QWERTY Quandary

Filed Under (Tech Tinkerings) by Kristine Rebstock on 01-02-2012

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It all begins with the parts of a computer in my kindergarten technology class. My dilemma? Where do I begin? How do I teach parts of a computer and how to use them to forty squirmy, uncontrollable, and sometimes inconsolable tots?  I remember student teaching 8 weeks in a kindergarten classroom…couldn’t get out of there quickly enough! I don’t connect with 5 year olds. I don’t get how they learn. I can’t keep them focused long enough to complete a task. But, I would not be discouraged.

My first thought was to begin teaching the QWERTY keyboard by re-purposing some dead keyboards…cords cut off, of course.  Pretending to type didn’t equate to real interaction with a computer.  The lesson was as defunct as the equipment. It didn’t take long before I realized that they MUST have interaction. As well intended and ingenious as it seemed at the time, re-purposed keyboards are NOT interactive nor do they give any kind of feedback.

Painful lesson learned…the best way for me to engage the minds of my kinder kiddos is to occupy their hands. Give them a task…they will play.  Start with using input devices and find a fun way to do it.

Super Hyper Spider Typer solved my QWERTY quandary.  Students learn in game format, and the interface is colorful and simple. There are 3 levels of difficulty, but kindergarten begins at the beginning…the Easy level.  Cute little chameleons crawl across a tree branch in pursuit of a fuzzy spider climbing his way to safety.  The task: type the letter seen on the chameleon to shrink him and return him to the tree.  Save the spider…earn points and move up.

Their attention and eagerness to learn was secured by starting my instruction and demonstration on our ACTIVboard using the floating keyboard.   More than a few students offered to assist at the board which led the way to an easy transition to computers for independent practice.  Hunting and pecking at its funnest!

Super Hyper Spider Typer

 

 

 

It’s Been a While!

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Kristine Rebstock on 12-09-2009

Today was a good day!  I participated in a Discovery Education picture walk with other DEN members in Galveston!  What makes Texas the best state?  We spent the entire day looking at answers to that question through a photo walk around the Strand and Railroad Museum!  I learn something new with every Discovery event!  The drizzle made things a little interesting…but I guess it’s better than the heat.  Will post pics of that walk very soon…stay tuned!

Cross Your Fingers!

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Kristine Rebstock on 08-03-2009

I just completed my first application to attend the DEN National Institute!  Knowing there are TONS of awesome, active DEN members out there, I think this opportunity to learn and contribute is one of a kind!  I’m not sure how many they’re accepting, but I’m crossing my fingers that I am fortunate enough to get in on this one. 

 If you’ve ever been to a national event and have any advice for a newbie, please drop a note for me!  I’ll keep you posted!

7 Things You Never Wanted to Know About Me…

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Kristine Rebstock on 14-02-2009

Thanks LeaAnne!  I’ve been tagged…so here it goes.

1. I love the feeling of laughter through tears.

2.  I’m addicted to Discovery trainings.

3.  My 2 cats are named after dogs (Toto & Blue).

4.   My favorite vacations have been camping & snow skiing in Colorado.

5.  I want to learn another language, fluently.

6.  I wish time machines were real.

7.  My favorite number is 23.

TCEA 2009 – with LOTS of Discovery folks!

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Kristine Rebstock on 10-02-2009

DEN Newbie

Filed Under (New Star Member) by Kristine Rebstock on 03-09-2008

This is my second blog ever!  My first was as guest blogger at the Central Region DEN conference this summer.  I am new to blogging, new to DEN, and a new STAR member.  I could use some quick start pointers, advice, shortcuts, and another 6 hours added to every day.  If you can help with any of those requests, I would be eternally greatful! 

I wear several hats at my campus:  I’m a tech apps teacher for Kinder – 4th grade students; I am the tech liaison for my campus; and I serve as the GT pullout class instructor for 1st – 4th grade students.  This is my second year as tech apps teacher but my first year as liaison.  I’ve taught GT for 8 years in my previous job as 4th grade teacher, but this is only my second year as instructor for all grade levels. 

I guess I got too comfortable in my own little world as a 4th grade teacher…now I feel like I’m swimming with the big fish…gotta keep up! I ENJOY my new responsibilities, but I would LOVE to find my rhythm with all the extra stuff I’m doing! 

I traded classroom clutter, homework, testing, and grading papers for another mountain of tasks that keeps me from planning and implementing some really cool tech projects with my kiddos.  I learned SO much at the Central DEN Conference…I just want TIME to get it all done.  If you’re still with me and can offer ANY suggestions, please do!