June 8, 2013

Our school year has ended and we were able to get all third graders back safely from their various locations in the rain forests of the world! After working at their own pace to read and watch informational videos from Discovery Education, and then respond via their blogs, the students completed or almost completed their virtual field trip. Some students may have written their sentences and not requested publishing, and over the course of the summer I will be going back and seeing if there are any flipflops.pngposts that I can publish for them.

Before that students had entered information about their science fair projects. We did two days of typing and after that I finished whatever still needed to be typed for the report. I will continue to add the images to accompany their science post, but ran out of time and did not get all images embedded before the end of the year.

During the course of third grade students were introduced to a number of important word processing features such as cut, copy, and paste, and changing text formats (color, bold). We had an introduction to the Type to Learn keyboarding program, which I hope the students will continue to use over the summer months, perhaps on a rainy day? If you have not yet downloaded the program please remember it is free for all of our students to use at home, and their progress is maintained on the web and so is continuous. Check here for information on the download process and feel free to contact me via schoolnotes should you have any questions. They will do much more keyboarding in their writing assignments for fourth grade, so the more speed and accuracy they can develop now the easier that will be for them next year.

There will be many new experiences coming in fourth grade technology, including having individualize network, Google Apps, and blog accounts, along with many more online sites that will be an extension of the classroom. Students are welcomed to write in their blogs over the summer months - about trips, books read, and just summer experiences in general. I will continue to monitor the blog site for any incoming posts.

I hope everyone has a wonderfully safe and relaxing summer vacation!

Mrs. Ruffing

May 16, 2013

external image 204070891_08f9cd6b1c_m.jpgLast week third grade set out on a journey - a virtual field trip to rain forests of the world. They will be following an itinerary that will take them (virtually) from our home location to the Congo, to Borneo, to the Amazon, and to Costa Rica, and back again. This excursion will involve reading some information on various rain forest topics at each site (with the option to hear the words read to them), viewing one or two video clips, and then responding to a specific question for that stop on the tour. We went through the steps for Stop 1, Bethlehem, and today they are all heading at their own pace to the Congo. They will be able to read, listen, and watch as often as they need to in order to formulate their thoughts into a short blog post for each location they visit. All of this takes place within a Google Earth tour that I have created specifically for them. Hopefully they all make it back to the home location in time for the last day of school!

March 10, 2013

external image 8492160595_9d3a629659_n.jpgOur latest completed project has been the Presidential Seal. In this activity students used a blackline drawing of the seal in the Kid Pix program to color it in with authentic and symbolic colors. We read about it on Enchanted Learning and discussed the symbolism of the arrows, olive branch, stars, stripes, etc. This completed image was then uploaded and entered in to the post by me, so that students could summarize what they learned by listing five facts about the seal. They used the skills of copy and paste, a big focus for us this year, to take five sentences from the article. They also learned about alignment by highlighting their sentences and choosing to have them aligned left as well as increasing the font size. Again, I would encourage you to comment on the posts and support their efforts. Some of the older students have made comments on some posts and it is always thrilling for third graders to realize that someone is noticing what they have posted.

We spent a fair amount of time on March 7 in the Type to Learn program, and I hope everyone has considered the information about downloading this program to your home computer free of charge. Some students were puzzled why they could not advance after completing a lesson, and I showed them how to view the graph of their lesson scores, and that the reason they were not allowed to advance was because they had not reached a passing level yet on that lesson. The program is self-adjusting. Some students who have not mastered the key locations and take a great deal of time to complete the lesson because they keep looking down at their fingers will not move as quickly. There should be no pressure here except what a student may choose to place on himself/herself.

We will spend some time over the next few weeks discussing some Internet safety and cyber bullying topics.

