Tag Archives: computers

My Turn is When?

Comtuter windows

Behold the computer lab I have in my library. There are 25 computers. The screens can be easily seen by standing back and looking around the room. It is a very inviting, friendly space to work.

Other teachers have started signing up for the lab. On the one hand I’m delighted because this is what I was hoping would happen. On the other hand, I now have to negotiate for time and space.

I was making plans for next week when I found that the lab had been signed out for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings for the rest of the school year. I freaked out because that’s when I have 4th graders. I checked the schedule again and found that the same thing happened on Fridays with a different teacher. So now my fourth grade students are left with one day a month per class of computer time during library classes. Fortunately some arrangements have been made, at least for next week. Who knows what the rest of the year will be like?

Making the Space Work: Another Wiki Evaluation

I am extremely fortunate to have an excellent library space.  The library is located in the middle of the school just inside the front door.  It has three major exits, which would be a problem if we had a security system, but provides ready access to other parts of the school.

Circulation Desk

The round circulation desk allows us to check out students from both sides.  And there is a computer nearby for older students to check out themselves.


The tables provide meeting or work space.

Story Center

I can teach in the Story Center while another group is meeting at the round tables.

The computers are in three separate sections.  There are two search stations, one has six computers in a circle and the other has four computers near a very long meeting table.

Computer Circle Long Table

Computer Circle                                Long table, 4 computers near doors

12 computers

This set of 12 computers is easy for a teacher to monitor, even from a distance.

I’ve gone into this in some detail because the shape of the room and the way the space is used has affected the way I teach. I have class sizes that range between 16 and 30.  We don’t have enough computers for 30 students to be on computers all at once.  There are enough for a class as large as 22, however, I have to circulate between the three computer stations to help all the students.  When I began planning the wiki project I decided that the 12 computers above would be the ones we would use when posting on the wiki.  This way I would be helping a group of no more than 12 students at a time, and possibly fewer.  That meant that students who were not working on the wiki would have to be able to work relatively independently in other parts of the library.  Classroom teachers accompany two of the classes, two classes come without teachers, and one class comes with two Special Education teachers.

After I explained the procedures to the first class, which came with a teacher, each row of students (sitting in 3 rows in the Story Center) knew where to start.  One row was at the computers with me, one row was working on a vocabulary sheet with the classroom teacher, and one row was looking for books to check out.  There is a student check out station and  I have the most wonderful parent volunteer who was helping students check out.  We rotated during the course of the 45 minute class so each student was able to do everything.  The first class to follow this routine worked beautifully.

The second class was another matter.  That was the subject of the “Some Days are Like That” post.  It was a class that came without a teacher and my wonderful parent volunteer was sick that day.  Fortunately my tech support person saw that I was trying to be in three places at once and came out to help.  In the end, many of the students returned to class late which was not a good advertisement for the library program and especially did not promote the use of technology in the classroom.  For this to be an effective demonstration of technology integration I must be very mindful of the time available and not try to get too much done in one session.