09-10 Reflections: 4th Grade
4th Grade is an interesting year. They are ready and eager to learn how to type and we do spend a bit of time keyboarding. Many of them are very involved in some kind of social networking sites at home so Internet Safety is a topic that I feel must be covered. For all the time that 4th Graders can spend online, they still need a lot of guidance not only in safety but in Internet Literacy. I definitely need to cover this more next year in the lab. They love competing against one another in computer games and enjoyed World Math Day and love to visit sites like Arcademic Skill Builders and Tutpup. Most 4th graders still enjoy using KidPix and other graphics programs and it’s amazing how good some of them are in using these programs.
The major online collaborative project that 4th Grade participated in was the Voices of the World project. This was the second year that 4th grade has done this project. I love the idea of classes all around the world using art and voices to express themselves on a theme each month. However, there is not much interaction between schools other than having the projects posted on a wiki. The project organizers want a single student voice to say each word or phrase but I need something that involves all of my students and because I had to create multiple versions of the project so that each one only had a single student voice, I fell behind in getting our assignments up each month. Also, comments aren’t allowed on the wiki and most classes don’t comment on one another’s projects at the source of the project. I am currently looking for some other project to involve my 4th graders in next year because I want one that provides more of a real connection between classes and something that the students can hopefully maintain themselves.
4th Grade also created a Tongue Twister VoiceThread. They enjoyed creating the VoiceThread and taking one another’s challenges. We had hoped that others would listen to and take the challenges presented but sadly that didn’t happen this year. Are you interested in taking the challenges? You still can!
Lessons I Learned
- Even though we covered it in 3rd Grade and 2nd Grade, 4th Graders need to be reminded that it’s one space between words & no Enter Key unless it’s a new paragraph. I worry that I’ll bore them if I repeat things from prior years but I have found that they really do need the review. I am working on coming up with new fun ways to do the reviews but I definitely have to do them!
- If I can make it a game they’ll definitely be interested. Speaking of review, one way that I have found that definitely engages 4th grade it to make it some kind of game.
- Even some 4th Graders are on Facebook. I love social media and I get why the kids want to have accounts but I worry about having them on these types of sites this young. Many of our 4th graders who are one friend our Middle School students or even students who have graduated from our school and are now in High School. I don’t care how “good” kids are the things posted by friends on the wall of a Middle School or High School student are often not appropriate for a 4th grader. I really feel that I need to do some parent education on Social Networks next year.
- Just because an online collaborative project sounds good, it’s not necessarily a good fit for everyone. Having worked with the Voices of the World project for two years now I can honestly say I don’t think it’s a good fit for my 4th graders. It’s time to find something that is!
Things I’ll Definitely Repeat Next Year
- Keyboarding instruction
- Internet Safety Lessons & Poster creation
- Tongue Twister VoiceThread
What are some technology activities and projects that are successful with your 4th Grade students?