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!