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Tech Lesson Plans

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Technology Gift Guide for the Holidays

Technology Gift Guide for the Holidays

Technology Gifts for Kids organized by prices. Click on this image to go to the PDF Gift Guide.
Technology Gift Guide for the Holidays

The PDF format makes it really easy to share with your students' families via email or a link on your website. 

The gifts are organized by budget. To see specific age recommendations, click on the individual product. The Amazon listings have all of the relevant information, including reviews. 
Technology Gift Guide Organized by Budget

Technology Gift Guide Organized by Budget

Technology Gift Guide Organized by Budget

Technology Gift Guide Organized by Budget

Technology Gift Guide Organized by Budget

Technology Gift Guide Organized by Budget

You can also save these Pins to come back to later!

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Brittany Washburn
Hour of Code Classroom Kit

Hour of Code Classroom Kit

The goal of this kit is to provide everything you need to make your classroom ready for the Hour of Code event during computer science week.

Computer Science Week just might be my favorite time of year in the computer lab. It certainly helps December go more smoothly because students are very engaged by the Hour of Code activities we complete.

We all know there are a ton of great free resources out there for Hour of Code (and we are so grateful for them!). Sometimes all of that choice can feel a bit overwhelming. This year I decided to put together a kit that will hopefully bring everything together for us.

The kit includes:
•Vocab Posters
•Pre and Post Assessments
•Encouraging Quotes Posters
•Links to HoC Resources
•Letter to Parents (editable)
•Bulletin Board Letters

The goal of this kit is to provide everything you need to make your classroom ready for the Hour of Code event during computer science week.
The goal of this kit is to provide everything you need to make your classroom ready for the Hour of Code event during computer science week. I know most of us that teach technology have a week long or even month long event in order to complete the Hour of Code with all of our classes of students. Plus, there are so many free activities available that we can keep it going for weeks! 

Vocabulary Posters
Completing the Hour of Code with grades K-5+ means that we will be covering a lot of vocabulary. I put posters together with the terms from the glossary. I specifically matched the colors of this whole kit to the Technology Themed Decor Classroom Bundle so that it would fit seamlessly with your current decor. 
There are 60 terms included plus a blank in each color so that you can make more of your own if needed. 
The goal of this kit is to provide everything you need to make your classroom ready for the Hour of Code event during computer science week.
Pre and Post Assessments
Grading coding is not something I advocate, but I understand that a lot of schools require student progress tracking. This kit includes 3 levels of assessments that can be used before and after the Hour of Code. Choose the level that most closely matches your students' abilities. If you're not sure, level 1 could be used for grades K-1, level 2 for grades 2-3, and level 3 for grades 4-5+. 
The goal of this kit is to provide everything you need to make your classroom ready for the Hour of Code event during computer science week.
I always recommend reading tests aloud in the computer lab. This takes out most of the need for accommodations for individual students, plus it allows you to set the pace. 
Encouraging Quotes Posters
One of my favorite parts about participating in the Hour of Code is that it encourages students to develop a growth mindset. Coding is hard and requires perseverance! These 5 posters are some of my favorite quotes about coding and computer science. 
The goal of this kit is to provide everything you need to make your classroom ready for the Hour of Code event during computer science week.
Links to Hour of Code Resources
While there are a TON of HoC activities out there, I picked a selection of them and turned them into digital choice boards. Feel free to use whatever you find, but if you know you have students who are overwhelmed by choice, maybe have them start out with this selection. 
There are 2 choice boards provided. The first one has activities appropriate for non-readers and the second has activities for grades 2 and up. The non-reader option also has a printable QR code version to make it a bit easier to get students to the websites. 
The goal of this kit is to provide everything you need to make your classroom ready for the Hour of Code event during computer science week.

