third graders will learn about simulations and continue working on their word processing with their April paragraphs. Second graders will continue to work on Zoombinis!
Check out our 4th Graders partner programming using code.org!
Mason Road School
February is already a short month, and snow days don't help! We didn't get a lot of time together in the Computer Lab this month, but students did great work when they were here! Both First Grade and Kindergarten were able to make cards or pictures for Valentine's Day - First Graders used a fun website that let them print out fold-able Valentine's Day cards, and Kindergartners used many different tools in TuxPaint to create something for their loved ones.
During our STEAM Bonus Special in February, first graders did a wonderful job making free-standing structures out of paper hearts. They had to use their imagination and perseverance to glue strips of paper together to make something that would stand up on its own, and it was great to see what they were able to create!
In March, DCRSD's STEAM Director, Mrs. Ares, will be visiting Mason Road to help teach students about BeeBots! We have fun lessons in store that students will be sure to love. In addition to this, students will continue to practice typing, and Kindergarten will get the opportunity to make an alphabet book for their class!
Dudley Elementary School
Both Second and Fourth Grade at DES spent February wrapping up some bigger projects we've been working on. Second Grade used WorldBook, an online encyclopedia, to research interesting facts about an animal of their choice. They took those facts and turned them into a riddle, which they then published as a mini-flip book using Google Drawings. It was wonderful to see how creative everyone was, and students truly enjoyed learning about their animals!
Fourth Graders did a group research project on a region of the US. They used the kid-friendly search engines, Kiddle and KidRex, and online encyclopedias, WorldBook and Ducksters, to find information about the states, industry, major cities, climate, and Native Americans of their region. After they'd conducted their research, students worked collaboratively in Google Slides to create a professional presentation with their information!
Click the arrows to see more slides made by students in Mrs. Carroll's class!
Third Graders spent their February using different tools in GSuite - they practiced typing up paragraphs in Google Docs and made Valentine's Day Word-Hearts in Google Drawings. Some of these Word Hearts were so creative and really showed a lot of skill!
At the end of February and beginning of March, everyone at DES was introduced to our new typing incentive program - we have a chart in the back of the computer lab that all students in the school will use to keep track of their Words Per Minute. As their WPM increases, they'll be able to move themselves up the chart. With this new program, students were introduced to a new typing website - typing.com. This website is similar to TypingClub, but it gives students the opportunity to choose lessons based on what they're working on. For instance, Second and Third graders can practice typing with punctuation, and Fourth graders can choose to practice typing paragraphs (to get them ready for the MCAS!). Whenever they want to (at home, during recess, during free time in computer class, etc), students can take a 1 minute typing test on typing.com that will tell them their WPM! The goal for 4th grade is to be able to type at 20 wpm by the end of the year. For 3rd grade, the goal is 15, and 2nd grade, the goal is 10. Already there are many students who are well above their goal! Most importantly with this program is that students aren't competing against each other, but they're competing with themselves to always keep improving.
Looking into March, both 3rd and 4th graders will spend time going over how to use the different tools on TestNav (where they will take their MCAS), so that they are well prepared come April. Second grade will be introduced to Zoombinis, a computer game that teaches students the fundamentals of logic (something very important in computer science!). Third grade will continue to practice typing paragraphs in Google Docs, and will also get to try a Minecraft Breakout (similar to Escape the Room, but less scary and stressful, and more educational). It should be very fun! Fourth grade will be introduced to coding using Code.org's curriculum!
January has certainly been a busy month for students! At DES, we started the month with different activities in Google. 4th and 3rd grade used Google Slides to make a 2018 mini flip-book. With this activity, they practiced adding text boxes, searching for and adding images, and changing the print settings! 2nd grade also created something in Google - this was the first time all of second grade logged into their Google accounts! Definitely a big achievement. We will continue to practice logging into Google so that students become more and more familiar. Hopefully you saw the All About Me in 2018 pages they took home!
For 4th and 2nd grade, January also kicked off our research unit! 4th graders are using various kid-friendly search engines and encyclopedias to conduct research on the Northeast Region of the US. They're learning the importance of choosing relevant and specific keywords, and how to determine whether or not a website gives correct and informative info! Once all the research is collected, students will work to collaboratively make a presentation in Google Slides. 4th grade is definitely learning a lot of new skills this month!