January 28. 2013

external image 8342048203_3e0740acfe_n.jpgStudents in grade three have been busy in the second quarter typing their ecosystem report into a blog post and then recording their voice reading the project in a Voice Thread. You can view the Voice Thread on the main page of the class blog. Again, I would encourage you to comment on your child's writing. Also, if you notice a misspelling, they can log into their blog from home and correct the post and then request publishing again. All posts and comments come to me for approval before going live. We did copy the body of the text into MS Word in order to check for misspellings, but some students did not get to that step because they took longer to enter their report or their report was long. (Mrs. Cunerd and I do give a "turbo boost" to those with an extra long amount of text to enter by entering a portion of it for them so they do not become frustrated. They will also be writing about their understanding of the keyboard shortcuts, especially cut, copy, and paste, in a later post that will also have an image of the 5 magic beans they created. I am working on getting iPads set up so that there will be additional opportunities in the classroom for creative projects in the second half of the year.

December 20, 2012

christmas_card_blue.jpgThroughout the month of December we have been working on cut, copy, and paste. Students learned ctrl x for cut, ctrl c for copy, and ctrl vfor paste.We did an activity using the cut function to put words in alphabetical order, and used the copy function to put the events from the Jack and the Beanstalk story in correct order after watching a short online version of the fairy tale. (They also practiced ctrl a to select all text, ctrl b for bold text, and ctrl z to undo). After organizing the story students used MS Word drawing tools to create their own five magic beans at the bottom of the page, using ctrl d to duplicate a shape and then formatting the fill and line color. In January we will add these to a blog post. Also in January students will be entering the text of their ecosystem report along with the photo of their project, and we will create a Voice Thread of them telling about their projects.

Please encourage them to practice their keyboarding skills whenever possible. Several students have downloaded the TTL4 program and are making progress using it at home.

I wish you all a blessed Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!

November 20, 2012

Regarding grades for third grade technology, I have re-posted my explanation from last year:

The first quarter ends on Friday, November 9, and grades have been posted for third grade students. I would like to make some comments about the "grades". Unless there is a very unusual circumstance, all students in grade three will receive a G for their work in the computer lab. Why? My philosophy is that at this age level they are all giving it their best shot, trying hard, and really want to succeed. They are enthusiastic, ready to learn and to take on new challenges.And in my opinion that is a "good" thing. There are many new skills that will be tackled, from keyboarding, to cut/copy/paste, to saving to a network location, to blogging, to using headers and footers. Some will grasp it more quickly than others, and some will need more help than others, but they all will succeed at their own rate. I do not want any student to come away with the idea that he or she is "not good at" technology. I will help them as best I can to see that technology tools can make our work easier, help us to learn more, and also to have fun.

Third grade students have created two blog posts and have become familiar with the Type to Learn Program. If you have not yet installed this on your home computer I would encourage you to consider doing so. You can read my previous post for information on that topic. We had our end of quarter "game day" on November 8 ( a week late because of the storm) and used November 15 as a keyboarding session. A popular site was the Arcademic Skill Builders which has many games that will help with mastering multiplication facts as well as other skills. Students can compete against others anywhere in the world in a speed test. When we return from the holiday we will begin the task of mastering cut, copy, and paste within Microsoft Word. These are important skills on which students will rely heavily and we have several fun activities to learn the shortcuts for these functions. We will also learn other keyboard shortcuts and do some practice with spell check.

external image 320px-Pumpkin-Pie-Whole-Slice.jpgDon't forget to stop by your child's blog and give some encouragement by leaving a comment. Comments come to me for approval before they are displayed. I would caution you not to sign your last name if you are the parent so as not to compromise your child's anonymity. Signing "Mom", "Dad", "Aunt Mary", "Mrs. J" are all appropriate.

Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving holiday!

October 4, 2012

Our first update for third grade technology is being posted a little late but there is some important news to share from today's class.

We have begun working on keyboarding skills in third grade and this year we have a new program to try out. It is called Type to Learn 4 Agents of Information, and the nice thing about this program is that it is web-based so students will be able to continue their progress at home or at school. I have written a lot about keyboarding skills on another page as well as provided information for downloading the program at home. The student results will be in an online database so they can continue working through lessons and games at their own pace either at home or at school.