The goal of this kit is to provide everything you need to make your classroom ready for the Hour of Code event during computer science week.
Letter to Parents
You can use this letter to parents to share information at the community level about Computer Science Week and the Hour of Code. The file is provided in PowerPoint so you can edit the text to meet your needs. You could even turn it into something you share with other teachers at your school to help them understand what you're doing. 
The goal of this kit is to provide everything you need to make your classroom ready for the Hour of Code event during computer science week.
Bulletin Board Header Letters
If you have time to set up a bulletin board for the Hour of Code, I'd love to see it! Tag me on social media or email a picture to me. This kit includes letters for your bulletin board in PDF and SVG format (so you can use a cutting machine if you have one). Print on color paper to make it pop!

So there you have it. Everything you need to complete the Hour of Code with your students this year. 
Want it for your classroom? 
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Brittany Washburn
November Activities for the Computer Lab

November Activities for the Computer Lab

November Activities for the Computer Lab
November is challenging in the Computer lab because of the inconsistent schedule. Daylight Savings Time ends, students are off for Veteran's Day and then again for Thanksgiving. Not to mention special events at school mean that the specials schedule is usually interrupted. Because of all of this, I pick activities that can be done in one class period. Check them out.

How to use this blog post: find the grade level you're interested in and then read about the activities. Click on any images to go to the product description to learn more about it. You'll see some activities in multiple grade levels. This either means that differentiation is provided to make the lesson appropriate for multiple grade levels, or it includes multiple grade levels of activities for the tech lab.

Kindergarten Activities for November

Kindergarten is really getting it by November. Almost everyone can get logged in and to the class website independently (by almost everyone I mean about 85%). Timely Tech is a great incentive for them to get logged in efficiently. The November slides work on alphabet, 10 frames, patterns, shapes, and more. 

The level 1 Pixel Art activities are perfect for kindergarten. Students really master drag and drop after doing these activities for a whole class period. 

First Grade Activities for November

Depending on whether or not students have done this type of activity before, 1st grade students can do either level 1 or 2 of Pixel art. The Thanksgiving themed designs are motivating for students to complete. They always beg for more!

Whatever slides we didn't get to in Kindergarten we will plan to do in 1st grade of this November Timely Tech resource. Usually the Word Families, Build the Turkey, and Match the Halves. 

Second Grade Activities for November

I've been receiving the best feedback about how much students are loving the digital glyph activities. This fall scene one where students are building a pumpkin patch is a great activity for November for 2nd grade. It will be challenging for them but great copy and paste practice. 

Timely Tech is really great for this time of year and the 2nd grade activities are fun and engaging for students (not that everything needs to be fun, but it helps behavior). 

Third Grade Activities for November

We can really push 3rd graders with an activity like this digital glyph. Challenge them to use keyboard shortcuts or at least get really efficient with the right click on the mouse or trackpad. The optional writing prompt at the end is a great opportunity to assess their typing proficiency too. 

3rd graders can handle level 2 or 3 for these pixel art activities. If I want to provide a unique challenge I have them use their keyboard arrows instead of the mouse to move the pieces into place on the grid. 

Fourth Grade Activities for November

Depending on when 4th graders learn multi digit multiplication and long division, these digital mystery pictures make a great activity for November. If they haven't gotten to that math unit yet, 5th graders also love this activity and it is a great review. 
This coding activity is split between 4th and 5th grade. 4th graders work on the binary code slides and if/then/else slides. It makes a great precursor to the Hour of Code activities in December. 

Fifth Grade Activities for November

Timely Tech is back for 5th grade with some great tech skills review like online searching, editing spelling errors, and coding. 
Fifth grade does the rest of the slides from this resource set. They will be totally ready to go for hour of code in December after this review of coding concepts. 

There you have it, activities for grades k-5 for the month of November. Be sure to pin this blog post to get back to later!
November Activities for the Computer Lab

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Brittany Washburn
15 Ways to Share Digital Files with Elementary Students

15 Ways to Share Digital Files with Elementary Students

15 Ways to Share Digital Files with Elementary Students

One of the most common questions I receive is on the topic of sharing files with students. 
In the computer lab a lot of the work our students do requires a template. They are learning to use software programs and it is really helpful when the assignment is set up for them step by step as a template in the program about which they are learning. 

This means we need to be able to share files with them quickly and easily. We don't need yet another hurdle to completing the assignment.

