MBESF Buccaneer Bytes

Do you remember growing up with blackboards, chalk dust, and maybe an overhead projector in your school classroom? Classrooms in 2019 look very different! The digital age has changed the education world and how teachers instruct our students. Classrooms are now equipped with Interactive Panels, document cameras, computers, printers, wifi, and iPads. Many classrooms also participate in BYOB, where students bring their own devices to school for digital learning.  When there is a glitch with the technology, it can be very frustrating for teachers to continue their lesson and students often lose focus. One of the things I do for our teachers, staff, and students at Mt. Bethel is to troubleshoot and resolve their technology glitches quickly so that they can keep our students engaged and get back to instruction.

Our teachers and students use many different online tools throughout the day like MobyMax, Reading and Math Inventory, Seesaw, Microsoft 365, Raz-Kids, and Flocabulary. Another part of my role at Mt. Bethel is to keep the student databases updated for our software subscriptions to those programs. By maintaining the subscriptions, the burden is taken off the classroom teacher so that they can focus on instruction. Many of these subscriptions are also available at home for additional practice and enrichment.

Every student at Mt. Bethel started out the school year by taking the Reading and Math Inventories on the computers. These online assessments are given county wide at least 3 times during the school year to each student. The assessments are helpful for teachers to determine reading and math levels for each student so that they can individualize instruction and form flexible groups for skill reinforcement. I help manage the computer labs and laptop carts so that each class can have access to the computers for these assessments within the county mandated assessment window. Additionally, I help some classes administer the assessments.

Over 300 iPads are being used each and every day in the classrooms, music, art, STEM, and the Learning Commons for individualized instruction and project based learning. Our goal at Mt. Bethel is to shift our students from technology consumers to digital creators. My role is to keep our iPads updated with the appropriate apps and tools so that teachers and students can use them effectively in the classroom. Thanks to the Mt. Bethel Foundation, we have a subscription again this year to a program on the iPads called Seesaw. Teachers and students are able to provide a digital portfolio of their work for parents to view at home and to share with their classmates at school.

Follow this blog for more useful technology information throughout the school year!

Keep those brains sharp during the summer!

Did you know that your student can have access to the Mt. Bethel Elementary School technology programs over the summer months?  Read below to find out what you can use to keep your child connected during the lazy days of summer.

Raz-Kids – Kindergarten through third grade students that used Raz-Kids in their classroom will still have access to reading with Raz-Kids during the summer break.

Cobb Digital Library – all students in kindergarten through fifth grades will still have access to the Cobb Digital Library that includes programs like BrainPop and Pebble Go.

MobyMax– the school subscription to MobyMax will continue through the summer so that students can practice their skills over the break.

Online Math Textbook – students can continue to access the online math textbook during the summer to print worksheets, watch tutorials, and play math games.

Cobb County Public Library – Cobb County Schools has partnered with the Cobb County Public Library System to bring you a Library P.A.S.S. Your child’s student number now works like a library card to provide your child with access to library books, audiobooks, databases like BookFlix, and ebooks.  Read about the Cobb County Library PASS by clicking HERE.

Have a great summer!

 

No More Hunt and Peck!

Many of us have become used to using our thumbs and fingers or dictating when we text on our mobile devices or tablets.  Proper keyboarding and typing skills is still important in our digital age and kids are never too young to learn the proper technique.

As a parent, I understand the importance of limiting screen time at home for our young children, but we also need to make sure that they are practicing useful computer skills, like typing, that will help them to be more successful in the classroom and beyond.  Learning how to navigate a computer, type, and use a mouse will help your students be more confident when their class uses the computers for school projects and assessments.  You can use some of these free online programs to make screen time valuable at home by practicing typing skills:

And remember, always encourage your children to use both hands when using a keyboard!  Happy typing!

Welcome Back!

computer imageWelcome back to school! I hope you all had a fun summer and that your student(s) were able to practice computer skills over the summer. We are looking forward to a fabulous year at Mt. Bethel!

Mt. Bethel students will visit the computer lab for many reasons during the school year. Depending on grade level, they might take assessments on desktop computers in Reading Inventory, Star Reading, Accelerated Reader, and/or the Milestones. They also use computers to access the Cobb Digital Library, to type projects in Word, read with Raz-Kids, use BrainPop, practice curriculum skills in MobyMax, and some grade levels will take the SLO Learning Assessments in their specials rotation.

In the world of touch screen technology, proper typing techniques and mouse skills are still necessary ones that we need to practice and master for schoolwork and assessments on the computers. Please stress to your child the importance of using proper typing techniques instead of “texting techniques” or the old hunt and peck! Also, if you have a laptop, it might be a good idea to invest in an old fashioned mouse so that they can practice pointing and clicking. Click HERE for tips and websites on practicing mouse skills. Mastering these skills will make online assessments and computer work easier at school!

Follow my Buccaneer Bytes blog throughout the year for technology updates and tips!

What’s a Mouse?

computer mouseThe new generation of children entering elementary school does not remember a day without iPhones, iPads, tablets, and touch screen computers. It is easy for children to just touch or drag their finger across a screen to play a game, open a screen, type, or select an answer. Unfortunately, many of the online assessments used in school today require students to use an old fashioned computer mouse to select answers – a skill that is a lost art of the new generation.

In the age of online computer assessments, strong mouse skills will be beneficial to your child. If you don’t have a traditional mouse on your home computer, you might want to consider adding one so that your child can practice their mouse skills at home. Please practice and model good mouse skills with your child at home on the computer. Always have them use their pointer finger to click the left side of the mouse and remind them to click near top of the mouse.

