Grade 8 / Quarter 1 / Quarter 2 / Quarter 3 / Quarter 4


Class: 40 minutes / once a week. (We only do UltraKey to check scores periodically.)
Keyboarding Goal for end of 8th grade: Finish UltraKey. Type 30 wpm / 95%, by touch.
Student keyboarding progress printouts from the UltraKey program will be sent home each quarter for middle school students.

PROJECTS FROM PAST YEARS

































Quarter 1


KEYBOARDING: There will be no student keyboarding progress reports for 8th graders first quarter. Reports will be sent home at the end of second, third, and fourth quarters. Since students spend 2 periods a week typing in their writer's workshop language classes, we can spend most of our computer classes on learning other skills and working on projects.

SKILLS:
Creating and formatting Tables in Word; Creating bar graphs in Excel; Reviewing Google Docs and Integrating the Internet and Google Maps as we prepare for the NYC field trip

Word Processing / Setting Tabs Review: We began the year by reviewing how to create a heading on a word processing document by setting tab markers in Word. Students also reviewed using the 1st line indent marker to indent paragraphs. Then we transferred that knowledge to Google Apps. This prepared them for writing their essays in writer's workshop language classes.

Tables: Students learned how to create a table in Word as they made their weekly schedules. They learned how to fill in cells, split them, merge them, and add or delete rows and columns.

Bar Graphs: We started a unit we will pick up after NY - Using Excel to create bar graphs to analyze nutritional data for health class.

Using the NYC theme to try technology: Getting ready for the field trip to NYC provides a great opportunity to use the Internet and technology skills. I have prepared an extensive web site on the field trip and the places students visit. http://kraybill8thgrfieldtrip.roxer.com/ I have been visiting NY for about two weeks each year for the past 14 years. My son works in Manhattan and lives in Brooklyn, so I still visit frequently. As we go through my links, students are made aware of the variety of helpful information available on the Internet for planning trips, whether it's news articles, informative videos, historical information, interactive sites, live web cams, and maps. Students are using tools such as Google Maps, Google's My Maps, and wikis as we learn and share about the trip.


Google My Maps: Students are using this tool to create a customized walking map of the area. They are adding markers with labels and information to indicate landmarks to visit, along with lines to show the routes. Here are some examples of past customized "My Maps" that students made to map out our trip: Annika, Maddie,

Roxer web site: My web site was created using this free website tool.

Wikispaces: This year's 8th grade can learn about the trip from what last year's 8th grade shared on the NY wiki.



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Quarter 2

nutrition label.jpg
KEYBOARDING: Student keyboarding progress reports have been sent home with the student 1/30 or 1/31. Since students spend time weekly typing in their writer's workshop language classes, we can spend most of our computer classes on learning other skills and working on projects. The goal for the end of 8th grade is to type 30 wpm / 95% by touch.

SKILLS: Working with spreadsheets (Excel); Creating/formatting charts in Excel to prepare for the Science Fair and to compare fats & sugars for a project in Health class, which will also help them evaluate data in their Science Fair projects.

NY Wiki / Google Maps: Students completed their Google Maps (My Maps) for the NY Trip. They added placemarks and lines, as well as descriptions to show the route we took during our trip and highlight the sights and landmarks they visited. The maps were embedded in the NYC wiki.

Excel Spreadsheet / Charts: Mr. Rush and I work together to teach student about understanding nutrition by comparing the fats and sugars in five foods that they choose. After Mr. Rush discusses nutrition with them in Health class, I work on creating charts, comparing the data, and writing their conclusions in a narrative. As we worked in Excel, I reviewed with them how to enter and format data, how to format cells, columns, rows (text wrap). (We work on spreadsheets in 4th grade.) Then we created and formatted a quick survey of favorite ice cream flavors. We are using a new version of Excel since the last time we made charts and they most likely have a different version at home. However, students need to understand which terms and procedures are standard with any program or version, so they can work within multiple versions. I emphasized that the beauty of spreadsheets is that they can create a chart ahead of time with fake data and then enter the data after an experiment and print it off. No need to wait until the last minute if they are doing something for a project, like a Science Fair! This is a fun and important project, as students discover that many foods low in fat are high in sugar and vice versa. This project, including the computer aspect, will be graded for health class.


