Grade 9 Computers ("BTT")

I will regularly offer extra help in room 230 on Mondays and Thursdays.

May 6: After the web development assignment (which many students neglected to hand in), I asked them to write a "portfolio" - what they learned this year. They have also been asked to be ready for the "H drive check" that I've talked about throughout the year. For this, I will check their H drives for some of the class work and assignments. If they use folders and appropriate file names, I should be able to find their work easily.

The culminating activity has been assigned. Students are to plan and then promote a trip. The plan (itinerary and budget) are due May 15th. The promotion (advertising brochure and slideshow) are due May 25th. Students will present their slideshows the week of May 28th.

Apr 14: The web development assignment was given to students on Thursday and Friday. They'll have a few periods to complete it.

Mar 23: The Publishing unit concluded yesterday with the third work period for the newspaper article assignment. The assignment was due today by the end of lunch.
Today we started the unit on developing websites. Students will learn basic HTML and will design their own webpage.

Mar 3: Presentations concluded, and we've started the unit on Desktop Publishing. In this unit, students will make greeting cards, 3-panel brochures, posters, and the assignment will be a newspaper article.

Feb 19: Tomorrow is the due date for all groups for submitting the presentation and bibliography. Presentations will begin on Feb 21st and I expect 3 periods per section.
Students will be expected to be respectful of the groups presenting.

Feb 12: Both classes have two more work periods for the research project. Presentations and bibliographies are due by the end of the day on Feb 20th. Presentations will begin on Feb 21st.

Feb 4: The first class of the week, students will get the next major assignment of the year. This one is a group research project on a topic relating to ethics/law/society and to computers or cell phones. The deliverables are a presentation and bibliography. There will be 4-5 work periods, followed by 2-3 presentation periods.

Jan 29: Some budget assignments are still overdue. I sent an email last week to students still owing work.
We had a lesson on malware, and then started to watch Terms and Conditions May Apply, a documentary about privacy policies and how they're exploited.

Jan 20: The budget assignment is due today.
We'll have one last lesson on spreadsheets (advanced stuff like mail merge and pivot tables). Then back to ethics and issues.

Jan 11: We had one lesson on spreadsheets (absolute referencing). Yesterday and today students had their first work period on the budget assignment. The next three classes are all work periods, and the assignment is due next weekend. This might be a time when students will choose to come for extra help at lunch?

Dec 22: We had lessons on creating charts (Scatter plots, then on pie, line, bar, and area graphs), and the last class before the break was on using the sort and filter features.
After the break, there'll be a couple of lessons, and then students will get the major budget assignment.
Dec 14: I interrupted the lessons on spreadsheets for two special topics. First we had an #HourOfCode event for Computer Science Education Week. We watched a video about game design, and then students had the opportunity to learn some coding in a game-based environment. The second day, I taught students about net neutrality, because of the then-upcoming vote in the USA. Unfortunately for pretty much everyone, but not unexpectedly, the FCC voted to repeal it. My lesson covered the implications on us Canadians, so hopefully, students recognize what this will mean for them.

Dec 7: So far, each class has had two periods learning about spreadsheets. We started by teaching formulas, with cell references, and then functions, like average and sum. The second activity was a survey: students had peers rate items from their list of movies/sports/foods/etc 1-10, and then the data was entered into a spreadsheet, and functions used to calculate average rating for each item and for each rater.
The Event marks have not yet been returned to students.

Nov 24: Most students have handed in their Event Promotion PowerPoint assignment. We had 2 work periods this week (Tues-Fri) and the completed work was meant to be submitted today "after school" (4-4:30). Last week we had practice using some advanced features of PowerPoint software. Because using those features are included in the mark for this assignment, I could not accept work completed with other software. I felt that 2 work periods (plus extra help open yesterday and today at lunch) was enough time.
The digital literacy test was returned Monday-Tuesday of this week. Answers were posted in the back of the classroom and students were encouraged to make corrections.

Nov 14: The digital literacy test has been marked, and return will happen after students who missed it write the test on Thursday at lunch.
Today and yesterday, we returned to the presentations unit. Previously, students had learned how to design their slides, but not how to use the software itself. That's the focus this time around.

Nov 3: Each class had 2 periods this week, and we spent them evaluating websites. Is there an author? Are they credible? Do you recognize the domain? Who are the people running the website? Do they have an agenda that may bias their content? How to tell ads from non-ads. Think critically about images, tweets, forum posts, etc just like you would for a website. Essentially, we're learning to determine what is fake news and what is "fake news".

The digital literacy test will be on Nov 9th/10th!

Oct 27: Some recent lessons: vocabulary related to the Internet and WWW, ways to connect to the Internet, and keyboard shortcuts to make you better computer users.

Oct 19: I set a due date of Sunday at 8:00PM for the business letter and typing speed. Yesterday and today we learned about operating systems (well-known examples, and what they do).
This unit will culminate in a few weeks with a test.

Oct 13: Many students still owe me one or both of the small assignments (see Sept 23 entry). Since then, we had multiple classes of discussion on cell phones (teen phone culture, addiction, distracting others). Then I assiged a group assignment where students developed a cell phone policy for a classroom or workplace. This assignment was due this week, and most students have handed it in.
The next unit is digital literacy, which we started yesterday/today with a lesson on computer hardware (i/o devices, memory).

Sept 23: Classes have two small assignments ongoing. One (assigned earlier this week) is proof of typing speed. They are asked to use this website and complete a 1-minute test. They should take a screenshot of their results, for example with Snipping Tool or the "print screen" button. It can be cropped but should include the typed text and the stats. An example. Their mark will be double the typing speed (so 50 WPM = 100%) and they can resubmit multiple times to improve their mark, even in the spring.

The other assignment is to send an email with attachment. The email will be short but have basic features such as a greeting, subject line, properly-spelled text, and indicate the sender. They'll attach a homework file that discusses related communication skills. There's no strict due date, but I advised that students complete this as soon as possible.

Coming up this week: the start of our discussions on cell phones.

Sept 11: Today's assignment can be downloaded with the following links: Outline; Rubric. The description of "principles of design" can be downloaded here.
Please email an attachment or a share link to my TDSB address. First.last AT
Slideshow files are due before the start of class on Wednesday/Thursday.

Course Description:

This course is intended to teach students how to use computer software in their day-to-day lives (in and beyond school) and for business purposes. It also covers digital literacy, and we discuss current issues related to communication technology (i.e. computers and phones)

Software they'll use:
* Word Processor
* Presentations
* Spreadsheets
* Publisher
Other topics:
* Digital literacy
* Communications skills
* Ethics & Issues (includes cell phones)
* Creating websites using HTML code
* Databases (if time permits)

Assessments are usually assignments or projects.
Success in this course depends on completing these assignments and handing them in on time.

We teach using Microsoft software. Open-source (free) office software like OpenOffice and Libre Office are great alternatives. Google software doesn't have the same range of features so it won't always be acceptable.

If you don't have an office suite at home, you can get LibreOffice or OpenOffice for free. Both work for Windows/Mac/Linux.