The first week in the technology lab is so important. Get started on the right track with these 3 tips:
Tip #1: Logins
Your students are going to need to log in to the computer. While it may be tempting to hold of on having them log in the first week, you shouldn’t! This procedure is the most important one in your classroom, so they need the consistency from day one.
I always print out my class lists with student log in information because I teach my students how to look up their number without my help. I put a folder on the back counter with all of the lists, separated by day of the week that they come to the lab. Each sheet has the teacher’s name at the top and then the list of student names and usernames (no passwords). I encourage students to memorize their usernames and passwords, but some just never get it. By giving them the option to look up their username every week, it takes the stress out of it, and they don’t have to bother me to get it.
You at least will need the list in digital format for the first week so that you can look up the login information for the students who do not remember theirs. Since classes change so much in the beginning of the year, I could see the benefit of holding off printing them until things are more settled.
Tip #2: Rules
I’m sure you thought long and hard about what your computer lab rules should be. The first day, your students come in, sit down, and you go over the rules. Then what?
My advice to you is to have your students DO something with the class rules. For example, my older students (grades 4 and 5) make a poster using MS Word or PowerPoint on the first day. They are allowed to play with the fonts, clip art, and borders as long as their finished product has the class rules.
By the way, this makes a great display to show off in the hallway! With my younger students, they draw a picture of the most important rule. 2nd and 3rd graders caption theirs, but K and 1 just draw out a picture representation of which rule they feel is most important. I love to use the ABCYa! Paint tool for this, but you could certainly use a different program or even do it on paper.
Tip #3: Early Finishers
You’ve planned this amazing first day lesson. Your students are logged in to their accounts and using digital tools! Then, 2-3 kids raise their hand to say they are done, and there are still 15 minutes left before the session ends.
Always have a firm plan for early finishers. I have a page set up on my class website with early finisher activities- websites with learning games. I also have a classroom library with great kids books related to technology themes. I make sure my students know from day one that these are their only two options. No “helping” friends, which is really just a distraction in the computer lab. No bothering me, either. Is that terrible? I like a peaceful classroom where everyone is working hard and knows what to do.
So, now you have three solid tips for starting the year on the right track with your technology students. These are things you can have prepared before the students even start. Did I forget anything crucial? Let me know in the comments.
Looking for some ready-made first week activities? Click here to go to my curriculum website. You can find the free activities on the Home dropdown menu.