Monday, September 30, 2013

Catching up & moving forward...

The last two weeks have been a frenzy...
... we are getting all classes set up & doing basic vocabulary review

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Some quick-key reveiw

Friday, September 13, 2013

Week 1 is in the books!

The first week of school is officially behind us!

This week was an entire week of firsts. Every period was a new class (with one exception - Ms. Bookman's class is the only one that has Computers 2x a week). We got all of the "first day" stuff out of the way, the rules & routines...
... next week we get into the nitty gritty....

  • 2nd grade - we'll be reviewing login procedures, basic vocabulary and discussing password creation
  • 3rd grade - same as 2nd plus organizing last year's work into new folders - a quick folder creation & management lesson
  • 4th grade - same as 3rd plus the beginning a re-fresher Word document (a quick assignment to review what was learned last year).
  • 5th grade - same as 4th, but the goal will be to start & finish the document in less than 20 minutes

Each year I build on the last. Each year we start by reviewing the previous year. The initial document is a way to do a quick assessment of the things remembered & forgotten (much like the initial reading assessments all teachers give in September). As the grades progress the document should be easier and easier to handle, hence the diminishing time allotted.

The next 2 weeks will be about all of that as well as troubleshooting. After a summer of shut-down the machines often need a little fine-tuning. We also ensure all student accounts are functioning properly, software is updated, and so forth. By the beginning of October we will be full-steam-ahead on projects and Google Apps for all grades...

Looking forward to it!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Welcome to the 2013-2014 school year!

Welcome back!

As we begin the 2013-2014 school year I want to give everyone an overview of the approach for this year and the new platforms we will be using.

In the past everything was centered around the "mrcasal" name. There was,, @mr_casal, and so on. This year I wanted to try something new. I wanted to center everything not around me but around what we do in the PS 10 computer lab, starting with the focal point of the year, this site. is the new hub for everything we do in the computer lab (with Mr. Casal). Instead of one site for curriculum ( and a different site for blog work ( I have put it all here, at

For the 2013-2014 school year everything we do will be based off of this site. There will be blog assignment homework for students in grades 3-5 just as there has been in previous years. Those assignments will be on this site,

In addition to posting student blog assignments & curriculum on this site, I will also be updating it periodically with happenings of the lab. I'll post information about assignments, activities, portions of student work products, and general artifacts of the lab.

As always, I am a huge fan of Twitter. @PS10Tech is still active and will still serve as primarily a live student in-lab publishing tool but I will also be using it to post news & information about the lab.

A quick overview of what students will be doing:
(for more in depth curriculum outlines use the grade-by-grade tabs at the top of the page)

  • 2nd grade - Microsoft Word to support the writing process - creating & saving, typing, editing, revising, formatting, inserting pictures - by the end of the year 2nd graders should be able to create, from a blank page, a fully edited & revised publishable piece of original writing.
  • 3rd grade - Microsoft Word - a review of all things covered in Grade 2 + longer form writing assignments, Microsoft Powerpoint as an alternative publishing tool, proper internet reseraching techniques and blog commenting
  • 4th grade - Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and internet research review. 1 research-based presentation. Blog commenting. Student blog post creation on a shared class blog
  • 5th grade - Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and internet research review. 1 research-based presentation. Blog commenting. Independent student blog creation

The goal is to support the writing & publishing process across the grades by giving students exposure to a few of the most common content creating products. In addition, each grade builds upon the previous, ensure the core skills are reinforced while also moving more and more rapidly as the years progress to cover more and more ground.

Do we get to every aspect of technology in a year? No. Each class gets 50 minutes a week in the lab, no where near enough time to cover a fraction of what's possible. The goal, however, is to give each student the core skills to present & publish their ideas in the most possible ways. Ideally, they'll leave me & walk in to middle school with skill ahead of the expectation curve.

The biggest new thing for 2013-2014 is that every student in grades 2-5 will have unique Google Apps accounts. They will not have email access, but they will be able to use Google Drive to create projects & have access to their work beyond the computer lab, and beyond the walls of PS 10. The student are of the Google Apps domain is restrictive & customizable so some classes and/or grades might have more or less access than others. The full details will be outlined in a future blog post.

If you have any questions; student, staff or parent, feel free to post a comment here or email me.

Looking forward to a great year!