There are literally thousands of educational games and sites on the internet for our students to use, so how in the world do I go about picking the “best of the best” in educational games for elementary schools? Honestly, it all depends on the needs of your students, but I’d like to share a few that I see my students continually use as their “go to” set of games that they get to play in the computer lab when they have completed their assignment, usually in Google Classroom. I’m a believer in letting students have as much free choice as possible, while also maintaining absolute control over the content that I want them to access. A website was the solution.
I was inspired by another campus technologist here in my district, who has an amazing teacher website that she uses daily to load student activities for the day. I took that concept and incorporated it in Google Classroom and use my website as a stand alone game site for my students. The site has gone under many iterations, and has finally landed on a STEAM design, where the links are organized by topics - Science, Technology/Coding, Engineering, Art, Math, with a smattering of ELA links at the end. What resulted is a site that students can go to and use throughout the school day as a source of enrichment activities.
So here’s my Top Ten List of the links that get the most hits on MrEnglerTech.com.
Images are hyperlinked, so click and enjoy.
I absolutely LOVED this site when I was teaching 4th grade math and science! There are a ton of interactive simulations from elementary through post secondary, and it is free for teachers to register and gain access to tons of submitted lesson plans and activities. The best part: the kids love the site too!
This is another collection of games that my students love. There are quite a few academic and socio/emotional topics addressed on here, providing a wide variety of engaging games for younger learners.
If there is one site/game that receives more requests than anything else, it’s CodeMonkey. My students’ love of this site is what spurred me to apply to become a Teacher Ambassador. CodeMonkey teaches students how to code in an engaging, fun, and challenging environment, and the best part - it’s TEXT based (well ...mostly now). And now they have code activities for pre-readers AND block coding, plus advanced coding courses that will push your advanced coders (I’m currently stuck on a level as I type).
Digital Citizenship is a current trend in educational technology that we really all need to be addressing, and Google has some great, and free, curriculum to use along with this fun, interactive game. Interland has great resources for parents and teachers online, and is aligned with the ISTE Standards.
This game is exactly what it sounds like. Build a bridge. But it tackles some very real world engineering challenges - like building with constraints, like a budget :) The challenge is to build the most stable bridge possible with the materials provided. It also allows students to test a variety of solutions in order to come up with the best possible solution (for maximum points) - hello growth mindset! The music is awesome too.
This is a silly game to which my kids seem to gravitate. The concept is to build the tallest, most stable structure possible. We do this with toothpicks and mini marshmallows in class, and then they get to play this game. We push the engineering design process here at my school and this is a really fun way to get kids into that process.
If you want to teach your kids how to draw using letters and numbers, and have them be wildly successful; this is for you. I have yet to see a student or colleague who doesn’t just fall madly in love with this site. The best part - you kids are going to sock and amaze each other with their artistic abilities. We do this on “Fun Fridays” and the art that my students produce in under 8 minutes is incredible.
My degree is in Music, so anything that takes music and technology and smashes them together in crazy cool ways is always going to find me gravitating towards is and this awesome set of musical experiments from Google does all of the above. They even have a twitter feed for people to share ideas. This is another one of those “frequent flyer” sites that my students usually visit.
If my students at school could pick one math game over all others, they would pick Prodigy. It’s free, like most of the links on here and there is an option for them to purchase a paid account for more coins, but that’s up to their parent/guardian. Teachers can also monitor student progress and assign activities and assessments to the class or individual students, etc. It’s also integrated with Google, so students can log in with Google, which makes account creation a breeze. This one consistently shows up on top pick blogs.
I’m a math lover by heart. My mom still tutors math, after teaching Algebra I for more than 26 years at the high school level - let’s just say it’s in my blood. And yes - I’m old school when it comes to learning your facts. I believe you need to memorize these by heart. I still remember my math fact mountain in first grade, and my little clothespin mountain climber that moved up the mountain to the next fact family every time we went to Mrs. Hinman’s desk and recited them by memory. So here’s a fun, basketball game for kids to practice their facts and earn up to 5 attempts to make a basket. My kids enjoy this one as well...not as much as prodigy, but still popular.
