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Monday, October 15, 2018

Technology at Columbia School District!


Recently I was involved in a discussion about how children learn in 2018, versus how they learned twenty years ago.   My sons have friends who are parents and several of them have iPads for their children.  My younger son, Jon, was using his iPad at one of his friend’s home and their nine-month-old daughter crawled over to see what he was doing and to “help” him.  She had her own iPad and used an application aimed at pre-toddlers.  Columbia preschool students seem to +have an innate ability to pick up one of the iPads and navigate to their area of academic application without direction from their teacher. 

The Columbia School District Technology Integration Vision Statement reads:  Columbia School District will provide reliable access to 21st Century technology in order to meet the diverse needs of all students, empowering them to be productive and responsible contributors in an ever changing global digital society.   As part of our goal to integrate technology into the curriculum, our Columbia kindergarten students through high school seniors are using Chromebooks.  This fall Columbia School District purchased another 140 Chromebooks to ensure our students have access to the technology that will lead to a successful future.  Our Vision Statement: Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow - focuses on our students learning in the most successful way, including using up to date technology.

Many of our elementary students are building online portfolios.  They are designing their portfolios and creating links to learning.   One of our elementary students showed me how she was building a website as part of an assignment for her social studies class.  She had to design a website to compare and contrast the New England states back in the Colonial days with today.   This task involved research, a lot of learning and integration of her technological skills with her recent acquisition of
knowledge.

Our students learn how to use Google docs to collaborate with their peers and work on the same document at the same time.  Learning is truly taking place anywhere, anyplace and anytime!   Our students have become proficient using technology because they of the access they have at school.

Not only do our students use Chromebooks, but many of our elementary students use iPads, and our high school students use Kindles.  Even the four-year-olds in our Great Start Readiness Program have the opportunity to take advantage of educational applications on the iPads to broaden and support the learning they do in class. 

Our teachers are excited to help students embark on new ways of learning through technology.  In addition to providing professional development to teachers to help them have the tools to empower their students to use technology effectively, our Bond issue provided updated wiring, additional wireless access points, new technology switches, and new computers and tablets.  As we work to keep Columbia School District students and teachers up to date with effective, reliable access to technology, we will continue to relate examples of how our students are benefiting from the integration of digital tools into the curriculum.  If you have questions regarding Columbia Schools, please email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org or call me at 5175926641.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Jumping into Education!


Hanging on to the screen for dear life, the praying mantis slowly made its way up towards the top.  Rather than walking through the foliage, this praying mantis was in the sun seemingly asking to come into the house.  I wondered what the mantis was thinking, if a mantis indeed thinks about anything, and just then it just hopped away!  Thinking about the mantis reminded me of how our elementary students sometimes start slowly and then when they get excited about learning, jump into an educational experience! 

At this time of the year our elementary students have just finished reviewing mathematics from last year and now are beginning to learn new information from their teachers.  If your budding mathematician is in second grade, he or she is learning to convert word problems into mathematical sentences.  Your child will learn to take information that describes everyday life and use it to form addition and subtraction problems.  Similarly to the way the praying mantis suddenly jumped from the screen, our second graders will leap into learning about fractions. 

While mathematics may be your child’s favorite subject, your second grader will also learn that reading takes first place in their classroom.  Reading is fundamental for learning.  It is the basis for science, social studies and much of mathematics.  Your second grader should be reading a minimum of 30 minutes each evening.  Second graders will enjoy reading more if they understand all the words in their books so helping them with their vocabulary is essential.  The more your child reads, and works on his or her vocabulary, the stronger their foundation will be as they gain more skills as a writer.

Writing is an important part of second grade.  Your second grader will work on proper sentence structure, capitalization and punctuation.  Your child’s teacher will be able to recommend some good techniques if you are interested in helping your child excel in writing.

Just as the praying mantis initially walked slowly up the screen, some second graders will seemingly start out slowly.  At home they may be easily distracted by television, video games, or their sister.  To help your second grader become successful, you will want to minimize the distractions and help your child focus.  While it may not be the most fun aspect of having a second grader, there will be times when you will want to sit next to him or her and patiently listen to questions and help to redirect his or her attention to his or her school work.  

Your child will watch and emulate you when it comes to learning activities.  Your enthusiasm for school and learning opportunities will help to energize his or her passion and willingness to spend time doing his or her school work.  Columbia Elementary School often has extended learning opportunities in science, mathematics and reading.  You will want to pay close attention to the school’s website and to newsletters and notes your child brings home in his or her backpack for opportunities to participate in learning activities.

If you are interested in learning more about your child’s grade level and the requirements, you may contact your child’s teacher or principal.  You may learn about registering your child for Columbia School District by calling me at 517-592-6641 or email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org.