Last year, I wrote three different reflective posts about the year (Time Zone Experiences, Monster Project & Scattered Thoughts). I’m still working on posting final projects and as I am working on this I want to capture my thoughts about the year for each grade level starting with my youngest students.
Kindergarten students are so much fun in the computer lab. They love everything about computers and are always enthusiastic and ready to try anything I want them to do. However, Kindergarten can often be my most challenging class too. They come in at so many different levels – some of them have not ever touched a computer and others you can tell probably spend way too much time on a computer. Most of them can’t read and they often all need my help at the same time but even with all that they accomplish a lot in computers. By the end of the year:
- They are all very good at finding all of the letter keys on the keyboard. Have you ever noticed that the I on the keyboard looks like a lower-case L? This can be very confusing to Kindergarten students.
- They know what the Save icon in Microsoft Office looks like and use it all the time
- They’re great at using the backspace key to correct mistakes
- They’re getting better at double-clicking or have become experts at single-click enter to get into a program from the desktop
This year my Kindergarten students participated in two online collaborative projects: Winter Wonderland project and KinderKids Draw project. I loved seeing their understanding that other classes from different places were doing the same things as they were when they listened to comments on their introductory VoiceThread for the KinderKids Draw project and when we received Christmas cards from other classes participating in the Winter Wonderland project. I enjoyed both of the projects as did the students but I wish the KinderKids Draw project had been more directed or interactive somehow. I love the concept of this project but I think it needs something so that it doesn’t end up just an introduction and nothing else which is what it ended up being for me this year. I’d love to see interaction on the Teacher Planning page with some kind of discussion about an activity to be done and then a way to vote on an activity each month or each quarter.
Lessons I Learned
- Repetition is a good thing. I often worried that they’d be bored going to Starfall again or or doing all 26 letters in the alphabet on their Adventures in Keyboarding activity, etc. but they weren’t. They loved doing the same things and discovered new things whenever they did.
- Include movement whenever possible during whole class instruction. One of the favorites this year was a lesson about the Winter Olympics. The introduction to this was an activity where they pretended to be each different type of athlete and they just loved this. So, my goal for next year with Kindergarten is more movement!
- 10 minutes is the limit for whole class instruction. There were times I planned what I thought was a really fun way to introduce the next project that Kindergarten would be doing. It was fun but after about 10 minutes a hand would go up and I’d hear “Can we go to the computers now?”. They want to be on the computers and I need to remember to limit anything not hands on to 10 minutes if I want them and me to be happy.
- Kindergarteners love microphones! As students get older they tend to get more reticent about recording their voices at times but boy did my Kindergarten students love to get their hands on a microphone.
Things I’ll Definitely Repeat Next Year
- Adventures in Keyboarding
- Some kind of collaborative project – most likely Winter Wonderland project
- Clicky’s Web World
- Mouse Activities including Mousing Around and Bees and Honey
- KidPix Drawings: Self-portrait, Pumpkins, Turkeys and more
- Kindergarten Is The Best Voice Thread
- Educational Software including Jumpstart Kindergarten, Bailey’s Book House, Millie’s Math House, Sammy’s Science House and Trudy’s Time & Place House
Do you teach Kindergarten students in a computer lab? Are you a Kindergarten teacher who is integrating technology into the classroom? What are some of the activities and projects that are successful with your students?