Monday, September 5, 2016

Great Games and Websites for learning to use the computer mouse!

Welcome back to all our returning families and welcome to NES to all our new friends!

If your student is new to our school, you may have noticed that we use technology as a learning tool here at NES. We are fortunate to have an amazing computer lab that all classes visit once a week, several carts of laptops and Chromebooks to share as well as desktops in many of the classrooms and a new iPad cart! Especially if your student is in kindergarten or 1st grade, you may want to work with them on some of the basics of using a computer. In the computer lab, we focus on mouse skills and navigation skills during the month of September.

Mouse skills refers to the ability to manipulate the computer mouse to control the cursor on the computer monitor and to make choices by clicking items. Kindergarten students are taught to hold the mouse so that its "tail" or cord is pointing to the screen and to click the button using their pointer finger. We have painted a green dot on our left mouse buttons to help students make sure they are clicking the correct button.

The following are some great websites and games to help reinforce good mouse control:

Navigating the computer is another focus of September, in the early grades especially. This refers to the ability to open and close a browser or other program, using the back button to return to the previous page, and troubleshooting basic problems such as how to deal with ads or how to get back to the list of games easily. We also teach students how to use the headphones safely and properly during September. 

In the computer lab, we have created a desktop shortcut to a "landing page" containing the links for a variety of games. This helps to limit how much typing and clicking the students have to do in order to find the assigned games for the day's lesson. In kindergarten, we use a web tool called Symbaloo to create our landing page; check our kindergarten page out HERE. Each little, colored tile can easily be changed and updated to link to any website or game we choose to provide access to. This "landing page" idea may be a useful trick you could use on your home computer.

I hope these tips and resources help to provide a bridge between the technology we have here at the school and the technology you may have available at home!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Headphones for Computer Lab???

Headphones for Computer Lab???

You may have read over your son or daughter's classroom supply list recently and noticed something new -


While the school will always provide students with access to clean and safe headphones to use during computer lab, I and the classroom teachers are encouraging families to send a pair of headphones to school this fall. As the computer teacher, I have a few reasons for this:
  1. While we always clean the headphones between uses the best we can, not sharing headphones will help to limit the spread of germs which can be huge during cold and flu season!
  2. Choosing their own headphones allows kids to pick headphones that are more comfortable and fit them better than the standard headphones we provide.
  3. This will allow students to have access to headphones in the classroom as well as in the computer lab since they will not be shared with other classes.
To clarify things a little further, here is some more information about what we are looking for:
  • Headphones (not earbuds; go HERE for more info why earbuds are not great options)
    • these may have a standard audio jack or USB jack
  • Plastic baggy labeled with your student's name
    • these will be used to store the headphones

Simple as that!

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions and don't worry if you can't send your student with any headphones, we have plenty at the school for them to borrow!

Thanks for helping make computer an awesome class! 

For more information about headphones, earbuds and hearing, check out these resources:

Welcome Back!

Welcome Back, NES!

This is my second year teaching computers to the great kids here at NES and I am SUPER excited for the new school year!

I have tons of new and engaging activities planned that will really push our kids to learn and explore the technology around them. This blog will be one way you can stay connected with the activities happening in the computer lab as well as other information relevant to your kids education, the technology they encounter everyday, and more.

Feel free to comment and add to the conversation when you can but please be aware that all comments will be sent to me for moderation prior to posting in case students visit this blog.

See you all soon!

~Miss B