A few quick searches for “top picks” will reveal a host of other games. Think about what your students need, and then go forth and research! The students we service today need to be engaged. Using games to help reinforce concepts taught in class, when done correctly (with teacher support and monitoring, is a win for both the student and the educator.
I originally posted this on Twitter but decided to consolidate the posts into one post. Still mainly a collection of thoughts. I truly believe that we can fix this through education. It always starts with a spark, but I challenge you to read this and think about what I'm saying. Stop listening to what the politicians and media say. I believe this.
So here it goes:
"Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." Such powerful words today. So much fear. So much anger. So much hate. It’s not one man’s fault. It’s all of our faults.
It’s not all of education’s fault but it is a big part of this problem. We teach our students to fear weapons. We teach to tests. We haven’t taught respect for life for a generation. Communication.
We haven’t let our kids just be kids. We don’t let them learn outside. We don’t teach respect for weapons. Some of us do, and it works. I’ve seen it work with archery. We shoot weekly in the school. Bows and arrows and 4th and 5th graders. Safely. Because we EDUCATE!
So let’s fix this problem we are trying to band aid fix by blaming an inanimate object for all the problems with violence in this country. Why don’t we do something innovative. Try something daring. Bring weapon safety BACK INTO the schools and have the patience to see it work.
Archery is the second safest activity you can do besides ping pong. That’s not made up. It’s an actual statistic. Please fact check it. Why is it so safe? Because we TEACH it (safety) from day 1, and we expect it. And the students practice it every time they do the process.
So explain how any other deadly weapon is any different. Education can remove the fear and instill respect. Respect for a tool and respect for life. We can help fix this problem but we have to join together and get past politics and do what’s best for our kids and our future!
So let’s be innovative. Let’s be better than the politicians. Let’s get our kids outside and use that to teach academics. Teach outside the box. Teach respect for life. Teach conservation. Teach safety, teach communication. Compassion. Let let them be kids and grow with them.
People keep saying “We have to do something.” Then skip the bandaid and let’s get busy changing the world. And to those who say it can’t be done, I ask “why can’t it?” What’s holding us back? Reach out. Collaborate. Use technology. We have the resources and the ability. Act.
STASTICALLY...with the demographics at our school; someone should have been injured. Sub-teen aged students with bows and arrows...with deadly weapons capable of taking a life. But amazingly, my archery students excelled. They learned to set goals, They learned to be self sufficient and to believe in their own God given abilities to achieve their goals. They got in less trouble. They attended tutorials. They worked hard. They passed and most importantly...they grew...as students, as archers, and as individuals. Archery brought us together and built a relationship between the coaches and students that most teachers never get to experience. We took 22 of the lowest socioeconomic students to the Texas State Archery tournament and there were twice as many family members there as students. The band and cheerleaders met us at school along with the Superintendent of schools and a host of central office leaders and gave us a sendoff of a lifetime. Tears were flowing. Joyful tears.
Now I see tears of pain for a tragic loss of life, and politicians on both sides playing politics, and anger, and hatred. People blame parents. Do they play a part in all of this. Yes. Yes they do, but archery teaches self reliance. You can't control what anyone else does, but you can control your own actions and reactions. So let's focus on what WE as TEACHERS can change. WE can change education if we choose to. We can be innovative if WE choose to. We can TEACH kids how to change the world and make it a better place if WE CHOOSE to.
I have four children of my own, ages 7, 5, 5, and 5 (yes...triplets). They all know archery. They can ALL shoot a firearm (.22LR). They know to ask before touching anything but they are welcome to handle any firearm in the safe, and yes I keep them under lock and key. But they know they only need to ask an we teach them how to safely handle them, so I also ask parents to make a choice WITH US!
Ladies and gentlemen - If we want to fix this problem, then let us fix the problem. If OUR kids at our school can do it, yours can too. Educate them. Start an archery program. Get an outdoor education program going. Look into the Liink Project. TEACH!
