In my 4-5th grade class I have 12 chrome books that my students can use for typing their stories, essays, reports, research, and online activities. We love google drive and am looking forward to the “classroom edition” coming out this fall.
Before my students can have full access to the computers, we spend the first quarter learning how to take care of our computers and learning how to type.
1. Learn how to take care of the computers
I have my computers stored in a paper sorting shelf. I demonstrate how to take out the computers, set them on a table, turn them on, log in, turn them off, and put them back. I also require my students to wash their hands before they can use a computer – we have a sink in the classroom.
2. Learn to type properly
It’s important for my students to be able to type efficiently. So along with learning how to write cursive, they also learn proper keyboarding techniques. I like to use the free website www.powertyping.com. First of all, it’s free! And second it’s goes through each letter group (such as FDSA and JKL;) in a logical order emphasizing a steady rhythm. After they complete each lesson, the website gives them a score, so they can see their progress. I am working on creating a buddy system for my students to partner and work with each other on each lesson. The website also has fun games to do when all the lessons are complete.
3. Prove your skills
When my students are confident with typing (not exactly fluid yet), and demonstrate that they know how to take care of our computers. I give them a quick skill test: get a computer, log in, create a file, share it with me (using google docs), etc. And if they pass, they get a computer skill card that they can just show me anytime they want to get on a computer.
4. Make a fun crafty lanyard
My kids had a blast creating their own lanyards to hold their computer pass. I had the students bring in those plastic clamshells (from salads, take out food, etc).
They traced my template onto a section of clear plastic and used my special punch to make the holes. Then they traced around a piece of felt. They sewed the two together as well as making a long loop. They had such fun!
5. Follow clear instructions
I try to provide clear directions when I want my students to go to certain websites. I like to give them webquests and often send them a google doc that has the links that they need for their research. It’s often hard for them to exactly type in a website address.
For my math center games, I have recipe cards that they can use to scan in the QR code, type in the simplified URL, as well as open the PDF file and then just click on the simplified URL to go to the website.
I hope these tips can help you manage your computer centers!
EMW Products that Support a Successful Computer Center:
- Typing Lessons (coming soon)
- Computer Center Recipe Cards for 2nd grade
- Computer Center Recipe Cards for 3rd grade
- Computer Center Recipe Cards for 4th grade (coming soon)
- Computer Center Recipe Cards for 5th grade (coming soon)