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Technology Agreement

September 29, 2021 | Ms. Jonker

The fourth graders are eagerly learning to use computers. This week, we’ve used the computers to practice typing, access assignments on Google Classroom, and explore Mustard Seed’s online library.

Working with the computers has been a “gradual release of responsibilities.” In one of our first computer literacy lessons, we used a lesson from Common Sense Media called “Rings of Responsibility.” We thought the responsibilities we have to ourselves, others, and the community. After categorizing different non-computer responsibilities into the categories below, we did the same for computer and technology-related responsibilities.

In the spirit of “gradual release,” we practiced signals without computers for a few days before starting to signal with a computer. “Signals” refers to moments when a teacher gets the class’s attention. If you haven’t already heard from them, I encourage you to ask your child what some of our class signals are! Many students have pointed out how difficult it is to give the teacher your attention while you’re knee-deep in an exciting computer task.

The students came up with a hefty tech agreement for our class this year. It takes up a significant portion of our front wall. This is fitting, since computer use is something the students care about a lot, and since computer use comes with so many responsibilities.

Students broke into groups to write this agreement. Each group focused on one topic and wrote “we agree” statements for that topic. They wrote as many as they could think of, and they did think of many! We then numbered each “we agree” statement, and then each student (and teacher!) signed a statement that they felt would be particularly challenging for them.

In the next few weeks, I will be sending home the MSS Technology Acceptable Use Policy/Agreement for you and your child to sign.

Our goal is for the gradual release at school to move at an appropriate pace for each child and give them digital literacy skills that will empower in everyday life and at school. I hope that these official agreements will also serve as a meaningful reference point as we navigate the many challenges and joys of having access to technology. We are blessed!

Kat Jonker

Teacher, Grades 4

Kat Jonker is energized by how passionately Mustard Seed School nurtures each student to blossom into the person God has made them to be. She’s honored to teach and learn beside the fourth and fifth grade students here.

Ms. Jonker’s always been surrounded and inspired by dedicated teachers--including her mother! When she began teaching private violin lessons as a high school student, Ms. Jonker began to think about teaching as a career. Soon she realized her passion for teaching and learning as an Elementary Education with an integrated science major at Calvin College. There she flourished as an assistant teacher at Calvin’s middle school chemistry camp. She also led elementary nature programs at Calvin’s ecosystem preserve.

Music remains one of Ms. Jonkers passions and you’ll sometimes get to hear her playing in worship. She’s an avid violin player and spent a disproportionately large amount of her college life in string quartet rehearsals. She listens to music constantly and likes to keep it eclectic, so if you have any music recommendations, send them her way.

Grand Rapids, Michigan, is Ms. Jonker’s home town. Through God-gifted communities of faith there, she found her roots in grace and a life of service.

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