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Quarter 3


nutrition label.jpg

KEYBOARDING: Student keyboarding progress reports have been sent home with the student 1/30 or 1/31. Since students spend time weekly typing in their writer's workshop language classes, we can spend most of our computer classes on learning other skills and working on projects. The goal for the end of 8th grade is to type 30 wpm / 95% by touch.

SKILLS: Integrating Excel with Health class

Excel Spreadsheet / Charts: We spent the 3rd quarter finishing the Nutricion graphs/charts we were working on. Mr. Rush and I work together to help students understand nutrition by comparing the fats and sugars in five foods that they choose. After Mr. Rush discusses nutrition with them in Health class, I work on creating charts, comparing the data, and writing their conclusions in a narrative. As we worked in Excel, I reviewed with them how to enter and format data, how to format cells, columns, rows (text wrap / merging cells). (We work on spreadsheets in 4th grade.) Then we create and format a quick survey of favorite ice cream flavors. I teach them how to add details to the charts (value labels, changing the series which changes the legend and what is graphed, adding axis titles, colors, shading, etc. I emphasized that the beauty of spreadsheets is that they can create a chart ahead of time with fake data and then enter the data after an experiment and print it off. No need to wait until the last minute if they are doing something for a project! I then go over how to analyze their data. Why is one food high in fat or sugar? Students must examine the ingredients. Are the nuts or fruits causing the rise? Which food is the healthiest overall? This is a fun and important project, as students discover that many foods low in fat are high in sugar and vice versa. This project, including the computer aspect, will be graded for health class.

Line Charts: We will do a quick lesson on line graphs. Then we will start working on a First Aid PowerPoint for Health class.


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Quarter 4
SKILLS: Integrating Powerpoint with health class, Formulas in Excel

PowerPoint (First Aid presentations) - In 8th grade, Mr. Rush and I have students learn how to use PowerPoint while applying it to health class. Each student creates a presentation on a first aid topic. The chapter on first aid in the health book is divided into small sections, and each student chooses a topic such as: broken bones, insect bites, objects in the eye, fainting, severe bleeding, etc. Since first aid requires “steps’ of things to do and includes illustrations or diagrams, it is a perfect fit for PowerPoint.

Students always love this project. The first skills they learn are how to add/delete/rearrange slides, change the layout, and how to add/format text boxes and images. Students gather their information and images, placing them into the PowerPoint. Next, they see how to add a background and run the show. Then we get a bit fancier by adding transitions between the slides, and some quick animation so bullets and boxes can go onto the page, even with sounds.

Usually, we can get more complex with this project, especially if we are using PowerPoint. However, this year we were strapped for time, so we used Google Presentation for the project. Unfortunately, we can't add audio and our animations are somewhat limited. I emphasized the simplicity of Powerpoint presentations in high school and how the trend is toward less text, more images, and talking about your information rather than having it on the screen where the audience would just read it themselves. Students shared their presentations with Mr. Rush to be presented and graded.

The project using PowerPoint in past years: The fun part is when they add custom animations, record their voices, and get sounds off the Internet. They often put images into AppleWorks “paint” to modify the images to get exactly what they want. I show students how to download and insert audio from findsounds.com. Higher order thinking comes into play now, because if they get the right images and use the custom animation creatively, they can create great animations like: someone putting a blanket on a person, a bee landing on an arm and the person yelling, an ambulance arriving to pick up a person, etc. Since students have had good background in work with graphics and audio, I’m sure they will create more advanced and creative PowerPoint presentations in high school! Students present their PowerPoints during Health Class. Last year, I created a wiki and had students upload them there as an easy access for presenting and so parents could also view them. http://kraybillhealthppts.wikispaces.com/home. This year, we did not have time to upload them.

Formulas in Excel: Excel is not just for creating blocks of text or charts/graphs. It is also used for calculations. I wanted to introduce the 8th graders some basic calculations in Excel in the short amount of time we had left this quarter. Students learned how to add, multiply columns of numbers. They learned how to format the numbers as currency and quickly conduct the same calculations in adjacent columns of numbers. Last, we did some concatenating to combine first names in one column and last names in another column into one column. - And we ended the lessons with a more complex command, similar to programming, where students were able to put the first initial from the first cell and add a space and combine it with the last name: Bob Jones = B Jones. This was done with a left, 1 command to make the B - and a "string" " " to provide the space between B and Jones. On the last day, Caleb demonstrated the complex video game he created with Scratch and students spent some time playing it. Then he led them in a lesson where they created part of the game themselves.