I realize this post originiated back in May, but hey...it's been a busy summer...and that is a totally separate blog post! So let's step back in time a few months and pick up where we left off, shall we?
Last week Monday was a day. I mean A DAY....like one of those days when you want to go run away and join the circus and never come back kind of days. Then I get an email from my principal telling me about how I'm supposed to do some kind of math enrichment for the 5th graders that passed both the Reading and Math STAAR tests back in April, and she wants to meet on Tuesday to discuss the details.
Great. After today....bring it on. Cue music! "Hit me with your best shot!"
Fast forward to Tuesday, and I finally get to meet with my Principal and Assistant Principal. She wanted to do math enrichment for the students who passed both tests. OK. The science teacher then said that she wanted them doing science enrichment stuff since the Science STAAR was coming up. OK.
All of that sounded like more of the same of what they'd been doing all year long. I wanted to challenge these kids and push them academically, but also do something SO different than what they had been doing all year. Then it hit me. Engineering. That's both science and math, and it's all applied, so boom...there's my real world connection. Since we were doing this in basically a small group setting, Project Based Learning also sounded like a good fit. But there was one issue.
I'd never taught PBL. Ever.
Did I mention that we were starting tomorrow?
So I got on the phone with my friend Leena. She's the Sales and Professional Development Manager for CodeMonkey. If you've never heard of them, go check them out...it's fabulous. I'm a Teacher Ambassador, so of course, I love the program....but that's another blog. Leena is a seasoned vet in the PBL world, so after chatting on the phone for over an hour that night, I was fired up and ready with a challenge.
PBL Day 1: The Paper Bridge Challenge
Wednesday - Today was our first day in class. We started out talking about norms. The biggest thing I wanted to stress to the students is that in this class, we celebrate failure. I told them I wanted them to fail, and they are going to fail a bunch. Instantly, you could feel the tension grow in the classroom. Failure was bad. What was he doing telling us we were going to fail??
We set up our Engineer Notebooks and left space for notes on challenges as well as a reflection page for each day. I wanted them to reflect on the precious day on what they learned, challenges they faced, likes, dislikes, drawings, etc.
So the initial challenge was this: You have 15 minutes to build a bridge that holds the weight of a school dictionary. You have one sheet of paper, tape and 15 minutes....we WILL TEST your designs when he alarm sounds. GO!
It was chaos....excited chaos, engaged chaos, but chaotic nonetheless. My control-freak teacher senses were pegged and then I took a moment to watch and listen. They were all discussing ideas. They were problem solving. They were asking questions and then testing their ideas. It was beautiful.
Most questions they asked were met with another question on my part.
Student: "Can we tape our paper to the plastic buckets?"
Me: "Do the build instructions say you can't?"
Students: "So can we?"
Me: "It doesn't say that you can't"
Students (frustrated): "Just tell us what to do!"
Me: "Nope....you have all the info you need. Figure it out."
So then they started taking some risks....perfect!
The next thing they knew, they'd done several prototypes, but successful and not (mostly not and that was the whole idea) and it was 12:30 and time for lunch. They were shocked. "what do you mean it's time for lunch?? We just got here!" "Nope....you have been working nonstop for 2.5 hours!" They were shocked. So was I at how smoothly things had gone and how much the students enjoyed what we were doing.
PBL Day 2: Paper bridge continued
Thursday - We met up out in our portable for day two. I was excited to get started and so were the kids.
We did a short debrief of the previous day, and then I gave them 15 minutes to reflect on the previous day in their notebooks.
This time for the challenge, we extended it. I gave them 30 minutes to research anything that might help them with the challenge...bridge design, strong structures, etc. Many of them googled the challenge itself and got build ideas from that. I also changed the build requirements slightly and added a total of 5 sheets of paper. The designs were definitely more refined and I started seeing the use of supports and columns underneath their road decks.
PBL Day 3: Punt Formation
Friday - We were met with an obstacle today. They were going to be using the portable room to show movies as an attendance prize for classrooms that had 97% or higher perfect attendance that week. That put a little crimp on our plans for engineering.
We met in the computer lab and took on a new challenge: Build a Digital Portfolio.
