So either you read this title and you went, "Big der, I know all about Open Office, next blog please," or perhaps you were thinking, "She has an office at school?"
our poetry unit, we made a class poetry anthology. Each student typed their poem using Open Office. I had done it before with fourth grade, wasn't sure about doing it with third grade, but those kiddos proved once again how awesome they are.
Open Office is basically free Word. We have it downloaded onto the laptops on our WOW cart. Why not use Google Docs? I actually heard some of you asking that in my head. Two reasons:
1. You have to log on. Which means setting up a different account for the class to use or figuring out the log ons for the every students to use their district account. That's not happening. Plus, they are not always log on savvy. And someone locks themselves out of the account because they mistype their password 72 times. And I don't have access to their account. And it requires a tech person. You see the downward spiral here?
2. This is the main reason. Google really really really wants you to use Chrome. Which means some of their stuff is not really working that well outside of Chrome. I do not need to deal with this and a room full of third graders.
So why not use something easy and free and no log on required?
Here's how it went down:
Day 1: Quick Class Review of Open Office and Play Day
This is where Tech Tip #1 enters. Anytime you're going to use a new program where kids are expected to make a product, you should have a play day. Trying to create a product and figure out a new program at the same time is stressful for grown ups, so I have to assume the same holds true for kids.
And now it is time for Tech Tip #2. YOU CANNOT ASK ME ANYTHING UNTIL YOU HAVE TRIED ASKING EVERYONE AT YOUR TABLE FOR HELP FIRST. Yes, I'm yelling. Those kids will suck the life out of you when using technology. I'm not sure why this is true. It's new, they're nervous, they're excited, but you will make yourself insane running all over the room trying to help everyone at the same time. Then you'll end up vowing never to use technology again because "Those kids can't handle it." Actually they really really really can handle it. They just need to try handling it together. You should be the last resort.
Day 2: Tech Tip #2 still applies. Type poem and illustrate using pencil. Because it will be copied. Because the copier doesn't copy crayon well. Because if I copy marker, the color won't look nice. You will explain this 67 times.
Day 3: We're still applying Tech Tip #2 here. Type and illustrate another poem. You will only need to explain the pencil illustrating thing 19 times today.
After an extended time (which involves me copying and binding 42 of these and wondering why I do this every year), we have a poetry performance. And it's wonderful, and the kids love it. They amaze me every year with what they can write.