Thursday, May 30, 2013

Keep up your Skills over the Summer: Keyboarding

One of the skills we work on in Elementary School is Keyboarding, or Touch Typing. Below are several websites for students to practice over the summer.

The first is Dance Mat Typing from the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation).
This great explanation of  Why learn to touch type? comes from their website's About Page:

"When you can do it well, touch typing is the fastest way to write. Many people can soon learn to touch type faster than they can write with a pen. The important things to remember are:
  • Use the correct fingers
  • There's no need to rush!
  • Always rest your wrists on the desk
  • You should take a rest, and shake your hands and arms to relax your muscles if you get tired
  • It's important not to look at your hands when you are learning to type. The best way to ensure that you don't look at your hands is to cover them up - you can make a simple box out of cardboard or wood to cover both the keys and your hands
You will need headphones or speakers to enjoy the song and dance in each game. The games use the Flash plug-in - if your computer doesn't have Flash, you can find information on how to download it here, or you can play the alternative interactive versions available at each stage.

Worksheets are available for each stage that can be printed out and used offline with a typewriter or computer.

Health and Safety
Sit comfortably with your back up straight and your feet on the ground!"

For an entire typing course, check out Peter Hudson's Online Typing Course

Learning Games for Kids has 21 different Keyboarding activities to try; like Typing Factory pictured below.

Type the home row keys to earn points. The green ones are done, the black 'f' is the next one to find.

Once students have mastered the home row, upper and lower rows, go ahead and try some of the activities at  ABCya 4th grade keyboarding.  

Type Rocket -- Level 1

The most colorful is one is Type Rocket, but be warned, it gets harder as you go along! Other ones to try are: Typing Race, Sky Chase, Keyboard Challenge, Keyboard Invasion, Ghost Typing or Cup Stacking. 

It gets harder as you go along!

Free Choice in the Computer Lab -- Paint Creations & Graphing

One of the fun programs included with all PC's is called Paint. Kindergarten students have been working with it a lot, but this week even the first graders got to spend some time with Paint during Free Choice day.

This drawing of the Twin Towers was printed out to keep

Then, some students chose to use Word or PowerPoint to create thank you notes.

Thanks for the sweet thank you note! I love the purple background you choose!

We DO have fun in the computer lab!

Great shape for a House!

I enjoy my job and working with the students.

She created a one-page PowerPoint slide with all the information she wanted.

Finally, some students went to Mega Math where White Water Graphing was the activity of choice.  I will miss the first graders!
Mega Math: White Water Graphing buddies! Cool charts, girls!

More graphing in Mega Math

White Water Graphing

1st grade Mega Math: White Water Graphing provides a great intro to tally marks and graphing results.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Field Trip Season

Fourth Grade will be out of the building this week enjoying a field trip to North Star Bison. If you have never been out to see the bison, there is a ten-minute video on their website to show you what the kids will see.

Next week, it's the third grade's turn to visit the Cable Nature History Museum. The mission of the museum is: "Connecting people to Northwoods nature through educational experiences that inspire wonder, discovery and responsibility". There is free admission every Tuesday from 10:00 to 4:00 pm.

Also next week, our 'graduating' fourth graders will take a trip to Hayward to see the world famous Fred Scheer Lumberjack Show.  This hour of fun gives students a glimpse into the skills used to build our great state in the days before power machinery.

Finally, continuing a spring tradition, the second grade will make their annual trip to the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth.

It is a busy time of year for families, students and staff. With our studies coming to an end, we take the time to celebrate all of the hard work and learning our students have done this past school year and also take advantage of some of the great outdoor opportunities in our area.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Public Library Summer Reading Program -- Dig Into Reading

Dig Into Reading - Summer Reading Program

Here are the details from the Spooner Memorial Library website about the Summer Reading Program.

