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posted: Fri, Jun 19th, 2015

Technology in daily life

Instruction in daily life skills, many that involve language arts and math, is often formally given to students with moderate learning and/or language disabilities (LLD). Teacher Dina Carmelengo recently created a unit for her students, who are all in grades 3-5, that taught and reinforced the basic technology skills that everyone should know.

The fun and engaging unit covered everything from lessons on cyber-bullying and the responsible use of technology to icons, wi-fi, and using Powerpoint.

“Technology is a big part of their generation,” said Ms. Carmelengo. “They need to know this material and be proficient in it. None of these skills can be taken for granted.”

The students wrote their own blogs, sent mock tweets, and visited several educational websites. Role-playing was a big part of the lessons too.

“We take everything slowly and work with the students to individualize their instruction based on personal need and their IEPs (individualized education programs),” Ms. Carmelengo said. “Knowing things such as logging in, importing clip art, manipulating text and images, and saving to specific folders are necessities, not just for the rest of their education but for the rest of their lives.”

The classroom has its own laptops so students could have as much hands-on experience as they needed.

Ms. Carmelengo regularly uses a bulletin board in the front of the class that she calls the “Focus Wall.” The Focus Wall lists the skills, vocabulary, and activities that are part of each major unit. For the technology unit, the board also featured screen shots from Friendly’s website, a restaurant that the class had visited in March to learn about good nutrition and table manners.

“It was a location they were familiar with and brought everything full circle,” said Ms. Carmelengo. “Making those types of connections reinforces learning.” 

Green thumbs!

They’re standing tall. Most of the basil seeds recently planted by Kathy Fiebel’s class at Chester M. Stephens Elementary School are healthy and robust sprouts thanks to the care of the fifth-graders. 

The mini-gardening project was part of a presentation focused on basil and making smart food choices that was presented by dietician Jennifer Bostedo earlier this spring. Ms. Bostedo brought in the basil seeds and walked the students through the process of planting them. She also brought with her three different types of basil plants and organized a basil tasting with sweet basil, purple basil, and Thai basil (which has a distinct, spicy licorice flavor). Students plucked the basil leaves right off the plants and sampled them fresh and uncooked. 

In her presentation, Ms. Bostedo discussed the benefits of locally grown produce, healthy eating, and sustainability as well.

This was the second classroom visit by Ms. Bostedo, whose daughter Gwen is a student in the class. In the fall, she came in to discuss different grains.


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Chester M. Stephens Elementary School
99 Sunset Drive Budd Lake, NJ 07828
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Phone: 973.691.4002 Fax: 973.691.4030

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