In the second grade computer classes, it's all about practicing mouse control and finger placement on the keyboards. Usually during class I open up Microsoft Word for them and review over the home row keys (ASDF JKL;) by asking them to do specific sets of letters (aaa, ddd, fff, sss, etc). I then have them spell easy words that are on the homerow keys, such as DAD, SAD, FAD. To challenge them, I will have them spell words such at HAT, CAT, SAT, MAT--these words require them to reach with specific fingers while still being on the home row keys. The words are short enough to practice keeping your fingers on the home row keys--which is important!! To really challenge them, I ask them to spell their names (first and even last if they know how to), their pet's name or if they don't have a pet, I ask them to spell a pet they might want. Some of the answers are pretty creative ("How do you spell iguana?")! This gives them an opportunity to explore the keyboard and to learn how to spell new things.
Another activity I have them do is to go to a keyboarding website that is made by the BBC (the students call it the goat website because there is a dancing goat on one of the levels). This website has them go through stages and shows them proper finger placement on the home row keys. It's a great tool and lots of fun for them. They usually ask to go on it if they have any free time after their work is done. The website is listed below and is wonderful practice--even for me!!
I will also occasionally send them to a website called Starfall. This is an educational, reading based website. The site is designed for K-2nd grade and allows the students to learn how to read and to enhance their reading skills. It also re-enforces mouse control. With their hands being so small sometimes it's hard for them to control the mouse properly. Starfall has them click different things during the activities which strengthens their hand and finger muscles.
Another mouse control website that I send them to is a pumpkin carving website. This website has them "carve a pumpkin" using their mouse. Once they are done, they click the appropriate button and their creation turns into a jack-0-lantern. The students really enjoy watching their creation come to life!! They usually ask me to turn off the lights so they can see the glow of the candle better. I have inserted these two websites below and encourage you to use them at home! They are a lot of fun and your child will really enjoy them!
Starting with the second grade, I have begun using a website called Growing with Technology. The website introduces Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) at an age appropriate level. There are different activities for each program and allow the students to be able to learn the different programs.
Also I have begun using this website for internet scavenger hunts. The Growing with Technology website, along with another educational website I found, both give me ideas for scavenger hunts. The main purpose of these hunts is to familiarize the students with internet research. The scavenger hunts allow the students to be presented with a worksheet with different questions and when sent to a specific site, they are able to find the answer by reading and learning more about the topic. Just recently the second graders were sent to a website called Ocean Life for Kids. They were handed a worksheet asking specific questions about different ocean life animals (dolphins, sharks, lobsters) and were asked to answer them on the worksheet. The students had a lot of fun discovering the different facts about those animals and this promoted learning while researching.
This week we...
HAVE A WONDERFUL AND SAFE SPRING BREAK!!!!
*We did some keyboarding practice on the bbc website as well as on Microsoft Word where we typed out our name, our favorite flavor of ice cream, out favorite sport, our favorite subject in school, and the name of a pet we have or wish we had (hamster came up alot!).
*We also had an internet scavenger hunt that was about music. We went to the NY Philharmonic website and learned about different instruments. We listened to what they sounded like and had fun drawing our favorite instrument at the end!
*We did keyboarding practice on the bbc website and as always made sure that we had proper finger placement on the homerow keys.
*We also did an internet scavenger hunt which I think they really enjoyed. I sent them to a website with links to different animals and had them answer simple questions on a worksheet. It was a lot of fun and even I learned some new things about some of the animals.
*We learned about databases. I refreshed their memory about the Microsoft Excel activity that we did last week (please see note). The database activity presented the students with a database about sea animals. They were given questions asking them specific things about the database, such as "Look at the field called size. How many animals are small? What are they?" The students were able to look at the question and then the database and find the answer.
*We also did keyboarding practice on the bbc website (goat website...) and continued our practice of having our fingers always on the home row keys.
**(NOTE: Last week we did an exercise from the Growing with Technology website. A link from the website sent the students to an pre-made spreadsheet on Excel. The spreadsheet had the categories: Name, Age, Brothers, Sisters, Pets. The students were instructed to first fill out their information (Their name, age, # of brothers, # of sisters, and # of pets), then find out their friends information. This great introduction allowed them to learn how to enter information into a spreadsheet and how to read that information. It also allowed them to learn more about their friends!)