Grade 4 / Quarter 2 / Quarter 3 / Quarter 4

Quarter 4

Class = 40 minutes / once a week. (20 minutes keyboarding / 20 minutes computer skills)
Keyboarding Goal for end of 4th grade: Finish UltraKey. Type 12-14 wpm / 95%, by touch.
  • Keyboarding progress was sent home with report cards as a printout from the UltraKey program.
  • Students who have completed UltraKey have been typing their journals during typing time.

SKILLS: Integrating spreadsheet skills with math class / Integrating Google Docs for gathering data and wikis for publishing data and spreadsheet formulas for calculating data with math class / Integrating Garageband for recording audio and wikis for sharing information with language class.

Creating a "Bar Graph" in AppleWorks: Basic computer application skills that students need to know are: word processing, graphics, multimedia presentation, spreadsheet, database. We did some introductory work with spreadsheet this quarter. Students learned how to enter and format data in a spreadsheet. They learned how to resize columns and rows. They discovered that text is left justified by default, but numbers are right justified. They learned how to make everything centered if they wanted and how to use text wrap so when you entered a lot of text, it would go to the next line instead of stretching the column wider. To see how easily you could make a graph (chart) using a computer, we took a poll to see which flavor ice cream (choc, van, straw) students liked best. Students set up their headings and then entered the votes. Next, they selected the data and from the menu, chose: Options / Make chart. It was exciting to see the graph appear. It was even more exciting to see that if we changed one of the numbers in our votes, that the bar would automatically go up or down. - So much more efficient than erasing! Last, students learned how to format the graphs to make the strawberry bar be red, chocolate be brown, vanilla be white.

4S - Taking the graph idea a major leap further (google docs surveys / wikis): To help students become 21st century learners, we need to teach them how to use 21st century technology tools. I wasn't sure how this activity would go - but I was blown away by what the 4th graders were able to do! I created a general "user" account in google for the students to use so they wouldn't need to have individual email accounts. They worked in pairs. After each group signed in on the one account from their computers, I directed them to create a survey. They had already decided on a question and choices for their survey. Students also added a place for people to enter their names. When the survey was created, it generated a box of "code". I directed students to copy the code, which they would later paste onto their wiki page. Next, students got into Mrs. Smith's wiki with another general username/password and created their own page for their group. They wrote a title, and clicked on the widget tool and "embed code". They pasted the code from the google survey into that box and saved. What resulted was a survey that family and friends could take from the wiki. The results all automatically go to the students' google docs account in the survey document they created! Students can to log in see each person's name and each vote! How cool! This way, they can easily gather more data than they could by going around asking people what they would vote for.

If that wasn't cool enough!.....We were making graphs. How could I tie that into using 21st century tools? Well, the survey results showed up in the google docs as data in a spreadsheet. We knew that we could turn data in a spreadsheet into a graph. The next part was a bit complicated. On that very same google spreadsheet (which was Excel, but very similar to AppleWorks), students wrote their column and row headings as they had done for the ice cream graphs. The problem is, people will keep voting, so how do you make the changing data show up in the cells for your graph? Fortunately, there is a formula that tells the spreadsheet to count how many times a word shows up in which ever cells you choose. We typed in that formula and chose 50 or more cells in case 50 people took the survey. That put the numbers of votes automatically in the correct cells and as a new person took the survey, the number would change. Next, as earlier, the students highlighted the data and chose to "make a chart". Voila! A bar graph appeared!

But, what good was the bar graph, if only the students could see it? Wouldn't the people who took the survey want to see the results? Well,...there just happens to be a choice attached to the graph that says "embed chart". Wow! - So, students clicked on that and a box of code popped up. They copied that, got onto their wiki pages, and clicked on the widget tool and pasted the code in the box! - Awesome! Now, people go to the wiki page, vote, refresh the screen, and their vote is reflected on the bar graph that appears on the same page!!! What a fantastic time to be alive!!!! - And to think, these kids could barely keep their little fingers on the keyboard keys a little over a year ago! I love my job!

Click on the graph pages and take the student surveys if you haven't already!

4F - Using Garageband to record students reading their haikus: Students had written haikus in language class. When students create something, usually it's only the teacher and parents who get to see it. 21st century tools allow us to publish what we do so that more people can enjoy what we've created. Students added their own page on Mrs. Fisher's wiki and then typed their haikus, along with some of the other creative writings on the page. They learned how to format the text, changing color/font/size, and how to add a bar to divide their writings. To use technology to enhance their work, we decided to have them read their haikus and put the audio on the wiki page, too. Students used the podcasting feature of Garageband (a free program on the macs) to record themselves as they read their poems. (The macs also have built in microphones.) They played back the audio, and then exported the Garageband file as an audio file so that all computers could hear it, even if they didn't have Garageband. This gives students an opportunity to learn about different file formats. Last, they uploaded the audio file to the wiki page. Using wikis, audio recording programs, sharing on the web will soon become a natural option for these students as they learn and create in school.