Students have a sticker inside their HW book indicating their username and password for the TTL4 program. The access code will only need to be entered the first time a student logs in. As I said in my page on keyboarding, the whole purpose in offering home access is to provide more practice time than what is available in school, but there is no pressure to complete lessons and home use is optional.

In earlier classes this year we have created our very first blog post and the student blog pages can be accessed on the third grade tab of the cougartech webmix. Please feel free to comment on student posts, your own child's or those of other children as well. Students are always thrilled to have a comment from a reader. They also created a "wild thing" avatar in keeping with our Internet safety practice of not revealing personal information online. We are working on creating a "dot" image and using the Print Screen function and the snipping tool to save an image that will be uploaded to their blog post.

Please feel free to contact me (ruffingp@olphbeth.org) with any questions you might have. There is no formal grading in third grade technology. We have many new skills to develop and there is no pressure or stress. All students need to do is just give it their best effort and I will provide as much help as necessary to reach their goals and accomplish our technology tasks.

June 8, 2012

The year has come to a close and I hope that third graders enjoyed their experiences in technology class this year. Third grade has focused on learning keyboard short cuts for cut, copy, and paste and they have learned to blog and have written several entries featuring their work. We spent time learning keyboarding postures and the home row position. (Please continue to work on these skills over the summer.) They have learned more about saving files on the network, using the snipping tool, textboxes, text formatting, and using spell check. Of course we spent time on Internet safety as well. We ended with our Google Earth trip to the rainforests of the world and sent a helicopter for those who didn't quite finish the tour so that would be back for the last day of school :-)

Third graders are welcomed and encouraged to write in their blogs over the summer and I will continue to approve any submissions. You may want to help them with proofreading, but the entries do not have to be perfect. I will not roll the blog pages over to the next grade until mid-August.

Have a safe and happy summer!


May 15, 2012

rainforest_map.gifTime for long overdue updates for third grade technology! We are ending the school year with a virtual field trip to the rainforest. In fact, we are visiting several rainforests around the world. The students are using a virtual field trip that I created for them within Google Earth with the first stop at our home location of Bethlehem, PA. From there they travel to the rainforest of the Congo, the rainforest of Borneo, the rainforest of the Amazon, the rainforest of Belize, and then back home again to Bethlehem. As they travel they will read some information, but mostly learn through videos for each stop along the way. After watching the videos, they will journal about what they have learned in their blogs. Right now we are just writing and not publishing the blog posts so that we can take some time and practice using spell check to correct words before the posts go live. This should take us to the end of the year and hopefully they all make it back to Bethlehem before the last day of school!

Prior to this students created a post to demonstrate what they have learned about American symbols on the Presidential Seal. They also shared their advertisement for the toy they created. I upload the images to Flickr and then put the image in for them. At this point I am helping with the image part, but next year they can try inserting their own images. We may be able to post science fair projects, depending on the time we have, which is not much at this point. Their blog pages are really like a digital portfolio of their work this year, and they would love to have comments from you regarding what they have posted. They do look to see if they have received any comments, so feel free to add something either not only on your own child's work but for others as well. All comments go through me for approval, so it will not show immediately.

Using cut, copy, and paste was a big focus of the year, as well as keyboarding. I would encourage you to try to provide them with keyboarding practice at home and remind them to use the home position for their fingers when typing. There are sites on the cougartech webmix that are great for practice.

January 29, 2012

Here we are at the end of January and the beginning of Catholic Schools Week already. So what has third grade been up to in the computer lab during the second quarter?sample_snowflake.JPG

We have continued to work on keyboarding skills. Also, while working on some other skill activities on the class webmix, students one by one recorded their voices in a Voicethread to share their report about their ecosystem diorama project. Mrs. Olson displayed the Voice Thread on her Smart board during open house and I will embed it at the bottom of this post. They really did a nice job reading their reports. They also had fun one day cutting out a digital snowflake.