Why not? They all agreed that creating some type of slide show or using some other type of digital media to showcase their learning during this PBL time would be cool.
So Google Sites it was. They created a site, added a home page, a PBL Page, and a "MY Stuff" page. Each page has a reflection on the activity, and pictures of the activity. I took pics and uploaded them to a Google Drive folder, Then shared the link to that folder with them through Google Classroom. All they had to do to gain access to the entire contents of the folder in their Google Shared Drives was to open the link from classroom.
Once again, it was lunchtime before they knew it and left wanting more time to work. Most of them were nearly finished with their websites. One more day in the computer lab and they should have those finished.
PBL Day 4: Paper Bridge Final Day
Monday - Since we had to punt on Friday do to double booking of the portable, we finished up the Bridge Challenge today. We began our day with a reflection on last week, and then split back into groups for a final day of research. We did two more runs of research, prototyping and testing, making sure that they used the engineering design process that we studied on day one.
One thing that added an extra bit of a challenge to these activities was that the students also had science tutoring that ran concurrently with our PBL "enrichment" class, so students were exiting and entering the room in the middle of the project.
That created an even more "real world" situation in that the students had to bring their incoming team members up to speed on the current stage of the build or face starting from the beginning. Some did start over at first, and then later realized that starting mid project was better since they could communicate with their project members and all be on the same page within a few minutes.
PBL Day 5: Paper Airplane Engineering
Tuesday - Today we started a new project - Paper Airplane Engineering.
We used data tables this time to record the distances. Each team was a paper airplane manufacturing company that were designing an airplane that they could produce rapidly to my (the customer's) specs.
We did our research right off the bat and they started building prototypes. They had 30 minutes to research and design, and then we tested our initial group of planes.
They then had an additional 30 minutes to refine their designs and come up with a final prototype.
THEN they had to build me (the customer) a total of four identical airplanes in 5 minutes or less.
That proved to be more of a challenge than anything since several teams had airplanes that used some complex folds. Although they flew great and met the criteria for flight, they failed to win the build contract because their designs were too complex and couldn't be reproduced in the required time.
This turned out to be a huge real world connection for them.
PBL Day 6: Paper Drop Challenge
So the paper drop challenge was basically a whirligig challenge but with a TON of math. They had a target zone in which they needed to land their falling objects as close to as possible and record the distances from the center. They also needed to time their drops in order to reevalute their build and rebuild in order to achieve the longest possible drop times.
This was daunting at first with our students, but we practiced a few examples from some sample data that we created together and actually used variables with subscripts to make the formulas simpler. They told me that they really felt like engineers because they were using math to help them with something "real world" just like real engineers. It was a neat moment to watch them really start to believe in themselves.
PBL Day 7: Paper Drop, day 2
We finished the rest of the prototyping and spent the day gathering data on their final designs and calculated our results. The students were actually pretty quiet because this was their last day out in the portable doing PBL. Most expressed feelings of sadness because they wanted to continue. I did too. I found that I was able to develop some very good relationships with some students who I had not had a chance to interact with much other than during tech apps class.
I have included the slide presentation for the notebooks the students created. It's crude, but like Austin's Butterfly - it's a good first attempt. I am honestly looking forward to learning more and getting into more pure project based learning over challenges...but the challenges were truly eye opening as to the possibilities that PBL holds.
PBL Day 8: Final Reflections
Last day with the kids and we spent it in the lab finishing their digital portfolios. The students were initially quiet like the day before, but soon were engaged in chatter. Mostly about the past week in reflective fashion, and lots about their portfolios and adding to their "personal" sections. I felt that it was important for them to make their sites as much about them as it was about what they learned over the past few days. They learned so much and most of them realized that as they looked back. So did I.
Back when I was in 5th grade, I caught pneumonia right around Easter. I missed school for something like ten days and I missed a ton of work. Not only did I miss a bunch of work, I failed to complete a bunch of work as well, and at the end of the six-weeks grading period, my parents received a phone call from my teacher letting them know that I had a 69 in her class and she wanted to know how to proceed.
