Computer Skills (Technology) with Mrs. Branch
We are working on our mouse skills and learning how to navigate on the desktop and within a program.  We are learning the difference between a right click and a left click and how to open and close windows.  This works well with the development of fine and gross motor skills that students are working on in their classrooms.  We are also working on reinforcing reading readiness skills and numeracy by using learning games on sites like ABCYa, Sheppard Software, Soft Schools,Kid Pix and PBSkids.  New this year~Chromebooks and Ipads.  We will be spending a lot of time in our Tech class and in the students' own classrooms working on learning these new tools!
First Grade
In First Grade we have our mouse skills set, and are able to navigate within and between programs.  We are working on typing words and sentences, as well as reinforcing our math and reading skills.  We are using learning games found on sites like, ABCYa, Sheppard Software, Soft Schools, Kid Pix and Kidspiration.  We are still developing our fine and gross motor skills and continue to work on navigation within and between programs.  Some interesting things we do are: drawing on the computer using KidPix, making Word Search puzzles using ABCYa, creating story boards using Raz Kids and Kidspiration, inserting pictures using Kidspiration and Google Docs.  We are also learning the home row and doing very well on keyboarding skills using the Typing Club program like the bigger kids!  We also have spent time working on Minecraft Coding from the Hour of Code and Baymax from Disney Partners hour of code. We also work with Beebots and the Dash robots.  This year we will be using Chromebooks and Ipads and learning all about these new tools to enhance what we do everyday in the classroom!
Second Grade
In Second Grade we continue working on our keyboarding skills.  It is important to get students working on these skills early, before they develop bad habits.  Sitting up straight with hands on the home row and eyes on the screen is a constant reminder.  We are using a program called Typing Club..  I have also started using How to  Both programs are fantastic to develop the skill of keyboarding, but without constant practice the skill of keyboarding is difficult to master.  I would encourage parents to have students keyboard daily using the same level and repeating it 2-3 times. That's all.  It would take approximately 6 minutes.  The site can be easily found by Googling Typing Club.  Your child will be able to log in using their own account. Keyboarding really is a hand-eye coordination. I explain to students that keyboarding is a skill like hitting a baseball or putting a puck in the net.  Check out this video to see how: Muscle Memory Video Here. We also begin working with Google Docs, and Gmail.  We extend the navigation of programs to the point of logging in and out of our network using our passwords and user names as well as in and out of our Google Docs and Gmail. We have also been exploring The Hour of Code, and using as well. We have learned about Being Internet Awesome and Digital Citizenship and we spend time with the Dash Robot and Ipads. We will be working extensively on Chromebooks this year and will learn much more about Google Docs and apps.
Third Grade
In Third Grade we continue the lessons in Keyboarding using Typing Club and HOW TO TYPE.  With the addition of 1:1 computing in our classrooms it is more important that students develop good keyboarding skills. Again, I encourage students to work at home as often as possible.  Each level is two or three lines long and takes less than 5 minutes to do (if using Typing Club). (See the site in yellow above to see how "muscle memory" impacts learning this skill.)  I would encourage parents to have students keyboard daily using the same level and repeating it 3 times.  The site can be easily found by Googling Typing Club.  Your child will be able to log in using their own account. We also start using Slides and sharing documents with other students, as well as continuing to learn how to use our Gmail accounts.  This year we are exploring FlipGrid, Hour of Code, and embedding Video into our presentations.  Chromebooks will be used daily this year, and the students will be learning about the many features of the Chromebooks that the district has purchased. We will also spend time working with Ipads and Dash robots, Being Internet Awesome and Digital Citizenship as well as Robot Rattle from the Hour of Code.
Fourth Grade
In Fourth Grade we try to refine keyboarding skills by increasing speed.  This is the level where typed documents become more important and the skill of keyboarding is a necessity. We use Google Docs, Gmail, and Slides, and review keyboarding skills and try to build speed through timings.  We spend more time with file organization and use of the Explore button, and Public use documents. In Fourth grade we will explore videos, Sound, and FlipGrid, as well as other Google Education products.  At this point students should be able to type at least 15 words per minute using home row finger placement.  Chromebooks will be used extensively in the classroom, as well as in the Technology classroom.  We will also spend some time with the Dash Robots and Ipads, as well as Hour of Code options.
Fifth Grade
In Fifth Grade we try to focus on skills needed in Middle School.  We work on documents, presentations, and merging slides for presentations.  We also try Google Sheets for the first time at this level.  With the new 1:1 computing students will spend many hours using their Chromebooks in class, and to that end, instruction will be driven by the needs of the students and teachers in regard to Chromebook usage. When students leave the Fifth Grade they should be able to complete full page assignments with efficiency and a keyboarding speed of approximately 20 words per minute.  Students should be able to organize files, save work to the appropriate drives, locate files quickly, and cite sources.  They should also be able to create Microsoft Publisher documents and use photographs within their documents, as well as embed links, create links, remove links, and embed video and sound files. Finally, they should have a good understanding of how to use Google Docs and Slides and how to send and receive email and attachments as well as share documents with their teachers. FlipGrid and Photoshop are also used and are part of the lessons in the classroom.  We will also spend some time using our Chromebooks to take pictures, and then how to edit them online.