Our next big venture was to learn the skills of cut, copy, and paste. We began by rearranging a list of words into alphabetical order. They were introduced to the shortcuts of CTRL + C for copy, CTRL + X for cut, CTRL + V for paste. The following week we watched a video of the Jack and the Beanstalk story and then rearranged the story events by cutting and pasting into a chart. Next week we will use CTRL + D to duplicate a bean (one of the five magic beans) and color it in using a patterned fill.

external image crossedccanes.gif

December 8, 2011

Today third grade added some text to their already published blog posts. After they completed their posts last week, I uploaded images of their recently completed diorama project and added their project photos to their posts. They added any resources they used, if they had included them in their report, and also invited readers to click on the photo to see their glogs full size. Please feel free to comment on their posts.
Next week I will record them reading their report along with an image of their project using a tool called VoiceThread. They will also have time to continue their exploration of the 12 Days of Christmas activities found on our grade 3 webmix. After Christmas we will be getting into the skills of cut, copy, and paste within a document. Peace and warmth!

external image manga.PNGOctober 31, 2011

The first quarter ends on Friday, November 4, and grades have been posted for third grade students. I would like to make some comments about the "grades". Unless there is a very unusual circumstance, all students in grade three will receive a G for their work in the computer lab. Why? My philosophy is that at this age level they are all giving it their best shot, trying hard, and really want to succeed. They are enthusiastic, ready to learn and to take on new challenges.And in my opinion that is a "good" thing. There are many new skills that will be tackled, from keyboarding, to cut/copy/paste, to saving to a network location, to blogging, to using headers and footers. Some will grasp it more quickly than others, and some will need more help than others, but they all will succeed at their own rate. I do not want any student to come away with the idea that he or she is "not good at" technology. I will help them as best I can to see that technology tools can make our work easier, help us to learn more, and also to have fun.

The students are very proud of creating their first blog posts. They used the two sentences they had written in a Word document used those as the basis for their first ever blog post. They may add posts on their own at any time. The log in is their first name, a space, and last initial, all lower case and no punctuation. They also have a password, and if they would like to post but can't remember the password, please feel free to email me. All posts and comments must pass through me before going live. Speaking of comments, students (and teachers) love comments. You are welcome to write a comment on their post, or even on their "wild thing: avatar" and submit it. I would caution all relatives to sign with a name such as Mom, Dad, Grandma, Aunt Mary, so as not to compromise student privacy with a last name. I have pointed out to them that we will always be sure to do our best work on our blog posts because people all over the world may see them, To date, we have been visited by 59 countries! We will not post a lot in third grade but will also use it as a vehicle to showcase other projects and writing that they do.

On October 27 students worked on First in Math so that Mrs. Olson could see how they were managing in the site. They are encouraged to do a little math practice on that site each night if at all possible.

On October 21 I introduced the Home Row in keyboarding and we worked on a lesson in Dance Mat Typing. Some students finished that and so I channeled them to another site for additional home row practice. Other online keyboarding practice sites can be found on the class webmix. The best thing that parents can do is encourage keyboarding practice at home, since once a week, and not even every week, is certainly not enough time for students to master the skill. At the very least please encourage them to use the left hand on the left side of the keyboard and the right hand on the right. No one finger typing! Some say that teaching keyboarding skills is a waste of time with the touch technology of today. Perhaps when they are in college they will be able to use something like Dragon Dictation for their papers, or perhaps not. But I would venture to say that no one who is a fast typist regrets having that skill, and those who don't type quickly wish they did. The QWERTY keyboard is not going away any time soon, so whatever they can pick up in third and fourth grade would be very beneficial. We will devote a few class periods to correct form, but it will not be our focus. There just isn't enough time, but hopefully we will be laying the foundation. Here is a great post from Lisa Nielsen, the Innovative Educator, on the topic.