"Flunk him. Let him fail," was the unified response from my parents. So report cards came out, and to my complete horror, was a 69....in RED ink...on my report card (back in the days of hand written report cards...my mom still has a copy of it). I was horrified, embarrassed, disappointed in myself, you name it; if it was a bad emotion, I felt it.
Then my Dad walked in my room. I was sitting on my bed in tears, and his presence surely meant that there was some discipline fixing to be imparted upon my posterior. I was sure of it.
Instead, he taught me one of the most valuable lessons he ever taught me. He simply asked me, "now...you got yourself into this. What do you plan to do about it? Are you going to quit or are going to be a Unicorn?" Ok...clean off you monitor and let me explain. My Dad was the Vice Principal at New Braunfels High School and the Unicorn was our mascot. To my knowledge, it's the only school in the USA with a Unicorn as a mascot. To us...that meant something. You see, to us, a Unicorn was a mythical beast that stood for all possibilities, wisdom, strength, and purity. It was a set of values that was instilled in all New Braunfels children from Kindergarten on up. Unicorn Pride is Justified was our motto, and we believed it.
So now I had a decision to make, and I chose to be a Unicorn and fight. I worked. Hard.
The next six weeks rolled around and I had a 100 in 5th grade Science, ended up with an A for the year, and I learned a valuable lesson which still holds true today.
You have to learn from failure.
Parents - let your kids fail. Let them fail miserably.
Teachers - let your students fail, and let them fail miserably.
But here's the catch. You have to be there for guidance, but THEY have to solve this problem. They have to go through that conflict, the struggle. That's hard to watch as parents and educators because, especially for teachers, you are a compassionate person and you WANT to help. That's one of the reasons you got into education in the first place - to help kids. THEN HELP THEM, and LET THEM FAIL! THEN help them learn from those failings.
There's a TON of quotes out there that address this exact situation:
"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default." -J.K. Rowling
"I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying." -Michael Jordan
"Don't be afraid to fail. Don't waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It's OK to fail. If you're not failing, you're not growing." -H. Stanley Judd
"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." -Winston Churchill
Here's a ton more: https://www.inc.com/wanda-thibodeaux/25-quotes-that-will-help-you-recover-from-any-failure.html
This is called a "Growth Mindset" and I hate to break it to a bunch of people, but this concept is not new. Not at all. This exactly the mindset that my Dad expected of me. "So you failed....what are you going to do about it?"
I see this with my elementary technology kiddos when we work on coding with Code Monkey. Students will be working diligently trying to write successful code, and too often after one attempt, they walk up and ask for help. Help to them is code for "I cant do this, please do it for me and I'll act like I'm watching."
They get SO mad when I just ask more questions.
"Did you run your code?" "Did you check with Gordo (the teaching assistant who gives hints on how to solve)?" "Have you tried typing something?" (as I look at a blank screen).
Nine out of ten times, the answer is "no", to which I reply, "well....what are you going to do about it?" (sound familiar?) That is followed up with a couple of hints or a gentle nudge in the right direction, but I absolutely will not go solve their problem for them.
Never heard of Growth Mindset and Computational Thinking? Check them out. Put them in practice.
Most of all. Let you kid fail.
Then let them be Unicorns.
I recently had the opportunity to attend the South by SouthWest EDU (SXSWEDU) conference for a day, and what a DAY it was. It really was an eye opening experience and was beyond my expectations. What I mean by that, is that I was expecting it to be similar to TCEA - an incredible, amazing, wonderful education conference that is put on by some truly caring and amazing folks. I expected to see tons of teachers....from Texas. That is where my expectations fell WAY short. SXSW is an international conference and of the people I was able to meet and visit with, I'd say maybe 20% of the attendees are actual teachers. Though I am unsure of the actual breakdown, that seems to be about right, with the rest of the attendees compromising industry professionals, developers, consultants, etc.
