Aces and Eights



Amazing Technology


Third Graders



I have often wondered if the students are using the computers to enhance the learning that is going on in the regular classroom or are we using the classroom materials to assist in our computer projects. I believe that we are doing both. I also know that my students enjoy their time in the lab and they are excited to go there and work. I can honestly say, I have never had a student come up to me and ask if they get to write a book report that day. Students are always asking if we get to go to the lab! What a nice change!

-Susan Sommers


Digital Natives

Your third-grader may use word-processing software, draw and paint software (Kid Pix), spreadsheet programs like Excel and AppleWorks to organize data and make graphs and presentation software (such as PowerPoint) to complete activities in a range of subject areas, including language arts, science, social studies, math, and art. These activities, which integrate computers into the classroom curriculum, are the first steps to technological literacy: Using tools to solve problems.

Internet Research

In third grade your child may visit websites the teacher has bookmarked to further explore what is being taught in class. She may go on a virtual field trip to the White House to learn about the government. She may also develop critical evaluation skills by beginning to learn to assess the credibility of websites. To reinforce learning at school, parents can help their child search the Internet to learn more about various topics. Comprehension is increased when people discuss what they have learned.

The Well-Equipped Classroom

Many states base their technology standards on the National Educational Technology Standards for Students. But because children aren't tested on their use of technology, teachers aren't typically held accountable for teaching them. That means computer use varies widely from classroom to classroom. Your third-grader may have one or more computer workstations in the classroom, may go to a computer lab once a week, or may not use technology regularly at all. To get the maximum benefit from technology, the best classrooms implement technology into the curriculum plans to develop students' higher order thinking skills, promote creativity, and facilitate academic learning.

What you might see in a well-equipped classroom









March 14, 2011

This week's featured classroom is Michael Thornton's third grade class at Meriwether Lewis Elementary School in Albemarle County, Virginia.

The kids are using technology - iPads and Twitter- to expand their education. In fact, they recently used Skype to communicate with a classroom in New York.

Here is what Mr. Thornton had to say about his students:

"I have 23 outstanding students who understand the importance of learning in a 21st century classroom. Our goal this year is to go beyond the constraining four walls of the classroom. Through two seed grants that I have received through Albemarle County, I have 25 IPad touches and two iPads in my room. The students use these resources as a lifeline to the outside world.

I am lucky to have a 1:1 classroom. In addition to these resources, the class uses a Twitter account to communicate with educators and classrooms throughout the world. This year via Twitter, we have communicated with astronauts, students in Canada, a Michigan State Professor, our Superintendent, New York Hall of Science and many, many other people. We also have used Skype in the classroom. We have Skyped with a class in New York. We have also Skyped to Egypt and Italy this year.

Through all of this my students are learning to be critical thinkers in the 21st century. We are also trying to eliminate the typical taboos of the school system. The picture above is an example of this. My students were studying communities. Specifically, they were studying the importance of communities, and common characteristics. We did an assignment where the students created communities on the floor. They were in groups of five and they literally drew their picture of a community on the floor."


One of the things that I enjoy most about my technology planning class is the opportunity to learn more about what’s happening in the world of K-12 teachers. Those of us in higher education read papers about the shaping of the Net Generation while our colleagues in the schools are living it every day. Every week I learn more about the kinds of pressures that teachers are under–particularly in this world of SOL’s and other high stakes testing. Every once in a while, though, I get a sense of the energy and creativity that teachers are able to unleash. Barbara Ganley blogged about a weekly podcast by members of a third grade class that certainly got my attention. These third graders won’t be entering college for a nearly a decade, and it’s hard to imagine the expectations they’ll bring with them when they hit the campuses if they keep using tools like these to enhance their learning.

Since last April, Bob’s third graders have been making weekly podcasts–third graders. (In third grade I was copying letters, practicing times tables and trying to avoid getting into trouble with my oh-so-scary teacher. ) I love the way he has kids summarizing highlights from the week (Word-of-the-week ‘s use of interviews was terrific, for instance). Bob talked a bit about how devoting time to the weekly shows has helped his students develop their speaking and writing voices, understand the flow of sentences, and consolidate the learning for the week. It’s such a great and easy idea–what a natural in the elementary school environment! Imagine what students reaching my doors are going to be able to do and want to do if they are podcasting and making on-line newsletters in third grade. College teachers had better wake up!






Welcome to the Webster Class Wiki!! 2007-2008

The World is our Classroom!




Who are we?

We are a group of second and third graders in Southern California who are using technology to help us share what we are learning with the world! We are so excited that people are really reading our writing! We hope you enjoy reading our wiki! Please leave us comments above in the discussion tab or email Ms. Webster.

Who's reading our Wiki?

Everytime someone reads our wiki, it leaves a dot on our map. Here is our archived map from the school year! 3,088 visits! To see how many visits we've had since the school year ended, scroll down.

What is a wiki?

A wiki is a webpage that anyone can edit or revise. It is about collaboratively building knowledge together. For ideas on how to use a wiki in the classroom, check out this Wiki-Walkthrough.


Our current Cluster Map:




For a listing of other Educational Wikis, click here http://educationalwikis.wikispaces.com/

Wiki Waranty- Responsible use of the wiki




Technical Resources


Instant Message Application: Skype, Yahoo, GoogleTalk, and AIM

Although there are many Instant messenger applications on the market, Skype is probably the best one. It has a million plug-ins you can choose to make your ability to connect and interact over distances even stronger than a standard account with Yahoo or America Online Instant Messenger.

Social Bookmarking Sites: Delicious or Diigo

For more information about how social bookmarking sites work, watch this brief video on the Common Craft Show: Social bookmarking in plain English.

Productivity Bundle: Open Office Suite

You will need to have, at a minimum, word-processing software such as Microsoft Word. If you do not have productivity software or if you use word-processing software that is uncommon, you can download a free suite called OpenOffice that has a very similar layout to Microsoft Office. The software bundle includes a word processor, a speadsheet application, and a presenter application similar to Power Point.


Blog Sites: blogspot;edublogs;wordpress

For more information about how blogs work, watch this brief video on the Common Craft Show:
Blogs in plain English

RSS Feed Catchers: bloglines; feedreader; google.reader

For more information about how RSS feed catchers work, watch this brief video on the Common Craft Show: RSS feeds in plain English.

Wiki Sites:

For a free private wikispace for educators go to: wikispaces for teachers

For a free public wikispace that anyone can use, go to: wikispaces,or pbwik

For more information about how a Wiki works, watch this brief video on the Common Craft Show: Wikis in plain English

Podcasting Resource Sites:

Sites for Audio Only Podcasts: podcastmachine, podbean, or iTunes

Sites for Audio/Video podcasts podcastforteachers; youtube

Phonecasts: gabcast or gcast

Audacity— Free software that can be downloaded and used for recording audio in your computer and editing the audio once you have recorded it.

For more information about how a podcast works, watch this brief video on the Common Craft Show: Podcasting in Plain English.



Additional Sites of Interest


Club Penguin






Second Life




-Laureate Education


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