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PROJECTS FROM PAST YEARS


Quarter 2

(2011-12)
SKILLS: Integrating Web 2.0 tools with Social Studies: Wikis, Skype, Google Docs (Word Processing, PowerPoint), Collaborating with students from another school, Google MyMaps, Mindmeister Concept Mapping Tool.

Creating pages on a wiki, adding/formatting text and inserting images with captions; Embedding a Google MyMaps into a wiki; Using the discussion feature on a wiki to respond positively to work published by others.
The 8th graders got a chance to share their experiences and highlights of the NYC trip with others with the help of a wiki. Students not only added pictures they found from my links on the Internet, but also pictures they had taken themselves during the trip. In school, students are usually writing for the teacher. The Internet allows us to easily write for a wider audience and even receive feedback from those who read what we write. The 8th graders are creating these pages to tell next year's 8th graders about the trip. That makes what they're writing even more relevant. They have an "authentic" audience. In the meantime, they are required to read one person's page and respond positively about it using the wiki's discussion feature on each page. Students embedded their Google MyMaps maps they created on their wiki page. You can view the placemarks they added, their descriptions of the places they put on the map, and see the path we took which was drawn as a line on the map. Google MyMaps is a bit "finiky", so I only required them to place a few markers on the map, and draw a line as far as it would go before starting to drive them crazy.

I will use these Internet experiences of posting pictures students took, writing about your experiences, and responding to someone to start talking about Internet etiquette, safety, and being careful about what you post on the Internet. I want to give the students opportunities to use these tools properly and get them thinking about how they can be smart when using them on their own.

Skyping and creating a PowerPoint with students from Brooklyn!
The 8th graders from Brooklyn that we have been Skyping with are also divided into 2 sections. One section is a journalism class who wrote about our experience in their middle school newspaper! The teacher from the other section and I decided to have our students create a PowerPoint together using Google Docs. First, both of our schools brainstormed possible topics to compare using Mindmeister. Their students had to compare urban and rural life to meet one of their standards, so they were anxious to learn about farming and the Amish and compare our cultures and environments. Students used Google Docs to ask each other questions for the project. There were times that our classes could be in session at the same time. It was then that students Skyped with their partner group without teachers being in charge, taking control of their learning and communication. Teachers who stopped in the lab to pick up paper from the printer and saw what was happening, stopped for awhile to watch the interaction between the students. Some of them joined in on the conversations! This was an awesome experience for all of us!

You can view their NYC wiki pages and collaborative PowerPoints by clicking here.

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Quarter 3

(2011-12)
SKILLS: Integrating creating charts in Excel with health class, Using Google Forms to embed a survey on a wiki and then using the COUNTIF formula to create a graph which is also embedded in a wiki. Viewers to the wiki can enter their vote, refresh the screen, and see the bar graph updated!

Graphs/Charts in Excel (bar/line) to Analyze Fats/Sugars in Food: Mr. Rush has his 8th graders compare fats and sugars in a group of similar foods when talking about nutrition in health class. Graphing this data and evaluating it is the perfect preparation for the students' science fair projects. Years ago, students were to visit a grocery store and find 4-5 similar products and graph the fats and sugars in both and then analyze their data and write their conclusions. Students would have a week or two to gather their data. Now we can just get on the Internet and find the nutritional content of foods immediately! How useful! This was a valuable project because students were using research methods with the Internet, which helped them with researching for their science fair projects. The results were relevant to them, because they were allowed to choose the foods they ate and were interested in. Creating and formatting graphs tied in with their science fair projects as well. Analyzing data and drawing conclusions was a step above what they had done in earlier grades. This involved higher level thinking, as I had them look closely at the ingredients and differences in the foods and figure out why one was higher or lower in fat or sugar. (Fruit has more sugar, less fat. Nuts have less sugar, more fat.) Some results were not what we had expected, but often made sense when we thought about it.

