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    computer in the room
    By emme

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    We have a computer room, and my class has assigned time in there once a week. However, on my classroom computers, I have Kid Pix Deluxe, Millie's Math House, Bailey's Book House and Sammy's Science House. There is a series featuring Franklin (Franklin's Adventures, Franklin Learns Math) that the kids also like.

    I introduce one activity at a time, modelling it for the whole class. Then I use a class list and color in squares by their name as they get to the computer to try that activity. I use a digital timer and they know who they are to get for the next turn when it rings. (Usually 10 or 15 mins). While they are gone they display a stand up card on their desk that says "Gone to the Computer". I made it with clip art. That way I don't wonder where they are.

    I do not have anyone on the computer during direct instruction, but I make every effort to get them all through as soon as possible so they are familiar with that activity. My goal is that I want them to be able to use these programs independently. Sometimes, for certain activities, they can work in pairs - one makes the choices, the other handles the mouse. Their two little bottoms fit just fine on one full sized computer chair, and you get through the list much faster.

    Kid Pix is more successfully taught during a computer class where they can all explore (or follow your directions) at the same time. Then they can use KidPix in the room without much need of me around.

    I work the classroom computers into Centres and Free Choice too. And the class Student of the Day gets to stay in and use them at recess with a friend of their choice. We always publish one full class computer project each term, like an ABC book, Christmas Riddle book, or a Spring slide show. Just keep in mind that the computers are only a tool for promoting learning in your classroom. You don't have to feel guilty if they are occasionally "sitting idle" while you're using other teaching methods. Use them only when its convenient and appropriate.

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