Using a mouse is also great exercise to develop your young child’s hand-eye coordination. You can easily search for games on the internet that school age children can use to practice mouse skills. I did a quick search and found several fun games for children to practice dragging and clicking with a traditional mouse. Below are the links to a couple of the online games that I found to practice good mouse skills.

Happy clicking!

http://minimouse.us/

http://www.zoodles.com/free-online-kids-games/pbs-kids_mouse-skills

www.abcya.com 

 

 

Cobb Library P.A.S.S. – Exciting New Partnership!

After months of working out logistics, Cobb County Schools has partnered with the Cobb County Public Library System to bring you a Library P.A.S.S. Your child’s student number now works like a library card to provide your child with access to library books, audiobooks, databases like BookFlix, and ebooks.

To log-in, you will need your child’s 7 digit number. This number is the same as their computer log-in and lunch number at school. Your child’s pin is their 2 digit birth month followed by their 2 digit birth day. For example: if your child’s birthday is January 7th, their pin would be 0107.

Follow the link below to start accessing all of the great resources that our county library system provides. There are also 2 links below that will take you directly to the FAQ and Parent pages provided by the Public Libraries. If you have any questions that are not answered on the FAQ or parent page, email Heather Kindschy, heather.kindschy@cobbk12.org , your child’s teacher or visit the staff at your closest public library branch.

Library PASS

Library PASS – FAQ

Library PASS – Parent Page

 

SOAR: Safe Orderly And Responsible – Bus Safety

On January 9, 10, and 11, Mt. Bethel students had the opportunity to attend an in-school field trip/safety program presented by CCSD bus drivers and officials from CCSD’s Transportation Department. This program is called SOAR: Safe ,Orderly and Respectful – important guidelines by which to abide when riding the bus. We encourage you to talk with your students about what they learned and to ask them what YOU can do as a driver and at the bus stop in increase safety.

Please CLICK HERE to read the PARENT LETTER. It contains what could be life-saving information regarding parent and student procedures and behavior.

Buccaneers rotated through four stations:

  1. Danger Zone: CLICK HERE TO LEARN ABOUT BUS DANGER ZONES
  2. Street Crossing: (Ask your child about the two finger sweep, how to signal the driver, what to do if the driver shows a hand signal to stop, Thumbs-Up Pick it Up, and Thumbs Down Leave it on the Ground
  3. Bus Behavior: CLICK HERE TO LEARN BUS SAFETY RULES and REVIEW THE SOAR PLEDGE.
  4. Evacuations: Ask your student two ways to evacuate a bus.

Do you want a chance to win a prize? Print and correctly complete THIS ACTIVITY SHEET, place your name and teacher on the back, and return to the front office! We will announce winners the last week in January!

We encourage parents to follow Hawkeye, CCSD’s Bus Safety Mascot, on Facebook. You can find him at this link or search for @Hawkeyemascot. He posts transportation information and provides bus safety tips! He is a valued contributor to the East Cobber Parade and helps each and every bus driver!

Mt. Bethel loves our drivers and the leadership in the Transportation Department who work hard on behalf of every bus rider! Questions/comments? Email: SOAR@cobbk12.org

Make Screen Time Meaningful

ipad imageThe holidays are here and many children will be getting new gadgets and spending screen time during family travel.  We all know that today’s elementary age child is growing up in an “iWorld.” It’s not uncommon to see children in restaurants, cars, stores, and airplanes with their eyes glued to a smart phone or tablet.

How can we make that screen time meaningful?  There are many educational apps that you can download from the iTunes store to your personal Apple device to give your child’s little brain some exercise during screen time. Here are a few apps that we have found to be entertaining and educational for children:

Stack the Countries and Stack the States are both apps that are a fun way to learn state and country geography.

Tynker and Code Academy are both free apps that teach basic programming skills in a fun way.

Unblock Me, Cryptogram, Pic a Phrase, Logic Puzzles by Puzzle Baron, Analogies 4 Kids, Balance Benders, and 100 Logic Games – Time Killers are all apps that will stretch the brain with cognitive and analytical thinking.

Are you worried about your child closing the educational app to explore other non-educational apps on the device? iPhone, iTouch, and iPads will allow you to keep the device in a single app and control which features are available in that app – it will even allow you to set time limits to control screen time! To activate Guided Access, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > and then turn on Guided Access. Once you have turned on Guided Access, open the app of choice, triple click the Home button, and set a 4-digit passcode to start Guided Access. To end Guided Access, triple click the home button and enter the 4-digit passcode. More information about Guided Access can be found here on the Apple website.

Do you have a favorite educational app that your children enjoy? Email me at carolyn.cooper@cobbk12.org to tell me about your favorite educational apps.

Websites to Practice Typing Skills

Many of us have become used to using our thumbs and fingers or dictating when we text on our mobile devices or tablets.  Proper keyboarding and typing skills is still an important skill in our digital age!  Kids are never to young to learn the proper skills.  Carrie Lowery, our CCSD Technology Training Instructional Specialist, shared with me the online programs listed below that your children can use at home to learn and practice proper typing skills.

And remember, always encourage your children to use both hands when using a keyboard!  Happy typing!

Foundation Patron Drive – Have You Participated?

October is the month of our annual Foundation’s Patron Drive! Your donations ensure that our Buccaneers have opportunities to ENRICH. EMPOWER. EXCEL above and beyond funding from the District.

If you have already made a donation, THANK YOU! We are almost half way through the month and every donation makes a difference!

Visit the Foundation website to make your donation today:

www.mbesf.org

Please remember to check if your company offers Corporate Matching
by clicking here!