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Love Back to School Sale

I don't know about you, but I have mixed feelings when it's time to head back to school. I'm a total nerd about school supplies, but I also crave the lazy summer mornings sipping coffee and not having to make plans for the day. 

I want to make back to school as easy for teachers as possible. These resources were handpicked to help you save TIME and be more ORGANIZED. Oh, and they will be 28% off on August 3rd and 4th, so put them in your cart on TpT. 

If you're a computer lab teacher (like me) or a media specialist, you probably have to teach research skills. This is a complete, 7 part unit that students can complete independently. Interactive learning modules and "right there" questions guide them through learning each step of the online research process from using the right keywords to knowing if the website is a good source to putting together the bibliography or works cited page. The best part is that it is completely digital so you don't need to make copies or collect papers with no names on them!

I just added this new resource that I've decided to make totally FREE to help other computer lab teachers, or anyone who has devices for student use. This set of 7 posters cover the basics for any group of elementary or middle school students. 

Finally, let me help you organize your whole school year. This binder was created after years of being frustrated with regular teacher binders. This, my friends, is made for technology teachers. Planning pages, (with standards included) curriculum map, data spreadsheets, and student progress pages all come together to help you plan and assess in a way that works for tech teachers. At this time this binder is set up for K-5 tech teachers, but if you ask really nicely I could put another one together for middle and high school (let me know in the comments or on any social media platform). 

So, how do you get these for 28% off? My whole store will be 20% off on August 3rd and 4th. TpT is adding an extra 10% off at checkout with the coupon code: BTS15
Simple as that. Fill up your wishlist and then check out on the 3rd or 4th. 

Brittany Washburn
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Technology Pinterest Boards to Follow

I love Pinterest. I've been known to scroll through Pinterest all evening while "watching tv" with my husband. I'm also very visual, so the layout just works for me. 

In all of the time I've been scrolling, I've found some phenomenal boards that I want to share with you. The theme will be boards for technology resources for teachers. 

1. Technology Coordinator by Julie Zacarias 
Her board is FULL of great ideas for both tech teachers and classroom teachers. 
2. Educational Technology Tips and Ideas by Bonny Skutch 
Her tips are fantastic for ANY teacher.
3. Digital Learning by Michele
This board has so many great resources for integrating technology into the content areas.
4. Technology by Laurie Phillips
This board has something for everyone. 
5. Computers by Becky Buckley
This board is a great resource for technology teachers, with everything from classroom management ideas to lesson resources. 
6. Computer Skills by Amy Carriker
Her board has lots of Pins that I haven't seen before. Great for a new technology teacher. 
7. Technology in Education by Laura Candler
I actually went to a PD session by Laura and she was so inspirational. This board is a fantastic array of tech resources for teachers. 
8. Technology by Charity Preston
Her board is full of the latest apps and websites for integrating technology in the classroom. 
9. School Technology by TeachersPayTeachers
This board is still in the works, but if I know anything about the work ethic over at TpT, it will be full of amazing stuff soon. This one is a board to watch. 
10. My Technology Lab Classroom by Brittany Washburn (Hey, that's me)
This is THE board for tech teachers at the elementary level. I try to include everything a tech teacher needs to get set up and teach awesome lessons. 

So that's my list. I hope you can find some awesome resources from these boards. Let me know in the comments if you've found (or made) a great tech board that I didn't list here. 

Brittany Washburn
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Teaching Vocabulary and Technology Skills

I have this winning combination I use for teaching every technology lesson. I start with an essential question, then I talk about the I Can statement and vocabulary for the lesson, then I dive into the directions all without actually teaching them anything yet.

Do you have a word wall in your technology classroom? My first year teaching I didn't, and every time I asked my students to write about what they were learning I had to spell EVERYTHING for them. Obnoxious, right? We want our students to use the vocabulary words we are teaching them, so why not put them all up on the walls to help our students see the word and make a connection to the spelling? That is exactly what I've done from my second year and on.

Let's face it, when you're the only one at your school teaching technology you can feel totally alone in planning and curriculum development. Even if you meet with a professional learning team, you're not at the same school working with the same students. You're on your own. This may seem like a big obstacle, but it actually has an upside - no one can tell you how to pace your lessons!

If you're like me, you NEED a few weeks to establish procedures and expectations. I would hate to feel rushed, like most classroom teachers do, to start teaching content within days of beginning school. After I have shown my students how to enter the classroom, how to begin working, where the supplies are, how they may use the supplies, how to log off, and how to line up, then I'm ready to start teaching vocabulary and skills.

I have this winning combination I use for teaching every technology lesson. I start with an essential question, then I talk about the I Can statement and vocabulary for the lesson, then I dive into the directions all without actually teaching them anything yet. When my students log into their computers and access the lesson page on my class website, that is when instruction and independent practice finally takes place. You see, I have a semi-flipped classroom. I LOVE to use screencasts to give the actual instruction for a lesson. I will detail the steps required and give them directions for how to complete the independent practice part. For an example screencast showing students how to insert, move, and resize photos, check this out:

My students learn the answers to essential questions, vocabulary, and a declaration for the I Can Statement from hands on practice.

These posters are what I have on my whiteboard. I change them out for each class if each class is learning something different that day (but sometimes I like to teach in units and these posters can apply to several classes, the content for the lesson is just a bit different). After we have learned a vocabulary word, I put the word wall version up in the classroom. 

Prior to the start of school I printed, cut, and laminated all of the word wall cards and I keep them in a binder until I'm ready to use them. 