What that presents, to me, is an incredible opportunity to collaborate with some of the best and brightest in the industry on an international level. Talk about eye opening! Too often, we reach a level of complacency talking to people in our own field at the regional or at most, the state level. It is inspiring and humbling at the same time to meet educators from Kansas City, Chicago, California, Pittsburg, Colorado, etc., and listen to their best practices and innovative ideas that they are using in their classrooms. Some conversations make you feel like, "Yeah! I/we hit the nail right on the head with that thing we're doing in class" and you feel this rush of affirmation. Conversely, you talk to folks at schools that are at the forefront of innovative teaching practices, and feel so behind, yet so inspired to push yourself to work harder to provide the best experiences for your students.
Attending this conference reminded me of a quote that our Director of Digital Learning shared with us last week. The quote was from Dr. Gary Stager, who said, "Schools have a sacred obligation to introduce children to things they don’t yet know they love." I believe that these education conferences are an amazing way to do just that.
So I want to leave you with a take away from that one workshop that I was fortunate to attend.
Below is a video called "Austin's Butterfly"
Here is a link to the site.
So the question that I'm going to leave you with is this:
Are we getting the absolute best out of our students? If not, what can we do as educators to promote that in our students? LOTS of possibilities. Feel free to discuss in the comments.
Ever thought to yourself, "Self...I wish I had a cool resource to use to get my kids engaged and reinforce some of their learning?"
If you answered "yes", then SketchUp for Schools might be something you can use.
"What is this program you speak of?" you ask.
It's a web based version of SketchUp, a 3D modeling program that is used in the professional world by artist, graphics designers, architects, etc. The desktop version obviously has WAY more bells and whistles than the online version, but the online version is 100% free for all to use. It even integrates with your Google accounts, so saving files and sharing files for collaboration is a piece of cake.
Here is a presentation that I did in 2018 at the TCEA Convention in Austin, TX on Using SketchUp in the Elementary Grades.
And here is the link to SketchUp for Schools.
If you happen to have a 3D printer at your disposal - then you have everything you need to create and print 3D models.
Please check out the presentation for academic connections and a huge list of resources.
Last year, I had this hair brained idea to help promote computational thinking on our campus through the use of mini drones. I went to a training at our central office where there were a few of these cool little devices and we were able to write short computer programs through the Tynker app on the iPads. I remember how completely new and exciting it was for me and wanted to try this with my elementary students.
I was initially able to purchase a couple drones through a donation from DonorsChoose.org and of course, purchased one for myself because I wanted to play too. We learned how to fly and ran some code on the drones, but I didn't have any curriculum available.
Fast forward to this school year. Another grant from DonorChoose.org and we now own 6 Mambo Parrot mini drones. The kids learned about block coding during the hour of code in December and that set them up to start using drones with the Tynker app on the iPads that we have available in the computer lab. We still didn't have any curriculum that I was satisfied with and didn't have time to write my own, nor did we have the funds to purchase the modules from Tynker. The content, however is available from them should you decide to use their lessons and just not do the online component. The plans are GREAT. Finally, through some serious in depth searching; I found something that worked perfectly for us.
This curriculum worked like a champ. There is a scope and sequence at the end, as well as the corresponding lessons. We are a Google district and I use Google Classroom in the computer lab with my 2nd - 5th grade students. Drones will be used with just 3rd - 5th graders, so I set about taking the lessons and creating assignments in Classroom.
This is what the students see in classroom. I have a few more lessons to load up, but you get the idea.
There are videos that have been created that are used in the lessons and they are simple and easy to follow. Any quiz or assessment/knowledge check were re-done in Google Forms, and the challenges were copied into Google Docs. This is an example of how we use this in Classroom. I have my students for 25 minutes twice a week, so this amount of material is plenty for once class period.
The kids at my school are absolutely IN LOVE with this unit. They are completely engaged and excited. Our final project after they learn how to fly remotely, and then code the drones to fly autonomously, there are a series of additional challenges that I developed that use PVC gates for them to fly their drones through, around under, etc. We even have a balloon pop, since you can attach a lego brick to the top part of the drone.
I will get some live action shots of my students flying the challenges as soon as we get them running.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I have.