Dig Into Reading
  • Dig Into Reading Summer Reading Program is available for youth ages preschool through 12 years.
  • Sign Up at the Spooner Memorial Library starting Monday, June 10th.
  • For every 15 minutes the child reads, or is read to, they can color in a small picture.
  • Once the child has colored an entire page, they can turn it in to the library for a prize.
The Prizes:
Level One: A Book and Bookmark
Level Two: Sidewalk Chalk and a Free Movie Pass to Palace Theater
Level Three: Free Movie Rental from Schmitz's Economart and Bubbles
Level Four: Dinosaur Grabber and Free Ice Cream from Culver's 
A Big "Thank You" to all of the Sponsors of the Summer Reading ProgramWashburn County AODA
Spooner Kiwanis Club
Schmitz's Economart
Palace Theater

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Annual Technology Assessment

This is the time of year when all 3rd and 4th grade students take an annual Technology Assessment through our subscription service,

Yesterday each 3rd grade class came to the lab and completed the assessment. Next Monday it will be the 4th grade that gets their turn.

This 47 question 'test' is a measure of what students have learned doing their work on the lessons throughout the school year. One of our limitations at the elementary level is that students only come to Technology class once a week for 30 minutes. It is hard to remember what they learned back in November, now in May. The results will give us a chance to understand where we need to direct some additional lessons for next year.

Once 4th graders get to the middle school, they will have a concentrated class of 45 minutes every day for a 9-week grading period. This will give them the focus they need to really absorb and retain the material. Most 5th graders improve rapidly when they get to middle school.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Week

Tuesdays are fun days due to the afternoon schedule which brings three Second Grade classes to the computer lab, one right after the other.

Today's assignment was to use Word to create a thank you note for one of the student's teachers to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week.

During our 30 minute time block, students got instructions, changed their font to a larger size, chose a teacher from a list on the smartboard, and then wrote three or more sentences. After typing in a closing and their name, they could add two ClipArt images.

How sweet is this?
Then we printed and got logged off in time for the next class. Students did a fantastic job of expressing their thanks to special teachers in their lives. It was one of those days that just made me smile all afternoon!

Choosing an apple for the teacher!

Monday, May 6, 2013

High 5

Since there are only two nights left before High 5 is done for the year, let's spend some time working to create something tonight.

1st and 2nd graders should go to Microsoft WORD and write a note thanking someone from High 5.
  • Miss Heather is done for the season, but you can still write her a note and we will deliver it to her.
  • First write your letter, then add some clip art.
  • Think about how much ink will be used though. No dark backgrounds.
  • Limit of 3 clipart images.
  • You may print two pages tonight.
  • Get approval from me or Miss W. BEFORE you print.
3rd and 4th graders may open PowerPoint and make one page only. Use color, WordArt and animations.
  • SAVE it to your documents to finish next week.
  • Start with a High 5 theme.
  • IF you finish with that one, you may make another all about YOU.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


One of the great delights of working in the elementary school library is the occasional opportunity to get together with Library Media Specialists from around the region. I had one of those chances this week when our district LMS and I went to the CESA 11 Spring Library Forum in Turtle Lake.

The conversations are always lively, with lots of sharing of what is working for other districts and alerts about some of the pitfalls others have encountered. One big discussion area was eReaders. Last year only a few districts had invested in devices, but a show of hands this time indicated the majority were now working with eReaders.

Take a look at this link for a nice comparison of eReaders from Top Ten Reviews. ebook Reader Reviews

One district uses the subscriptions service Overdrive to supply their downloads for  both Kindles and Nooks, which is great. There is a rather large fee, half of which goes to the purchase of books, the other half is support.  I use Overdrive from the public library for my own personal ebook borrowing and find it works very well. I like the ePub format, but also have both Kindle and Nook apps on my iPad that also work.

Others mentioned Tumblebooks, a service I have reviewed previously. This seems to be a good sources for schools to have interactive books for students. The added features of being able to take a quiz on the content and to 'do' a book report directly from the website are a plus for students. They will be adding more non-fiction to meet the Common Core requirements in the near future.

Changes are always happening with libraries, programming and resources. It's a challenge to stay ahead, but it's exciting too. Stay tuned for more updates!