Now, my students do not simple complete a set of practice questions on the computer and call it a day, we have interactive notebooks for our lessons. I use interactive notebooks for everything, from digital citizenship, (check out this blog post to learn about it) to how to do specific skills in PowerPoint. 

Using an interactive notebook means my students are held responsible for the content. Any time they ask me how to do something we've already learned, I direct them back to the correct page in their notebook and they look up the details themselves. In my technology classroom I introduce PPT as early as second grade, but each year I find that I have to re-teach skills like how to change the font and how to insert and resize a picture. This was frustrating to both the students and to me. That's why I decided to create an interactive notebook for these skills, so that students can look back and see the details for how to complete each skill and why we need that skill (all included in the guided notes and activities of my PPT Skills Complete Unit). If you teach multiple grade levels like I do, you may choose to split the instruction of these 14 lessons between 3 years (start in 3rd grade with the basics, do a few more lessons in 4th grade and finish with the trickiest skills in 5th grade) or something similar.

I’ve had the most success teaching this complete unit in 4th grade along with a research project. I worked with the teachers and chose to research Idioms (you can find the guided research project here if you’re interested). We spent weeks learning the PPT skills and then implemented them into a cohesive, and amazing, presentation for each student. Their work was middle school quality after learning all of these skills. 

One thing I've noticed since implementing interactive notebooks is that the vocabulary comprehension has increased significantly. Students love to learn with their hands, and having them cut, color, write, and think about the topic in a creative way, means they are engaged in the learning process. 

By the way, I plan all of this using a combination of the ISTE NETS-S and the I Can Statements I've created. I have them all compiled into a Technology Teacher Binder that I use to plan and track data for my students, though my 3rd-5th grade students track their own data in a packet that you can find in that binder. This was developed after spending 2 school years frustrated at the lack of resources provided for technology teachers, and it has been the perfect solution. 

I hope that reading through this post has given you some ideas for how to meet the technology standards for all of your students. With a little planning and preparation, you can have a smooth-running classroom and your students will barely need you! What other components of a technology classroom would you like to learn about? Let me know in the comments and I will write a post about it. 
I have this winning combination I use for teaching every technology lesson. I start with an essential question, then I talk about the I Can statement and vocabulary for the lesson, then I dive into the directions all without actually teaching them anything yet.

Brittany Washburn
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The Best Computer Lab I've Ever Seen

How I Set up My Computer Lab

How I set up my computer lab Brittany Washburn

My first year teaching technology to grades K-5 I didn't even put up vocabulary words! I know, I can't believe it either. I've grown so much as a teacher and I'm constantly inspired by the styles and layouts of grade level classrooms, so I made myself adorable, stylish, and functional classroom decor. 

Are you a brand new tech teacher and feeling totally alone? Join the Tech Teacher Tribe Facebook Group!

First, this is what a computer station looks like in my classroom: 

How I set up my computer lab Brittany Washburn

I have a velcro name tag on top of the monitor. Students use a dry erase marker to write their name. I have them do this while their computer is logging in. I have a laminated "hand" that they put up if they have a question. My thought process here is that they can still work on their computer with both hands while they wait for me to come to them. 

Next, I made I Can Statements for the Technology Standards 

My principal loves seeing them and my students benefit from knowing the goal for the day/lesson. I made a set that I put on a ring at each computer station, and full-page posters for the front of the classroom. I give directions on the carpet by my interactive whiteboard before I send students to the computers, so I need my essential questions, I Can statements, and vocabulary words up there. 
How I set up my computer lab Brittany Washburn

How I set up my computer lab Brittany Washburn

As you can expect, I have another board for grades 3-5 in another section of the classroom. I LOVE the clip art on these, from Whimsy Clips that I custom ordered. It makes these posters so much more inviting than a black and white version. 
Click on any of the images in this blog post to learn more.
How I set up my computer lab Brittany Washburn
These vocabulary posters have been instrumental in my students taking responsibility for using the correct terminology in the lab. We focus on one or two words each week and I add them to this display. 
How I set up my computer lab Brittany Washburn

How I set up my computer lab Brittany Washburn
These 2 pictures are my Daily Messages. I display them through the projector so my students can see them, but also create a common board with everything for that weeks' lessons for each grade level.
How I set up my computer lab Brittany Washburn

 I love my shortcut posters and refer to them often. Students can refer to the bulletin board instead of asking over and over again how to do a shortcut.
How I set up my computer lab Brittany Washburn
 The ABC display is colorful and teaches students about new types of technology. The kindergarten students particularly love them. 
How I set up my computer lab Brittany Washburn
 A display for the lab expectations is a must! 
How I set up my computer lab Brittany Washburn
 Organizing my lesson plans and I can statements in binders has been a huge time saver. I just grab what I need and go. Heading to the 3rd grade PLC meeting? Grab the 3rd grade binder so we can talk about cross-curricular activities!
How I set up my computer lab Brittany Washburn
 I was trying to figure out what to do with the space below the board. This "I am a digital age learner" set is perfect!

Would you like to try my K-5 Technology Curriculum for 30 days to see if it is a good fit for your students? Click here and use the code TRYK5TECH1 at checkout to get the first 30 days for just $1!

Interested in BONUS content? Check out my free email course for technology teachers, where I walk you through everything I do to map out, plan, and assess my students. And because I want to help as much as possible, just for signing up you will receive a free printable template of my daily lesson and reflection planner (and of course some free tips). 

Brittany Washburn
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