I polled the Technology Teacher Tribe Facebook Group and these were their top ways of sharing files with students:

15 Ways to Share Digital Files with Elementary Students

  1. Google Classroom
  2. Server with Network Folder
  3. Padlet for younger students
  4. Website
  5. Screen monitoring system
  6. Email students a "copy" link
  7. Schoology
  8. OneNote and Teams
  9. Dropbox
  10. Bitly
  11. AirDrop
  12. Nearpod
  13. Classflow
  14. Symbaloo
  15. Seesaw
In this blog post I'll expand on some of them. If you want longer tutorials you can find them online. 
15 Ways to Share Digital Files with Elementary Students

Google Classroom
10 of the people who responded about how they share files with students said they use Google Classroom. This made it by far the most popular method. 
It was the common consensus that setting up and using Google Classroom with students was absolutely worth the efforts. Even very young students can get it by about mid year. 

Server with Network Folder
Sarah said: We use our server. Each class has a folder and each child has a folder in their class. Work is popped inside their class folder for them to use. A little more tedious but great for teaching navigation skills as well as save and Save As

As long as you have a way to get the Padlet link to your students (you can use a QR code or Google Tone to make it really easy) then Padlet is awesome for passing files back and forth. 
There is a 3 Padlet limit for the free account though, so that is something to take into consideration. 
Check out this blog post for some ideas for using Padlet in the classroom.

My personal favorite option. If you're new to making a website I highly recommend the Weebly platform. The user interface makes it really easy to build a website even if it is your first time. 

I teamed up with Weebly to create Teacher tutorials specifically for building a class website. Click on the image if you want to learn more about the tutorials. 

Using a class website means you can customize everything to be exactly as you need it. I like to give each lesson its own page so that students don't have to scroll through irrelevant content. 

Screen Monitoring System
This method is my second favorite. There are tons of programs out there like Lanschool, Hapara, GoGuardian, Net Support, etc. that are a game changer in the computer lab or the general classroom. With the click of a button you can share files and website links to student devices. These are paid programs though, so check with your school about budget. It is totally worth it for all of the other great features too. 

Learning Management Systems
I know I already mentioned Google Classroom, but there were also several other learning management systems mentioned. They all pretty much work the same way. The teacher makes an assignment in which the file is attached. Students log in to the LMS to access their assignments and are able to open any attachments or links. It is almost as great as having your own class website, except that you can't control all of the options and that students need accounts. 

Symbaloo is discussed a lot in the FB group. Some people have it set up as a shortcut icon on the desktop so that students have quick access. Others have made a short link or a hyperlink on their website for students to get to the symbaloo quickly. Once students are on the Symbaloo page they can access links and files easily. 

A word of advice:
Always make sure that if you use someone else's template that you follow their terms of use in regards to posting the file online. Many have a requirement of only uploading template files to password protected pages like a Learning Management System. The last thing you want is to get a takedown notice for breaking the DCMA laws! It is totally preventable though so just follow the rules and ask if you need clarification. 

There you have it! 15 ways to share files with your students. I hope this opens up more possibilities for resources for you to use.
15 Ways to Share Digital Files with Elementary Students

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Brittany Washburn
Sub Plans for the Elementary Computer Lab

Sub Plans for the Elementary Computer Lab

Sub Plans for the Elementary Computer Lab
Whether you're out sick or have a planned day out of the computer lab, writing sub plans is time consuming and often stressful. Technology teachers have a unique set of challenges to consider when deciding what to leave for a sub. 

This blog post will hopefully give you some solid ideas and peace of mind for the next time you need to be out. 

I have this other blog post about Technology Tools for Sub Plans with ideas and tools to help your sub be more comfortable using technology. Today's post is going to assume you have a substitute who is not comfortable using or teaching technology. You can skip right to idea #3 if your substitute cannot use any technology.

All of the images are linked to the resource if you're interested. Just click or tap to learn more. 

1. Sub Plan Idea #1: Continue projects or units already happening

If you're already into your school year a bit and have your procedures established, the computer lab should be able to run pretty seamlessly without you. Most students will know how to get to the class website and keep working on projects or units that they have already started. 

