at the Computer
- For non-readers, have
several classroom 'experts' available. Select 3-4 students and 'inservice
them' during a morning recess. Have them practice the program and/or complete
the project during the next couple of recesses. Then intro the computer project
& experts to the class and let 'em go!
- Not enough computers
for all students in a small group of 4-5 during your Reading Center time?
Rename this center as The Technology Center instead and you've opened up a
whole new vista. You can have 2 students on each computer, and the 'leftovers'
can use a cassette player with headphones & an audio story, the overhead projector
to draw a response to their reading on transparencies, or a 'movie theater'
by placing 2-3 chairs in front of the tv/vcr and turning the sound low. If
you have a tv/vcr on a cart, turn it to face the wall with chairs facing into
the room in front of it for less distraction for the rest of the class.
- I learned long ago just
how important location is to computers. Keep the monitor perpendicular to
windows the sun can wipe out your monitors images, or can make
your students squint into the light. Of course, water and electronics dont
mix, so keep away from the drinking fountain/sink area, and make sure your
students know that magnets are not friends to your computer.
- Keep your computers out
of major walkways the cords have a tendency to jump out and grab passing
students. Plan for sufficient space to have a small group of students around
the computer for teaching purposes.
- You should be able to
see your computer monitors from wherever you happen to be perched for your
direct instruction groups. You know how to use your teacher eyes and ears
when you are busy with one group and other groups are on their own. Obviously,
if the busy buzz of kids on computers suddenly gets loud with laughter or
very whispery quiet, its a good time to take a peek at the screen.
- For upper grades, having
a log (a sheet of lined paper on a clipboard or a small notebook) is a good
idea. Students can sign in with name, date, time, and software program, URL,
or project title when they sit down to work. They can end with a short sentence
or two about what theyve done during their computer time, something
neat theyve learned, what their plans for their next session are, their
problems or successes.
- An extension of the log
idea is to have a clipboard/notebook for each computer in your room for reporting
tech problems (include the date, time, program/URL, what was done just before
the problem occurred, and what the exact problem was). This would easily allow
you to look for patterns to computer problems
© 2002 Janine
Lim and Marilyn Western.