Welcome to a new year of technology class!
During our first class students logged into some of their accounts to be sure they were working, though we didn't get through all of them because I wanted to be sure they could log into their new Google account. This year they will have access to Google Drive and Google Classroom, although email will not be turned on until fifth grade. Parents will receive information later on how you can be notified of updates regarding assignments in Google Classroom.
Students are bringing home (or parents were given at back to school night) the Internet permission form, which can be signed on the bottom if the form is already filled in from last year. It is essential that there is a DATE next to your new signature. New students need to fill out the form in its entirety. Fourth grade also needs to complete the Google Apps for Education permission form which we will keep on file for as long as the student is in our school. Please return both forms as soon as possible. There will be a check mark entry in PowerSchool when the form has been filed. If either form is misplaced it can be printed from the links in this paragraph.
Another year of technology class has come to an end. Our fourth quarter consisted of skills related to creating graphs and also a discussion of Internet safety and cyberbullying. My goal was to have students select their favorite chart and post it to their blogs but time was not on our side this quarter. We may be able to make that post happen at the beginning of the next school year.
Fourth grade was a year of new beginnings as students for the first time had individual network passwords and began with their own Google Apps for Education account. Along the way they learned how to use Google Classroom and will be using it even more in fifth grade.
I encourage students to keep skills sharp over the summer by:
1) writing in their blogs about topics of their choosing, such as books read, special activities, travels, etc. I will check periodically for posts awaiting approval (but I do expect that any posts submitted will meet the standards we have set for good writing! The same holds true for any comments submitted.)
2) working on keyboarding skills by making use of the Type to Learn program (which is still available for free download) or any of the online keyboarding activities available. We will either be renewing our TTL subscription or moving to an entirely web based version of the program, though the final decision has not been made yet.
I have enjoyed the time spent with 4th graders this year and wish all of them and their families and safe and happy summer vacation!
I have posted scores in PowerSchool for completed bar graphs and pie graphs. Some students have an Incomplete because the bar chart still is not completed. This coming Thursday will be the last date to catch up on missing charts. If a student has an Incomplete, however, it really should be worked on at home to be sure everything is completed on time. We will also be taking about half of Thursday's class for our cyberbullying and Internet safety topics, so there will not be a lot of in class time to work. It looks like the line graph may have to wait until next year because we don't have time to start a new project.
One problem we are still having is the use of the checklist to be sure each step has been completed. For most students it has been a beneficial strategy to help stay on track as they highlight each step as it is completed. But some are highlighting steps on the checklist they have not done at all. I would attribute this to not reading the statement carefully and then looking at the chart to see that it indeed has been completed. This is an organizational strategy that can work for any project but one of the steps says "I have renamed the chart tab to "Pie Chart" and it is not renamed yet the student has highlighted the step as completed, then the strategy has not been mastered. Sometimes there is also the issue of trying to finish when someone else is finishing and having that be more important than whether or not the project is completed correctly.
We have been working on charting and so far students have completed a column chart and a bar chart. There are a few bar charts still not submitted, and since we missed class on Thursday due to the Ascension Thursday liturgy, it would be great if students worked to get caught up on those. I have changed the due date for the bar chart to May 12 but we also have the pie chart due then so the 7 students in 4A and the 12 students in 4B should try to get caught up on that. I have already explained a pie chart, and that assignment is also listed in Google Classroom. We are focusing on following directions, good color combinations for readability, and making sure the title clearly states what data is being presented. I was glad to see some students used their charting skills for the science fair projects. Our final chart for the year will be a line graph.
Today we discussed several concepts relating to the charts we are constructing. Some of the topics for the bar chart include percent of foreign born persons or percent of people below the poverty level. We discussed the concept of "percent" and I also showed student the 2015 U.S. poverty guidelines. To make a comparison I asked how much they thought a new car would cost. Answers ranged from $300 to about $10,000!