Mrs. Fisher's wiki is: (Username: student4f/ Ask your child for the password. This wiki is currently set on "private".)

Quarter 3

Class = 40 minutes / once a week. (20 minutes keyboarding / 20 minutes computer skills)
Keyboarding Goal for end of 4th grade: Finish UltraKey. Type 12-14 wpm / 95%, by touch.
  • Keyboarding progress will be sent home with report cards as a printout from the UltraKey program.
  • Students who have completed UltraKey have been typing their journals during typing time.

SKILLS: Integrating graphics skills with math class.

Graphics use in AppleWorks/Microsoft Word: Using the draw tool bar to create shapes, and then manipulating/modifying them; Combining programs in one project.

Creating a "Shape Slide Show" in AppleWorks: Students pulled out a template I created in AppleWorks and saved on the server. As they have been learning how to use each shape on the tool bar, they have been creating the shapes on the pages of the slide show. When they are finished learning the shapes, they will have their slide show completed! AppleWorks is a nice simplified program for an introduction to graphic use. However, it does not have some shapes that Word has - parallelogram, rhombus, trapezoid, cube, cylinder. Therefore, we will create those shapes in Word and copy/paste them into our slide show. This gives opportunity for students to see how you can combine the features of several programs to accomplish what you want to create. They will have practice maneuvering between opened programs and copy/pasting. They'll also be able to understand some of the complex features of Word more easily, since they've already seen similar tools in AppleWorks. They will begin to see that many terms/processes are the same no matter which program you use. This helps them to be able to approach other new programs they come across with confidence.

Quarter 2

Class = 40 minutes / once a week. (20 minutes keyboarding / 20 minutes computer skills)
Keyboarding Goal for end of 4th grade: Finish UltraKey. Type 12-14 wpm / 95%, by touch.

SKILLS: Integrating graphics skills with blessing others and math class.

Graphics use in AppleWorks: Text boxes; Creating/formatting/manipulating shapes

Creating Christmas cards for "First Grade Buddies"! Students got a chance to use their graphics skills by creating Christmas cards with a personal note for their first grade buddies. To see how we would have to make a card, we folded a piece of paper in fourths and drew a smiley face for the front and wrote "Hi" on the inside. When we opened it up, we saw where we would need to place our words and picture and then noticed that we would also have to flip one of them upside down. We used the line tool to create the folds on our document to see where to place things, and then deleted the lines before printing.

Text boxes: So far, when we have typed words, they have been in stories. For the card, we needed to type a "chunk" of words and be able to move them around on the document. This meant we had to create a "text box". We did create text boxes in third grade, when we used PowerPoint, so this was not a new concept for the students. Text boxes are created a bit differently in AppleWorks. With text boxes in any program, you actually are working in two modes: "Word Processing" and "Draw". Depending on where you click in the text box, the computer either sees it as a "box" or as "text" and brings up a different menu bar for each mode. Students need to know how to tell the difference in order to manipulate (move/resize) and format (change font/size/color) the text box. This took some practice, but students were soon able to create titles and messages in creative fonts with fun or meaningful clip art.

Students rotated the clip art until it was upside down, and then printed the cards in color to give to their new friends! - They were quite pleased with their finished products! They looked very "professional".

Creating, formatting & manipulating shapes/objects in AppleWorks Draw: I love the simplistic design of AppleWorks to introduce computer skills to young students. That's why I begin with it and then transition to Microsoft Office. When students see that they can do the same thing in different programs, and that even the commands are the same, but that the commands may be in different places, they start understanding what they are doing, rather than just modeling the teacher. This helps them transfer their knowledge to other programs, since all programs use the same concepts, words, and icons: format, edit, tools, alignment, draw arrow (object), fill palette, line palette, line thickness tool, etc. We have recently begun to create/format/manipulate shapes. Students used the box tool to create a box, fill the inside with color, move it, resize it, duplicate it. They created several boxes and learned how to select more than one by: shift-clicking, "apple key - A", and "invisible fencing". When several shapes are selected, you can apply an effect to all of them at once! They used the align feature to line up the boxes by their bottoms, tops, or sides. We use this in the Yearbook. They also used the arrow keys to move the boxes to the grid and then turned "auto-grid" off to "nudge" them bit by bit. After seeing how to change the "order" (moving back and front) of objects, we will go through the list of shape tools and create each one, incorporating them into a slide show of shapes!


New students: Experts recommend 3-4 twenty minute sessions per week to learn keyboarding. Since most students have completed UltraKey in third grade and we only type for 20 minutes each week, I strongly suggest that new students purchase the UltraKey program and practice at home, as well. You may send in a request for UltraKey to the homeroom teacher or office 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 %. If students are struggling, I reduce the pass level to 7 or 8 wpm / 95%. You can tape one edge of a piece of paper to the top of the keyboard so it covers your child's hands during the tests. That will help him/her to type without looking down.

Free online games to practice keyboarding: