Friday, August 10, 2012

This Week in the Preschool Computer Lab: Orientation (Revisited)

It's back to school time! Our kiddos went back to school a week ago, and Monday marks the first day of specials for our little ones. Most of my students this year will be four-year-olds, as opposed to the previous mix of three and four, almost all of my group are students returning from last year, and I'll have more self-contained special education classes than before. I'm eager to dive in and see what my year will look like with these changes.

As always I'll begin my computer lab year with an orientation lesson. We'll talk about what a computer is, how many have used computers at home, different kinds of computers, and the parts of the computer. We'll also review the lab rules. Now for that cornerstone of teaching: reflection. What would I like to change this year? Below are a few thoughts.

  • In order to make the hardware discussion more interactive and age-appropriate, I've gathered some materials to make this part of my lesson hands-on. I raided my attic for some "antique" computers and parts. This is easy when you have a tinkerer for a husband! I was able to gather (in separate pieces) a case with a removable side, an internal hard drive, an old-fashioned keyboard and mouse, and an old Macintosh Classic (pictured above). I plan to pull these out, show them to the kids, and pass around the items that are okay to touch.

  • I used a site called Growing With Technology: Katie's Room to talk about timelines and the history of computers at the end of the year. I'm toying with the idea of using it during orientation this year to show some of the old computers, or I may look up actual photos of the corresponding machines.

  • I might have students use sticky notes or something similar to respond to some sort of charted prompt at the beginning or end of class. For instance, put your sticky note on your favorite part of the computer, or next to the face that shows how you feel about computers. This is still formulating in my mind! Maybe we'll turn it into a bar graph or something.

  • I'd like to find a way to make the carpet time portion of my lesson shorter and more interactive without sacrificing all of the information I want students to hear. I've used the interactive whiteboard (IWB) in the past, but I'd love to make it a bit more fun. I'm still contemplating that one!
Now it's your turn! Tell us how your student group is different this year, what you'll do differently, and what you're doing to introduce the computer lab to your students! Let us hear from you in the comments!

Picture credit for Macintosh Classic:
Photo by Alexander Schaelss
Downloaded from WikiMedia Commons 
Further licensing information can be found there. 

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