Grade 8 / 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 8th grade: Type 30 wpm / 95%, by touch. (This is what most high schools expect for entering 9th grade.)



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

Creating a Powerpoint presentation on first aid to show in health class / Learning how to determine validity of web sites. / Discussion about online safety

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, and often come to the lab during study halls to do extra work on it. The first skills they learn are how to add/delete/rearrange slides, 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. Another neat feature is to make the title in “word art” instead of plain text.

But 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!

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, I handed the major responsibility of teaching online literacy to Mrs. Zehr. She did this as part of language/library class. I reinforced what was taught during computer classes. This is something I always talk about when students search on the Internet, though, no matter what grade level. Students need to hear it over and over to make it a part of their Internet use.

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, several students created a Powerpoint presentation with student interviews which I showed.


2010-11 Qtr 4

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

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, and often come to the lab during study halls to do extra work on it. The first skills they learn are how to add/delete/rearrange slides, 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. Another neat feature is to make the title in “word art” instead of plain text.

But 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. I created a wiki and had students upload them there as an easy access for presenting and so parents could also view them. Zach W. made the home page:
http://kraybillhealthppts.wikispaces.com/home

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.

This year, I redid a PowerPoint used to teach the topic, as well as worksheets, practice test, and actual test, and uploaded them to Google Apps. This way, teachers can update them as needed. I also recreated the test as a multiple choice in Proprofs Quizmaker. This way, students could take the test from the computer and it would be scored and the date presented for me automatically!

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. You can see all of them on the wiki I created. Students embedded their Web 2.0 projects on pages there. http://www.bewiseonline.wikispaces.com
  • Stixy Brainstorming:Students used this tool to brainstorm rules they already knew about Internet use.http://bewiseonline.wikispaces.com/Our+Rules
  • Wordle Word Clouds: After watching some videos and discussing how quickly information travels and how you can't get it back, students created word clouds to show phrases and words illustrating this aspect. Click on a student's page to see their wordle.
  • Bubbl.us Mind-Mapping: As we continued with more topics (Links to the topics and videos are on the wiki.), I had students place/organize the main ideas in an online concept map with Bubbl.us. They embedded it on their wiki page for quick reference and to learn from each other.
  • Prezi Presentations: The culminating project was to focus on one aspect of Online Safety and create a Prezi. Students had worked with Prezi in science class with Mrs. Wolgemuth, and were familiar with using the tool. I allowed them to take pictures using the camera in the mac to add to their shows. They had a lot of fun with that! Then they embedded them into their wiki page. Do take a look!

Google Apps: I guided students in getting into their accounts. (I created Google Apps Education accounts for all students in grades 4-12 in the LMS system.) Mrs. Bucher used it with the students so they could create/edit/share documents online. This makes it easier for students to continue writing on a document from home, allows teachers to provide fast, continual feedback throughout the writing process, and hopefully ends up in higher quality writing projects from students.








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 8th grade: Type 30 wpm / 95%, by touch. (This is what most high schools expect for entering 9th grade.)



SKILLS: Integrating Spreadsheet (creating graphs) with Health

Creating a graph with a spreadsheet to compare the fats and sugars in foods

Creating bar/pie/line graphs with a spreadsheet: Students were learning about nutrition in foods in health class. 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.

I used AppleWorks for the graphs because it is less complex than Excel and is useful in understanding terms like: series, legend, labeling data, axes, step size, range of data. We also practiced using text wrap for some of the cells and formatted the numbers and column fill colors, and resized the columns and rows. Since Excel is the standard spreadsheet, I had students copy their data and paste it into an Excel spreadsheet. We then proceded to create a graph(chart) and make modifications. Because the 8th graders have classes on Mondays and Fridays, and we missed so many last quarter, we are now finishing up the unit with a quick line graph. We did discuss the difference and how to know which kind of graph you need, back when students were working on their science fair projects.

Next, we will be working with PowerPoint, creating First Aid presentations for health class.

I normally teach "online literacy" at this time, but Mrs. Zehr is going to use my information to teach it this year. That will free up more time for me to do other things with 8th grade. 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 (Wikis) with Social Studies; Integrating Spreadsheet (creating graphs) with Health

Using Wikis to share information; Practicing being safe online and thinking about what you post; Creating a graph with a spreadsheet to compare the fats and sugars in foods

Adding images, formatting text on a wiki: As you know, the Internet has become more of an “interactive” tool. Rather than only using it passively to find information, the public is contributing to it themselves through blogging, social networking sites like facebook, youtube, etc. Technology educators realize the value of making educational use of these “web 2.0” tools with our students. We also see it as an opportunity to teach students how to use the Internet safely, responsibly, and with discernment and kindness.

One valuable web 2.0 tool is the “wiki”. Wikis are a type of “website” you create online with no additional software. You can add pages and post pictures, video, text, and links. There is also a discussion feature to each page. The unique thing about wikis is that they can be changed or added to by anyone given permission by the author of the wiki. This makes it perfect for collaboration. Students can add to the pages and discuss topics from their computers at school or at home. I have been using wikis for several years now, and have helped some of our Kraybill teachers use it. This year, I introduced them to other teachers in our LMS system. Many are using wikis to communicate with parents, showcase what their students have done, and collaborate with others.

This quarter, after students wrote their NYC field trip advice for next year’s class, we began working on the NYC Field Trip wiki I created and used last year. Each student created a page on the wiki. They were to write about some part of the trip, giving detail, making it more personal, and providing something that others would want to read - not just a list of places they visited and general statements about it being a “fun trip”. They were also to post at least 2 pictures from either the Internet or ones that they took themselves. I directed them to a public domain web site where photos are available for use and discussed copyright issues. Last, they were to post positive comments to at least 2 other students. From the way the students formatted and arranged their text and images, each page looks unique. It’s fun to read the interesting accounts, which will provide great background for next year’s students as they prepare for the trip.

Through the site, wikispaces.com, anyone can create a wiki for free. I introduced wikis to my husband, who uses it with his Rotary group to discuss items, post useful information, edit events on their calendar. You can pay for the wiki, which will give added benefits like “privacy” and no ads. However, teachers get those benefits for free. As the author, I can also see any changes or deletions to any page, and see who has made those changes. This helps to hold students accountable. I can delete users and decide if I want the site to be public or private and who can add to the site or view it only. I will eventually make the site public so that others can view it. At that time, I will not allow any more changes. To see it now, you will need your child to log in for you with their username and password. The address is: http://www.nycfieldtrip.wikispaces.com.

Internet Safety: Creating wikis gave opportunity for lessons on Internet Use and Safety. I used the Netsmartz.org website and videos to discuss cyberbullying, posting personal information and photos, myspace, passwords, etc. Through students using wikis and later, blogging, I hope to give them practice in thinking about what they post before they post it, and considering the effects that their postings may have later. In preparation for researching for the Science Fair projects, we also had some lessons on searching and determining purpose and validity in websites.

Creating bar/pie/line graphs with a spreadsheet: We have begun a project to graph fats and sugars in similar foods for Health class. This will lead to lessons on creating graphs in Excel, which will help students with their Science Fair graphs.



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