We also discussed the importance of using a title that correctly represents the information being charted. Since the bar chart includes data not only for the assigned state region but also the USA as a whole, the title needed to reflect that a comparison was being shown. Finally we looked at some student charts and discussed what made good and bad color combinations for readability. They were having fun with adding color to the chart but now it was time to consider how easily the chart could be read.
Since grade 4 is on a field trip on April 21 I am moving the date of the bar chart back. Pie charts will be coming up on April 28 and the bar charts can be completed after that.
NOTE: Third quarter grades reflect two actual graded assignments instead of a participation grade. These were the Owl Food Web in Google Drawing and the Column Chart.
I have asked Mrs. Smith to post a homework reminder on the 4th grade page that anyone who has not submitted their column chart (assignment 006-4) should complete it at home. Most students did finish but a few need to add the finishing touches. There is a step by step checklist for the process. Today I reviewed the names of all parts of the chart such as the x-axis or horizontal axis, the sheet tabs, etc. There are also sample charts available for students to view. Two problems we encounter are students just moving ahead and formatting the chart without checking the steps on the list, and also not stopping to look when I demonstrate something at the board. Some just want to keep doing what they are doing and do not look up and watch the demo, then as soon as the demo is completed, ask for an explanation of how to do it. Frustrating!
Some students have begun working on the bar chart (007-4) with many similarities to the directions for the column chart. This chart will not need to be completed until April 14.
Fourth grade has begun creating charts to learn how to convert data in a spreadsheet into a visual representation. The first chart being created is a column chart. Each student is assigned a regional group of states and then will chart a particular statistic for that region (for example, the 2015 population estimate for the New England states. In Google Classroom students have their assignments, a checklist for each step of the chart completion, and sample data and sample charts to serve as a guide. They have been introduced to the census data found on the US Census site. By the time class is over on March 31 the column chart should be submitted. (There is no class on March 24 because of the Easter holiday.) Students have been encouraged to work on this at home as well.
In science fourth graders have been working on an owl pellet investigation. Mrs. Smith wanted them to construct the corresponding food web, so the students completed that as 004-4 in Google Classroom. I supplied them with a sample food web for a lion as a guide to the finished product. The web was constructed in a Google slide, sized to a square. There was also a checklist of steps to highlight as they were completed. The finished slide was downloaded as a PNG image file and that image was placed into the lab report as well as submit in Google classroom.
Several students have not yet completed 004-4 and should catch up at home because Mrs. Smith is waiting to see the food web image at the bottom of the lab report. There should be 3 items being submitted in Google Classroom: the checklist, the slide containing the food web, and the PNG image of the web which must be added as a file attachment. The attachment steps were demonstrated in class.
Today we have finished up the loose ends for our Hour of Code blog post. After pasting in the paragraph developed in assignment 002-4 in Google Classroom, we added some information about the image that had previously been inserted and learned how to turn text into a hyperlink in the post. Students then used the checklist for 003-4 to do a careful review of everything they had done to complete the post, including sending it for publication. Click here for a copy of the checklist used to make sure the post was ready for publishing. For anyone who was absent and needed to do some catching up, the official assignment deadline is listed as February 18. Most of the students said they were finished but there are actually only 17 published posts. That seems to indicate that some never did the last step of submitting the post for publication. They will still be able to do that next Thursday before the assignment is late but everything is also accessible from home.
I have approved all submitted posts and they are available for comments. Please check out their posts. They love to receive comments. Below I have embedded the Google Classroom calendar that students see when they sign in. It can help you be aware of upcoming assignments. Students are split into an A group and a B group but the due dates are the same for each group.
We are in the midst of developing the story of our Hour of Code experience. Last week students used the snipping tool to take a screenshot of an activity space or block of code from their coding experience. We inserted that image into a blog post and today spent time brainstorming some ideas to write about, focusing on the 5 W's. Next week they will take the brainstorming list and develop their own paragraph using a story organizer. We also spent a little time on keyboarding skills and will re-visit keyboarding more often in the third quarter. The third quarter is also when students will begin to receive a grade for assignments completed in technology class. Students will also be introduced to the workings of Google Classroom in quarter 3.