Grade 6 / Quarter 2 / Quarter 3 / Quarter 4


Quarter 4


Class = 40 minutes / once a week. (5 minutes keyboarding optional / 35 minutes computer skills)
Writer's Workshop is held in the lab for a double period each week.
Keyboarding Goal for end of 6th grade: Type 20 wpm / 95%, by touch.



SKILLS: Integrating science with creating an interactive multimedia presentation

Using the program, MediaBlender, to present information about severe weather

MediaBlender interactive presentation on severe weather: Students had researched severe weather in science class earlier in the year. This topic also lends itself well to multimedia. Students learned how to create/rearrange pages, add images, backgrounds, text, sound, video, record their own voice, add page transitions, add buttons to cause an action, I guided them in gathering images and audio from the Internet to use in their projects. MediaBlender is used in schools because it is geared to students, rather than to professionals, as with PowerPoint. Students were able to create text boxes that scrolled manually or automatically. They created buttons to make images or text appear or disappear. They animated text and images to move in a path on the screen. They created buttons to play a sound or cause some other action to happen: Ex: a tornado moving around the page as the sound played and the student's voice was heard describing how a tornado is formed.

Students love this program, and it's a great alternative to a written report or poster. :-)









Quarter 3


Class = 40 minutes / once a week. (5 minutes keyboarding optional / 35 minutes computer skills)
Writer's Workshop is held in the lab for a double period each week.
Keyboarding Goal for end of 6th grade: Type 20 wpm / 95%, by touch.



SKILLS: Integrating writing formulas in an Excel Spreadsheet with Math; Using the outline feature of a program

Writing formulas in a spreadsheet to automatically add, multiply, and solve problems

Formulas to do Math: We started this project last quarter and just finished it. I know some of the problem is due to the fact that the class is on a Friday, and we have missed many Fridays. However, I suppose the project was a bit more complex and required more thinking - which is good! The problem Miss Swartley gave was:

Find the dimensions of a sheet cake and the diameter of a round cake if the total cost of frosting the top cannot exceed $8.00 and the frosting costs $0.03 per square inch.

To prepare for the cake problem, we did some smaller problems where students had to write formulas for finding the cost of M&M's at $.03 or $.05 an M&M. We also wrote formulas for finding the area of a rectangle and a circle. Students were to create the headings Miss Swartley had written on her assignment sheet, and write the formulas to solve the problem.

Some students got very close to the $8.00 total! It was easy to keep trying different combinations, because having the formulas written made the results appear automatically! In this project, students also learned:
  • How to write a number squared with the 2 raised higher than the number
  • How to write a number squared (to the second power) in a formula: ^2
  • How to put borders on cells in a spreadsheet (and how to remove them).
  • How to delete contents of cells in Excel
  • How to delete rows to move your information up higher on the page
  • How to select an area to print in Excel
  • How to write a formula in a cell so you can change the numbers you're adding, etc., rather than just figure out the answer and write it in the cell.

Creating an outline of your family or pets using the computer's automatic outline feature

We are taking a few weeks now to write an outline in AppleWorks. Students will learn how to use the "move left/right" commands and "new topic left/right" to create and modify their outlines. Then we will try it in Word. (The boys have started this, but the girls won't start until after Easter.)

I will be talking about online safety this quarter. Please check out my page of resources for parents on this wiki.




Quarter 2


SKILLS: Integrating web 2.0 tools (Blabberize) with Literature; Integrating spreadsheet (writing formulas) with Math

Using Blabberize to make the main character from a book speak about the conflict in the book

Paint tools / Saving images from the Internet: Students searched for a picture of either their main character (or someone that looked like their main character) on the Internet and saved it to their desktop. Some students chose to "draw/paint" their own character or modify another picture using the paint tools in AppleWorks Paint. Then they selected the image and saved it as a .jpg. We took this time to talk about different file formats like .doc for Word documents, .jpg for images (usually photos) and .gif for images that were usually clipart.

Using Blabberize to make the character talk: Once students got into Blabberize, they browsed to their saved image, uploaded it, and then adjusted the "blabberize mouth area" to surround the actual mouth. When that looked right, students recorded their voices as if they were the character talking about their conflict in the book. Once students were satisfied, they "saved" the character and a window appeared with their character's "code". That code needed to be copied and then placed in a wiki. The only way someone can see the character "talk" is to see it on the Internet.

Putting the character on a wiki: Mr. Rush created a wiki for his Literacture class so students could post their characters. Each made a page on the wiki, chose the widget icon, and pasted in their "code". And the characters appeared! It was so exciting to click on each one and listed and watch it speak! Some were eerily accurate with the way the mouth moved and some were comical. I found it a bit difficult to understand what some characters were saying, so I had students type or paste in the text from the assignment for people to read as well. To finish it off, students made a nice title and found a picture of their book cover to add to the page.
Click here to see the wiki!

Writing formulas in a spreadsheet to automatically add, multiply, and solve problems

Formulas to do Math: Students first used formulas in 5th grade to automatically add lists of numbers in the poem "Hungry Mungry". Writing formulas is also addressed in the 6th grader's math curriculum. Miss Swartley reviewed the procedure and developed a problem where students need to find the dimensions of a sheet cake and the diameter of a round cake if the total cost of frosting the top cannot exceed $8.00 and the frosting costs $0.03 per square inch. To prepare for the cake problem, we are spending a few weeks doing smaller problems involving multiplying and finding area by writing formulas in a spreadsheet. Last year we wrote our formulas in AppleWorks. This year, we are using Excel, and discovering that they work the same way!



KEYBOARDING:

New students: Most Kraybill students have completed UltraKey in third/fourth grade, so I don't spend much time in UltraKey during computer classes in middle school. Since students type in weekly Writer's Workshop classes, it is important for them to have correct keyboarding skills. If students are behind or new, I encourage them to work through the program during a study hall, but working only once a week is not the best way to get through the program. Experts recommend 3-4 twenty minute sessions per week to learn keyboarding. Therefore, if a student is new to keyboarding and cannot type by touch (without looking down), I strongly suggest that you purchase the UltraKey program and work through the program at home.

You may send in a request for UltraKey to the homeroom teacher, the office, or myself and a check for $19.95 payable to "Kraybill School". The program works on a mac or PC. UltraKey divides the letters into nine levels or lessons & tests. Students are allowed to move onto the next level of letters after passing a test twice with 10 wpm / 95 %. Students can tape one edge of a piece of paper to the top of the keyboard so it covers their hands during the tests, to help them type "by touch".

Free online games to practice keyboarding: http://freetypinggame.net/play.asp