This is one of the major benefits of having a class website or using a pre-made curriculum like my elementary technology curriculum. Leaving sub plans when you can just say something like "1st grade lesson 17 on" is a breeze!

Students will be able to be self-directed and not require much input from the sub. You can have "techspert" students help any other students who need it. 

2. Sub Plan Idea #2: Review something students have already done

I'm going to recommend Digital Pixel Art for this. Do one at the beginning of the school year and then have the rest on hand for days you need to be out. That way students are still getting practice on their tech skills, but there is no tech knowledge needed by the substitute. 

The "Everyday Bundle" is really good for this because then it doesn't matter what time of year the lesson is done. There are 4 levels of challenge that makes it great for all grade levels K-5. 

Again you can have a few student techsperts in each class to help the other students so that the substitute doesn't have to. The sub can just manage behaviors. 

3. Sub Plan Idea #3: Unplugged Technology Activities

This one is probably the reason why you clicked to read this blog post. Most computer lab teachers don't even want students to use technology when they can't be there to lead. I have plenty of ideas for you so that your students can still have a productive day. 

Tech Themed Picture Books:
Have your sub start each class by reading one of these great tech themed picture books. All are great for K-5. 

This should take up about half of the class time. If you have a tough group on the day you're out, you can leave a coloring page for the students to complete at their seats while the book is being read. 
The next activity I'll suggest is unplugged technology centers. I'll start with ideas for your youngest students and then progress to things your older students can do. 
File Folder Keyboards
Yes the prep time on these is a bit intense, so this is something you'll want to already have done before you need to be out. It is a great idea to have introduced your students to these file folder keyboards before you leave them for a sub. They make a great warm up or early finisher activity too, so having a class set of these serves many purposes. 
Typing Practice Printable Keyboard Pages
Any grade level can color in printed keyboards. You can turn this into a whole group activity by calling out a color and a letter and having students color it in one key at a time. Most substitutes should feel comfortable leading this activity. 
Technology Themed Coloring Pages
Standard coloring pages here. Having coloring pages on hand is always a good idea, but some administrators frown on them being left for substitutes. There isn't much educational value without a conversation or reflection, which some subs won't be able to lead. 
Fill in the Keyboards
Can you tell yet that I like to leave keyboard activities for the sub? There is never too much keyboard practice/review and it works for every grade level! These fill in the keys keyboards do need to be prepped ahead of time if you want them to be on a ring and laminated to use with dry or wet erase markers. They are great to keep on hand for early finishers and students who lose technology privileges too. 
 Technology Vocabulary Term Word Searches
Gotta love a printable worksheet with a purpose! These word searches are intense and should take students a long time to complete. I laminate a class set so that they can be used over and over again with a dry or wet erase marker. 
Crack the Code Puzzles for Technology Class
I prep these the same way I do the word searches. Students don't even realize that they are learning computer languages. They just think they are doing decoding puzzles, which are familiar from math class. I have pairs of students share the Converter Keys so that it saves on paper. 
Coding Quests Printable Board Games
If you know you have a substitute who doesn't mind a little noise then these printable board games could be the way to go! Of course you'll have to prep them ahead of time and it is a good idea to have your students play at least once before leaving this as sub plans. 
You could set any of these activities up as stations and have students move through them (even the picture books could be their own center if you have space for a classroom library). 

Emergency Sub Plans

Are you required to have a set of plans on hand for emergencies? I think it is pretty typical for admin to require this. 
Once I'm at least a month into the school year, I rely on my digital emergency sub plans  that are part of my curriculum already. Students know what to do because it is all website they are familiar with already. 
Otherwise, I leave this document with the front office for true emergencies. 
You can change out the book to whatever you have available in your computer lab. It should probably be something you own otherwise the media specialist will likely be annoyed with you for checking out a book for the whole year. 

Well there you have it. These ideas should get you through a handful of days that you need to be out of the computer lab. Thanks for reading!
Sub Plans for the Elementary Computer Lab

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Brittany Washburn

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