Week in Lab Start of School Unit Preview



I’m going to elaborate a bit here, since I may have a number of new readers seeing this.

My approach to running the computer lab and the technology prep  is to try to support what students are learning in the classroom with activities in the lab. I usually design my units around the Open Court (language arts) thematic unit topics. To avoid conflicts in pacing, I approach this by focusing on the unit theme, NOT the individual stories. My goal is to bring more multi-media resources to the thematic units, and do vocabulary and concept development. If teachers prefer to have other subjects, like science, covered, I’ll do that instead.

For the first month…

…my goals will be getting the kids who are returning back into the routines, the new kids versed in them, and everyone oriented to the lab.

The focus in the first weeks will be on Cyber Safety, with an emphasis on bullying, since that is the online problem that affects more young people. I’ll revisit this after winter break.

Here is what the rest of the units will look like…

Primary Grades

Overall, my focus in primary for the first trimester will be on oral language development. I will be bringing in writing as the year goes on. Here is some more information about the beginning units:

First Grade will focus on phonemic awareness, with activities and videos on each of the short vowel sounds. The kindergartners from last year spent time weekly on Starfall. I will continue with that site, and similar activities.

Second Grade: For the storytelling unit, we will focus on story maps, with cause and effect. I’m still working on what the “final” product for the unit will be.

The unit planner is here:

The student page for the unit:
which hasn’t been updated yet. Here is an example from last year.

Third Grade: For the friendship unit, we will focus on developing concepts and language around friendship, and elaboration.

The planner for this unit is here:

The student page for the unit:

but once again, I will be updating it in the next two weeks. Here is an example from last year.

Third graders will be doing video conferencing with a High School class in Florida to learn signs to use to make friends in ASL.

Upper Grades

Overall, my focus in intermediate for the first trimester will be on short form writing, free response, sentences, and single paragraphs. This writing will largely take place on class blogs I have set up. All of them will be working on goal setting (as it’s a good beginning of year activity and fits in well with their unit themes). I will be trying to build capacity in students by looking at some cognitive theory in the work of Mischel (denial of gratification, the “Marshmallow Experiment”) and Dweck (you can grow “intelligence”) Here is some more information about the beginning units:

Fourth Grade: The focus will be on risks and consequences, specifically, that not all risks are bad.

Planner: http://oakridgeedtech.wikispaces.com/2010RisksConsequences
When ready, the blog is at:

Fifth Grade: The focus will be on cooperation and competition, and how they can work together.

The planner is still in progress: http://oakridgeedtech.wikispaces.com/2010CooperationCompetition
When ready, the blog is at:

Sixth Grade: The focus will be on cooperation and competition, and how they can work together.

Planner: http://oakridgeedtech.wikispaces.com/2010Perseverance
The blog is at:

Students will create motivation posters using  using the Motivator online tool at Big Huge Labs.

All of these units will have ongoing blog reflection, and a survey self-assessment in Google Forms at the end.

by posted under weekinclass | No Comments »    

Email will not be published

Website example

Your Comment:


Visitors come from...


Creative Commons License
All of Ms. Mercer's work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Howdy! I teach sixth grade at an elementary school in Sacramento, CA. I started my career in Oakland, Ca, and moved here to Sacramento in 2001.

My goals are:

  1. To reflect on how I am teaching, and how effective my practices are;
  2. To reflect on my profession, and how effective various practices are;
  3. To understand the political and cultural context that we teach in; and,
  4. To network with other like-minded educators.

To help me reach my goals, I use this blog as a place for me to reflect on best practices, and the practices I’m (trying to) putting in place in my classroom.

I can be contacted here.


The views expressed here are those of the writer and do not those of Sacramento City Unified School District.