Productivity Tools

The productivity tools project taught me how to save money when it comes to decorating my own classroom in the future.  I never knew that you could create basic supplies like name tags on a computer instead of buying them from a store.  I was also surprised to find that Microsoft PowerPoint could be useful for creating a seating chart.  I most enjoyed working with Microsoft Excel.  I had previously only used the program to create a spreadsheed to balance a checkbook or to easily calculate the amount of a bill that needed to be sent at work.  Now I know how to use the program to create attendance and grade sheets.  The pictograph we learned how to make would be a very useful tool in an elementary school language arts classroom.

There are many lesson plans for a k-5 classroom, but I had trouble thinking of one on my own that dealt with language arts and used the Excel program.  However, I did find a creative lesson plan from the Microsoft website in which students set a personal goal such as improving a test grade or improving a batting average in baseball and created a journal using Excel to chart their progress towards achieving that goal.  This allows students to chart their progress on a daily basis and helps to improve their writing skills.

From my own experiences in elementary school, I recalled that maps and charts could be very helpful to keep information organized while reading a story.  The 2nd grade Georgia Performance Standards for language arts emphasize moving students from simply reading a book to reading that material for understanding.  I found a lesson plan from the Microsoft website in which students select a character from a book they are reading and put all the information they know about that character, whether that information is stated in the book or inferred from the reading, into a character map.  Students then have the skills they need to create other maps, such as Venn diagrams, on the computer to organize and compare/contrast information presented in the books that they read. 

The Georgia Performance Standards also state that students should learn how to write the beginnings of a formal paper.  A good place to start is to have children write about what they know best- themselves.  I found another lesson plan on the Microsoft website that uses PowerPoint to help students create an autobiography.  Students first look up examples on the internet of other autobiographies, then they are able to utilize their own creativity skills to create a presentation of themselves for the entire class.  This would be a good way for the teacher to get to know the students and for the students to become familiar with one another during the beginning weeks of a new school year.






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