Students set up their information in an Excel spreadsheet, using text wrap for some of the cells, formatting the text and numbers, and resizing the columns and rows. After highlighting the data and clicking on "insert chart", we reviewed terms like series, legend, labeling data, axes, step size, range of data, as students formatted their bar graphs. We finished the unit by creating a quick line graph. We discussed the difference and how to know which kind of graph you need. Students receive a grade in Health class for this project.

Using Google Docs Forms to Create a Survey Embedded on a Wiki; Using the COUNTIF Formula in Google Spreadsheet to Count Data Used to Create a Bar Graph Which Is Then Embeded in a Wiki!
The section, 8A, finished their graphs a bit earlier, so I did a more advanced activity with them. Students have fun taking polls and they had graphed things like "What is your favorite sport" in 4th grade. I directed them to a site with debate topics and links to resources defending both sides. This way, they could ask a more "sophisticated" opinion. I had them post their question along with a little supporting evidence on both sides. Google Docs includes a "form" document to use to ask questions. This form can also be linked or embedded. Students wrote their opinion questions in the form and embedded it on a wiki page. That way, people could go to their page and answer the question. Of course students loved doing that! In Google Docs, when the answers (data) come in, they "arrive" in a Google spreadsheet. Taking this a step further and using the skill they had just finished (creating a graph/chart), I had them create a grid which could create a bar graph of the votes. The problem is, how to you update a graph as new votes are entered and if you have different choices appearing in one column? To do that, I showed students how to write a "COUNTIF" formula which said, if "answer X" appears in a column B, count it; and in another cell, they wrote a formula that if "answer Y" appears in column B, count it. That way, the spreadsheet counts all the "X" answers in a column or all the "Y" answers in a column and enters that total in the assigned cell. Once the counted totals appeared in the correct cells, students could click and drag over the cells and create a graph. That graph could then be embedded back in the wiki. AND....Someone can go onto their page, vote their opinion, refresh the screen, and see the bar graph change to reflect the new vote! HOW COOL! Try it out!
http://kraybill8thgradesurvey.wikispaces.com/

Online Literacy / Online Safety / Digital Citizenship
Mrs. Wolgemuth will be teaching Online Literacy (Validity of sites, searching techniques) this month. All 8th graders at LMS will be assessed at the end of the month in this area.

We have recently reviewed out Acceptable Use Policy for Internet with students and will do a unit on Online Safety / Digital Citizenship. Please check out my page of resources for parents on this wiki.

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Quarter 4

(2011-12)
SKILLS: Integrating Powerpoint with health class / System-wide 8th grade online literacy assessment / Online safety

Online Assessment - All eighth graders in the Lancaster Mennonite School District take a 15 question test using specific web sites, including one related to their social studies unit. This online literacy test helps to tell if our students can do the following: 1) find information on a web site by using its links, 2) determine a web sites’ validity from either the URL (web address), publisher or the content, 3) determine a web site’s purpose (to inform, sell, persuade, or entertain), 4) identify the publisher of a site, 5) identify the extension of a web address and what that implies. Our students continually perform very well on this assessment each year. This year, Mrs. Wolgemuth took the major responsibility of teaching online literacy, since she requires students to do research related to their science fair projects. I reinforce what she teaches during computer classes. This is something I always talk about when students search on the Internet, though, no matter what grade level. System-wide, Language Arts teachers have been encouraged to reinforce these skills in their classes as well. Students need to hear it over and over to make it a part of their Internet use.

Students took the test online with Proprofs Quizmaker. This way, students can see their scores immediately and the results can easily be analyzed for system needs.

Online Safety - In computer classes, whenever we use the Internet, I talk about safety: ways to avoid things that you don't want to see when searching, not giving out personal information, not communicating with strangers, keeping facebook accounts private, not "friending" people you don't know, not posting images or saying something that would embarrass you or the other person, not saying something online about or to someone that is hurtful to them, realizing that anything you post online is permanent and can be duplicated and passed to others and you can't get it back. In 8th grade, especially, I take more time on this topic, using effective videos from NetSmartz.org to get the point across and aide in discussions. This year, I used some Web 2.0 tools to drive home the points. Students first brainstormed what they felt were rules to follow when you are online. As we watched the videos and discussed them, students were to add their thoughts to a Google Doc. When we were finished, they pasted their phrases into a Wordle (wordle.net) to create a word cloud where words that appear more often show up larger and students can vary the font/color. Everyone got to print theirs off and we posted them around the middle school. Some had time to create a screen shot of the Wordle and upload it to a wiki page for others to see.