Bartholomew, Jordan Lynn and Mayo, Russell Scott, "Development of a 4th-8th Grade Curriculum for Flying and Programming Mini Drones" (2018). All Graduate Plan B and other Reports. 1203. https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/gradreports/1203
What are these Technology Application TEKS you speak of and how am I going to use them in my classroom?
That's a great question, and the answer for most of us is that we already incorporate these TEKS in our classrooms quite often without even realizing it. If you are using technology in your classrooms in any meaningful capacity, they you are most likely implementing the Technology Application TEKS and just need to notate them in your lesson plans.
Here's a breakdown of the TEKS from the TEA Website. We will also discuss possible ways to integrate technology into your classrooms to implement these TEKS.
The Technology Applications TEKSThe Technology Applications Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) found in 19 TAC Chapter 126 describe what students should know and be able to do using technology. These TEKS are to be used when providing instruction in Technology Applications. The goal of the Technology Applications TEKS is for students to gain technology-based knowledge and skills and to apply them to all curriculum areas at all grade levels. These TEKS are organized by grade clusters for K-2, 3-5, 6-8 with benchmarks at Grades 2, 5, and 8 and organized by courses at Grades 9-12. There are four common strands for Grades K-12: Foundations, Information Acquisition, Work in Solving Problems, and Communication.
Students gain basic skills such as inputting information, beginning touch keyboarding and becoming familiar with the computer. Using technology, students access information that can include text, audio, video, and graphics. They use computers and related technology to make presentations and prepare projects for foundation curriculum areas.
Students use proper keyboarding techniques and acquire information by selecting the most appropriate search strategies. Students use word processing, graphics, databases, spreadsheets, simulations, multimedia, and telecommunications. They solve problems and communicate information in various formats and to a variety of audiences and evaluate their results.
Students become fluent in using multiple software applications and applying them across the curriculum. They build on the Grades 3-5 knowledge and skills. The students continue to demonstrate keyboarding proficiency in technique and posture while building speed. The TEKS can be taught integrated into other areas (such as English Language Arts and Reading, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science), as a separate class, or both.
Students have a variety of options from the adopted courses which allow for growth, specialization, integration into other curriculum areas, and preparation for the technological world. The high school courses in Technology Applications, Chapter 126 include:
Computer Science I, Computer Science II, Desktop Publishing, Digital Graphics/Animation, Multimedia, Video Technology, Web Mastering, and Independent Study in Technology Applications.
Enrichment TEKS Required
RESEARCH AND INFORMATION FLUENCY
CRITICAL THINKING PROBLEM SOLVING AND DECISION MAKING
WEB 2.0 AND TECH APPS
TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION SITES
My wife is working on her Master's degree in Library Science at the University of North Texas (go Eagles!) Being a tech person, of course, means that I get to participate in some of her assignments. This has proven to be not only fun, but very educational for me as well.
One resource that I found that I would like to share is their "Best Websites for Teaching and Learning 2018" There are some really GREAT sites here for teachers and students and the best part is that a huge percentage of them are also very much FREE!
Best Websites for Teaching & Learning 2018
Best Websites for Teaching & Learning 2017
Best Websites for Teaching & Learning 2016
Best Websites for Teaching & Learning 2015
Finally, from the AASL website, we have the list of landmark websites. They are all free and "user friendly and encourage a community of learners to explore and discover and provide a foundation to support 21st-century teaching and learning."
Landmark Websites for Teaching & Learning
There are TONS of tips and tricks that are available for using Google Education. You will find some how-to videos below.
Use Your Phone as a Google Slide Presentation Remote
I found this article on the TCEA Tech Notes Page. Special thanks to Diana Benner for the article.
Please see the links below for the article. REALLY cool stuff!!
There is also a link to an article on Fabulous Presentations with Google Slides, also thank you to Diana Benner.
USE YOUR PHONE AS A GOOGLE SLIDE PRESENTATION REMOTE
FABULOUS PRESENTATIONS WITH GOOGLE SLIDES
Google Science Journal
If you're looking to go digital with science, please take a minute to check out Google Science Journals.
Oh....did I mention it's free?