club_penguin.JPGOn our last class of the first quarter, Nov. 3, we will have a "free day". This is something that only third grade gets to do but they love it, of course. It is a reward for working hard throughout the quarter and it is a day where they choose their technology activity. Some may choose First in Math, KidPix, or any number of game sites. I will provide a list of choices and if they want to do something not on the list they will ask me first. Occasionally there are requests for sites like Club Penguin or Webkinz. If a student is enthusiastic about one of those sites, I let them use it, and I observe how they interact in the space. Only students who have already set up an account at home with their parents would be able to do this. Common Sense Media, a site I often use for Internet safety topics, evaluates movies, websites, and video games for children. You can read their analysis of each site here and here. I am a firm believer in the power of games for learning, and I enjoy observing students engaged in activities on their favorite sites and asking them how things work. The class period always goes by quickly, and some will be caught up in one activity they love and others will bounce from one activity to another exploring. But they always look forward to this one a day a quarter. And I always learn something new as well.

external image manga.PNG

October 3, 2011

We have had three classes in the computer lab so far this year. Our first class on Sept. 15 was just getting acclimated to the new surroundings and learning to log into our etwork in a slightly different way than last year. I showed the students the Cougartech webmix where I will be posting links that we will use in class, and they took a look at the Spider Typer website. We will be getting into correct fingering for keyboarding and the home row position very soon. It would be wonderful for students to learn correct fingering and memorize key locations early, and then just work on speed and accuracy as they get older. Unfortunately, with only one 45 minute period a week, and not even that when you account for travel time, they cannot master keyboarding in school. I urge the students to practice at home, and there are a number of free sites, as well as software that can be purchased, to help your child improve. Although many say that typing will become a thing of the past, I don't think anyone who is a fast typist ever regretted developing that skill. So please supplement our in-school instruction with practice time at home if you can.

On September 22 we visited the Build Your Wild Self site to create an avatar that will be placed on the student blog page. We then used the snipping tool to create a jpg image and saved that image to the network folder. We will be placing that on the blog page soon.

On September 29 we opened a Word document and typed two sentences. One was something they have learned so far this year, and the second was something they are good at. We looked for red and green lines that told us something needed to be fixed, and they practiced right clicking to see corrections and making the changes. We will use those sentences in our first blog post.

August 29, 2011

Welcome, third grade students and parents, to new experiences with technology

in the 2011-2012 school year!

Technology class for third grade will be held on Thursdays. Students will be working on keyboarding skills, Microsoft Office applications, Internet safety topics, and many projects related to their third grade curriculum. Technology tools we will use to enhance learning will be Discovery Streaming, blogging, online games and skill practice, educational websites, and other creative tools which may include Voice Threads, glogs, and more.

Please be sure to complete the signature form for our school's Acceptable Use Policy regarding technology and Internet use at OLPH. You and your child will need to sign in several places.


This year we have worked on keyboarding skills and concentrated on being very skilled in cut, copy, and paste. We learned the keyboard shortcuts using the Ctrl key and created several projects. We watched a story of Jack and the Beanstalk and then put the story events in the correct order. (Cut and Paste). We used the drawing tools in Microsoft Word to create five magic beans and learned that Ctrl+d will duplicate our drawing. We also used a patterned fill for our beans.

We studied the symbols on the Presidential Seal and used KidPix to create a copy of the seal and save it as a jpg file. We inserted this image into our Word document and then used sentences from Enchanted Learning (Copy and Paste) to tell about some of the symbols.

We also wrote in our blogs and started a tour of Rainforest of the World in Google Earth, but we didn't get to finish that one. Our class narrated a Voice Thread to tell about the ecosystem dioramas we created. We all loved the last day of each quarter which was GAME DAY, when we could work on our skills in our favorite game or program.

Remember to follow the link to a site to practice your keyboarding skills over the summer, and feel free to write in your blog anytime you want. See you in fourth grade!