Second graders used WorldBook, an online encyclopedia, to collect information on an animal. They turned the information they found into an animal riddle, which they will then publish into a flip-book using Google Drawings! Check out one of the amazing first drafts, written by Ryan in Mrs. McElroy's class:
I have eight arms connected by webbing.
Third Graders have been learning all about robots and computer programming using Ozobots! An Ozobot is a small robot that reads colors and can follow a path drawn for it on paper. Students are working in small groups to learn all of the different capabilities an Ozobot has. Third graders are also continuing to practice their word processing skills using Google Docs - this month, they wrote a 5 sentence paragraph where they imagined what an Ozobot might do if it woke up on its own one day! It was great to see how imaginative some students were!
At Mason Road, first graders were introduced to a fun technology tool - Digital Breakouts. A Digital Breakout is one big puzzle that consists of many little puzzles. These little puzzles ask students to do simple math problems, match pictures to words, put words in ABC order, and other important skills they are learning in their classrooms. Each puzzle has a code that is revealed if the answer is correct, and students get a prize if they get all of the codes correct! First graders used Google Forms to input and check their answers.
For Kindergarten, January has been all about typing! Students have been working their way through different levels on the website TypeTastic. The different games on this website teach students where the letters are on the keyboard, and progresses slowly into typing. Soon, students will be introduced to the Home Row!
Check back soon for our February updates!
December was short but fun! Across all grades, we kicked off the month with the Hour of Code - at DES, 4th and 2nd graders chose an activity from code.org to complete, and 3rd grade made their own versions of the popular game Flappy Bird! These activities were so engaging and fun for the students to try. It was wonderful to see everything they were able to create! At MRS, students learned about Computer Programming with engaging games from CodeSpark that had students orchestrating a snowball fight!
The rest of the month we spent doing fun winter activities! At DES, 4th and 3rd graders were able to use Google Apps to write a friendly letter to someone of their choice - a favorite teacher or family member, Santa, Rudolph, Frosty, or a friend! Everyone's typing and computer skills are really improving as students are becoming more and more familiar with Google! Second graders used a program called Stationery Studio to write their friendly letters. Hopefully you got a chance to see what your child made!
DES students also were able to practice their keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste (CRTL+C and CRTL+V) by making a snowman or gingerbread man in Google Slides!
At MRS, Kindergartners practiced their computer skills with various activities to build snowmen or gingerbread houses. These games incorporate many things Kindergartners are working on in computer class - click and drag, opening and closing websites and other programs, and using tools such as save and print. Our K students also used the program TuxPaint to make their own snowmen using different shape tools! Hopefully you were able to see their wonderful artwork.
First graders spent the rest of December making their own interpretations of artwork from the book "Snowmen at Night". Students recreated a page from the book, glued the words onto the pages, and we were able to laminate and bind each class's own version of the story! Each class chose who to dedicate and give the book to. It was a great activity that really allowed students' creativity to shine!
Enjoy your break, and check back soon for January updates!
Dudley Elementary School
November has been a busy month in the Computer Lab at DES! Students have been working hard to learn about new things in Technology.
Fourth graders continued to work on Digital Citizenship with Google's Interland - these lessons seem to last forever, but the students all love them! Interland is a fun activity for your child to play at home as well - the games are high-interest, and teach about different important internet safety themes. Some of the Fourth Grade classes got a taste of coding by using Scratch (a block programming language) to start to design their own Google Logos! In December, during our Hour of Code week, all fourth graders will have an opportunity to do this project, or choose a different coding activity!
Third Grade continued to use TypingClub to practice their typing (something they can even work on at home if they want!) and finished learning about Digital Citizenship with CommonSense Media's Digital Passport. Some Third Grade classes also got to explore computer programming by using arrow commands to write the code to draw different graph paper images.
Second graders spent November learning about the different ways people use technology, and how to identify internet advertisements. These students are really challenging themselves to look at technology and the internet in ways they've never thought of before! Second graders learned that websites are designed with a purpose, and for many websites, that purpose is to make people want to buy certain things. The internet is good at disguising these not-so-obvious advertisements, but students are learning how they can spot them. Next time you're in a store with your child, ask them to think about how the different parts of the store are set up to make people want different things. It's a fun activity!