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SKILLS: Integrating creating charts in Excel with health class, Using Google Forms to embed a survey on a wiki and then using the COUNTIF formula to create a graph which is also embedded in a wiki. Viewers to the wiki can enter their vote, refresh the screen, and see the bar graph updated!

Graphs/Charts in Excel (bar/line) to Analyze Fats/Sugars in Food: Mr. Rush has his 8th graders compare fats and sugars in a group of similar foods when talking about nutrition in health class. Graphing this data and evaluating it is the perfect preparation for the students' science fair projects. Years ago, students were to visit a grocery store and find 4-5 similar products and graph the fats and sugars in both and then analyze their data and write their conclusions. Students would have a week or two to gather their data. Now we can just get on the Internet and find the nutritional content of foods immediately! How useful! This was a valuable project because students were using research methods with the Internet, which helped them with researching for their science fair projects. The results were relevant to them, because they were allowed to choose the foods they ate and were interested in. Creating and formatting graphs tied in with their science fair projects as well. Analyzing data and drawing conclusions was a step above what they had done in earlier grades. This involved higher level thinking, as I had them look closely at the ingredients and differences in the foods and figure out why one was higher or lower in fat or sugar. (Fruit has more sugar, less fat. Nuts have less sugar, more fat.) Some results were not what we had expected, but often made sense when we thought about it.

Students set up their information in an Excel spreadsheet, using text wrap for some of the cells, formatting the text and numbers, and resizing the columns and rows. After highlighting the data and clicking on "insert chart", we reviewed terms like series, legend, labeling data, axes, step size, range of data, as students formatted their bar graphs. We finished the unit by creating a quick line graph. We discussed the difference and how to know which kind of graph you need. Students receive a grade in Health class for this project.

Using Google Docs Forms to Create a Survey Embedded on a Wiki; Using the COUNTIF Formula in Google Spreadsheet to Count Data Used to Create a Bar Graph Which Is Then Embeded in a Wiki!
The section, 8A, finished their graphs a bit earlier, so I did a more advanced activity with them. First, I taught simple formulas in Excel. Excel can be used for more than creating charts. Students always have fun taking polls and they had graphed things like "What is your favorite sport" in earlier grades. In this activity, I combine taking polls, graphing, and formulas in a more complex way. Each student was given a debate topic for which they would present both sides. Google Docs includes a "form" document to use to ask questions. This form can also be linked or embedded. Students wrote their opinion questions in the form and embedded it on a wiki page. That way, people could go to their page and answer the question. Of course students loved doing that! In Google Docs, when the answers (data) come in, they "arrive" in a Google spreadsheet. Taking this a step further and using the skill they had just finished (creating a graph/chart), students will create a grid which could create a bar graph of the votes. The problem is, how to you update a graph as new votes are entered and if you have different choices appearing in one column? To do that, I will show them how to write a "COUNTIF" formula to say, if "answer X" appears in a column B, count it; and in another cell, they will write a formula that if "answer Y" appears in column B, count it. That way, the spreadsheet counts all the "X" answers in a column or all the "Y" answers in a column and enters that total in the assigned cell. Once the counted totals appear in the correct cells, students can click and drag over the cells and create a graph. That graph can then be embedded back in the wiki. AND....Someone can go onto their page, vote their opinion, refresh the screen, and see the bar graph change to reflect the new vote! HOW COOL!

NYC Wiki - Click HERE to see this year's 8th graders' NYC Wiki! I like to introduce the NYC field trip by letting students read what last year's group had to say. We took some time for students to reflect on the trip this year and write about what they saw, did, and thought. They put this on a new wiki. Thanks to Kari for designing the wiki home page and for adding everyone's advice to the "advice" Google Doc for next year. Students made any image they added a hyperlink to link to the website where they got it. Since our trip was postponed this year, I did not get a chance to do some of the extra things I normally do with the wiki or that I had planned to do this year. Kari loves working on wikis and I had her create a customized Google Map marking where we went on the trip. (I normally have each student do this and embed it on their wiki page. You can see Kari's page HERE.