Looking for ideas? Middle School Computer Lessons

Archive for February, 2012

Apple Factory Lesson; Middle School Computer Lessons

Apple Factory Lesson; Middle School Computer Lessons

There was recently a story on ABC news about the factory in China that produces iPods, iPods and other apple products. It is less than 20 minutes long and my class was glued to it like it was ICarley. This video shows the lives of the factory workers inside and outside of its walls.

A few things really stood out to me, like how most of my kids could not believe that iPods were made in china. Despite it saying on all Apple products “Designed in California made in China”, the majority of them thought they were made here.

Another thing was how most of the workers at the factory had never seen the finished product. They had never held an iPad before, despite working on them 12 hours a day and living at the factory. That is an interesting concept for kids to wrap their heads around. I told them it was like you work at McDonald’s but never ate the food.

After the video and a brief discussion I asked them to write about the following questions:

1. What are 3 reasons Chinese people want to work in the Apple factory?          2. What are 3 reasons someone would not want to work at the Apple factory?3. Would you want to work in the factory that makes Apple products? Explain why or why not in at least one paragraph.

I would love to hear your comments!

For more ideas visit www.middleschoolcomputerlessons.com

“The Power of ICU” book by Educator Danny Hill; Middle School Computer Lessons

“The Power of ICU” book by Educator Danny Hill; Middle School Computer Lessons

Today I had the pleasure to hear the ideas and experiences of educator Danny Hill author of “The Power of ICU”. This is a dynamic idea where the end result is students taking responsibility for their learning. In a nut shell, teachers no longer accept students taking a zero for a grade. Instead all students complete all the assignments. I must admit that I had read his book before attending the presentation and already wanted to be a part of bringing this to my building. However, after sitting in on Mr. Hills talk, I am ready to dive in and do what ever I have to do to in order to make this work in my middle school. The question that I keep asking myself is “Don’t I want to be part of a great school?”. Well, I really do and I feel that this is the concept that can take us there.

Why not? Does our current zero based grading system really reflect learning…nope. So, why not attack it from a different angle. Lets hold those apathetic kids accountable for the work that they refuse to do. After all, what are we really teaching our kids in our classroom? If you dont pay your taxes, do you get a zero? No, you are forced to pay them one way or another. How is giving a zero or taking points away teaching responsibility?

I suggest that anyone (Even tech teachers) take a look at the book “The Power of ICU by Danny Hill”. As a tech teacher and tech support person in my district I will be a leader in implementing this in my school by helping to set up, maintain and sharpen a Google Docs spreadsheet with a list of every student in my building and any missing assignment they may have. This is just the beginning, I am hoping this will lead my building onto a path where we are proud of the students we produce.

I hope I have many future posts about my experiences with this philosophy. My biggest fear is that the rest of the staff not fully committing to it.

I would love to hear your comments!

For more middle school computer lessons and ideas check out www.middleschoolcomputerlessons.com

ICloud; Middle School Computer Lessons

ICloud; Middle School Computer Lessons

I have several apple devices like most people, I recently signed up for “ICloud” when I received my iPad 2 for my classroom (from a grant). Probably not the best idea but for now all my devices including the classroom IPad are on my cloud.

My 4-year-old son is obsessed with that song “Party Rockin in the House”. He constantly wants to hear it and “Dance”. It is a sight to see. So, last night I finally downloaded it from iTunes. Today, when I came to school there it was on my schools iPad 2. I didn’t even think about that happening, but I saw it as a opprotunity to discuss the “Cloud” or cloud computing in general in my class, a nice little teachable moment to take advantage of.

So, this is how I did it. I asked them all to turn off their monitors, which I frequently do to get their undivided attention. Then, I plugged the iPad into my speakers played the song and then asked the question “How did that get on their?” I asked my class who has an Ipod or apple device and of course most raised their hands. Then asked, who has heard of the “Cloud”? Only a few hands went up. So, I told them what it was and how that song magically appeared on my Ipad. The song really got their attention, I feel like this helped them really understood this new technology.

I would love to hear your comments!

For more ideas for your technology classroom and Lessons, Books and student books check out www.middleschoolcomputerlessons.com

How I use Skype; Middle School Computer lessons

How I use Skype; Middle School Computer lessons

In my room, I have my netbook that I use for instructions connected to skype. In the past I have used it for skyping with other teachers and classes throughout the country. Yesterday, I used it a little differently.

My 8th grade class is going to the High School next year and many of them had questions about the computer classes that were offered there. So, during my 8th grade class we skyped with the computer teacher at the HS. He gave my students a brief description of his classes and answered any questions that they had. It went well. He used an IPad and I used a tablet pc. He also showed him the lab via the ipad, which was good for them to see. I plan on repeating this in the future.

I would love to hear your comments!

For more great lesson ideas visit www.middleschoolcomputerlessons.com

Middle School Computer Lesons; 5 Essential Student Skills

Middle School Computer Lessons; 5 Essential Student Skills

If you are currently teaching a computer class or have just been told that you will be next school year, what are the 5 most important things to cover in your class? For my students, I feel that giving them a broad range of computer activities and experiences is the best way to help them grow as learners. In my class we may not cover one topic exhaustively but cover many topics lightly. My students only have my class for approximately 45 days per year and I feel it is in their best interest to introduce as many things during tha t time as possible.

– If you are looking for great “Middle School Computer Lessons” visit www.middleschoolcomputerlessons.com for classroom and teacher books.

The top five skills that I try to emphasize with my class are:

5- Social media – this class discussion is always an interesting one

4- Web Navigation– Students benefit from sharpening their search skills; There is a great “Google Search Game” in my book.

3- Office skills– Word Processing, Presentation tools, Excel…

2- Typing/Keyboarding– Text all you want, typing with a keyboard is still where it is at…for now

1- Being able to use the computer as a tool to achieve your goals. Helping students choose the proper avenue and tool when utilizing computer skills in their real life.  This includes troubleshooting common errors and problem solving.

I would love to hear your comments!

For more ideas visit www.middleschoolcomputerlessons.com

Middle School Computer Lessons; What to do with that old PC?

Middle School Computer Lessons; What to do with that old PC?

arcade machine
It doesn’t have much to do with Middle School Computer Lessons, but it is kind of a neat idea. Take that old PC and convert it into an “Old School” MAME Arcade machine. I Found an old Ms. Pacman shell with no guts, added my old Gateway and an X-arcade controller.

For actual materials that you can use in your “middle school computer” class

visit www.middleschoolcomputerlessons.com

Middle School Computer Lessons; Setting Learning Goals

Middle School Computer Lessons; Setting Learning Goals

On the first day of class, one of the things I do is have the children set personal learing goals for my class. This takes about one class period, then I print and post them at the entrance of my room for all to see.

They use Word and word-art to make their names large on 1/2 sheet. Below they are to have at least 2 goals; 1 personal typing goal and another goal that deals with technology , some may want to include more than 2 goals. They are also encouraged to include one piece of clip art and/or their photo.

I would love to hear your comments!

For more thoughts on Middle School Computer Lessons, activities and Books and ebooks of lessons visit www.middleschoolcomputerlessons.com

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