December in Dudley is all about coding! We will spend the whole month doing different coding activities, both on the computer and off! This should be a very exciting month for all students at DES, so be sure to ask your child what they're up to in Computers!
Stay tuned for a blog post next week with the results of our November Typing Olympics!
Mason Road School
November seemed to fly by in Computers at Mason Road! Students kept busy learning about the different technology tools they can use to create.
First graders spent a lot of time using TuxPaint, and learning how to make many different types of things. You may have seen your child come home with their own self portrait, nametag or turkey, or other piece of art they worked on! With everything we do in the computer lab, students are practicing writing their name with capital letters - an important tool to learn in first grade!
Kindergartners have also been learning how to type their names. Students have spent a lot of time typing their name in different formats, so that hopefully it will become a habit! One important thing they are starting to use is an online game called Teach Your Monster to Read. This game teaches and reinforces the basics of letter sounds and spelling, through a fun interactive experience online! Students all have to login in order to use this game, which means they need to know how to type their names! They've been doing a wonderful job with everything so far!
At Mason Road as well as DES, December is our coding month! Even though our students at Mason Road are little, that doesn't mean they can't learn the basics of computer programming! Over the next month, students will be learning about programs, and how computers need very basic instructions in order to complete tasks. By breaking computer programming down, it makes an intimidating task not so scary after all! We will be participating in the Hour of Code during the first week in December, where all students will get to choose a project and learn how to program it! Be sure to ask your children what they're up to in Computers during December, because I'm sure they'll have lots to tell you!
Our TopDogs have continued to work hard all throughout October!
Fourth Graders are all wrapping up their Digital Citizenship unit with Google's Interland. This game teaches students all about password security, how to be an upstander, what information is appropriate to share online, and how to identify internet scams. Pretty soon, all of Fourth grade will be experts at how to be safe online!
Third grade has also been working on their Digital Citizenship unit using Common Sense Media's Digital Passport. This program has fun games and activities to introduce students to Digital Citizenship topics, such as how to search for information online, cell phone safety, and how to avoid cyberbullies. Third graders have also started to use Google Docs to type up 5 sentence paragraphs, which is something they'll be working on all year long. Their word processing is already beginning to improve!
Second graders finished their Internet Safety unit in the middle of October, and since then, we have been working on various activities to promote safe behavior online. Students are learning how to identify when a website is trying to sell something, and when a website is just providing information. They are thinking all about how certain websites try to disguise advertisements! Second grade is also learning about the different ways technology can be used in various careers - talk to your child about how you use technology at home, or at your job! They've been challenging themselves by thinking all about how people's lives would be different if we didn't have technology.
Check out our Typing Olympics Champions for October!
Our Mighty Mustangs have been doing a wonderful job in the Computer Lab!
First Graders have been working on learning how to type their first and last name using capital letters. Everyone has done so well! Students practiced typing their name in TuxPaint, and made name tags with stamps that represented themselves. We also spent time in October learning how to make pumpkins and scarecrows using TuxPaint. First Graders have been doing a great job using the computers to make their own art!
Kindergarten has also been working hard to learn how to type their names. After wrapping up our unit on how to use the computer mouse, Kindergartners started to learn how to match letters on the keyboards to letters in their names. They have been practicing tying the different letters using various online games, and recently have begun typing their own names. It is impressive how well everyone is doing with their work in the Computer Lab!
Come support DCRSD STEAM at Barnes & Noble in Millbury on November 12 from 12-5!
Miss Schmitt and other DCRSD Staff and Educators will be hosting various FREE STEAM activities throughout the day!
If you're unable to attend in person, you can make a purchase at BN.com/bookfairs between 11/12 and 11/17. Be sure to enter the Bookfair ID# 12252359 at checkout!
A percentage of all B&N purchases will be donated to the Dudley-Charlton STEAM programs!
This year at Mason Road, our students have a "Bonus Special" once a week. The classes rotate through the different Bonus Specials, so they see each one about once a month. One of these Bonus Specials is STEAM! Kindergartners have the STEAM Bonus Special with Mrs. Paquette, and First Graders have theirs with Miss Schmitt.