Sunday, January 22, 2017

Login's and Chromebooks and Kinders OH MY!

The most dreaded words for any Teacher especially Kinder Teachers when it comes to technology is “Logging In”. The running around, the lack of letter and number recognition skills and now they have to do both multiple times, the passwords that are usually ridiculous set up by admin that don’t understand the struggle of a 8+ character password for a 5 year old. Not to mention the motor skills needed to use a mouth or the lack of saliva needed to operate a touch pad. The numerous call outs of “TEACHER” about it not working, asking what a letter looks like, or something strange is happening on the screen and not to mention the time it takes, the list goes on and on.
For most teachers the stress of this event is enough to put them and the kiddos in tears, which results in the coveted phrase, “Never again….or until the next testing window.” Whenever I talk with other teachers about technology in a Kinder classroom the first thing they want to know is about Logging in and if there is a magical spell that can make all the troubles go away. I always make sure to tell them that Logging in is always the hardest part, but I have several tips that can help alleviate a lot, but not all of that stress.

1-GET HELP! No seriously, ask everyone you can think of to come down and help with logging your kiddos in. Librarians, TOSA’s, Principals, Secretaries, Custodians,paraprofessionals, 5th graders, parent volunteers, central office admin. Anyone to help. This makes it so everyone is done in one time slot and will reduce the number of kiddos to adult ratio, so there are maybe only 3-5 yelling at you instead of 10+.  When I log my kiddos in for the first time, I always ask via email, and in person for volunteers to come in and help us out. Additionally, inviting tech admin in to help you gives them a better idea of how their decisions impact students and what they can actually do.

2-COLOR CODE! This is a wonderful trick I picked up from Christine Pinto on #gafe4littles website which can be found at Color code your keyboards. This way when they need to type that 14 character username for the 1st time you can direct them with look in the blue row, green row, etc. I use washi tape on the edge of the keyboards to do color coding. This is very time intensive to set up every device, but very worth it, and again ask for help!
Here is what my Chromebooks look like.

3-LOGIN CARDS! Give each kiddo a personalized login in card, with their name, username, password, and computer number on the card. This one was the kicker for me and my kiddos. Huge thank you again to Christine Pinto and #GAFE4littles for this idea as well. I took the idea they had and modified it to fit what my students and I needed. Each card has the student name on it but then the BIG part is the color coded username and passwords. Color coding each letter in their username and password helped my kiddos who did not know their letters and numbers be able to find them much easier. They were able to find the letter in the pink/red row and then look for the letter that looked like the one on their card. Now I will admit my first round of cards I forgot the keyboards were all in lowercase so I had to go back and make sure they were identical to the keyboard they were using, especially to start.

Here is an example of my login cards, you can purchase my template on TPT.

4- DON’T START WITH LOGGING IN Lesson 1! Now this may be well weird to be so far down my list, but the other stuff is mostly prep work you will need to do before the kiddos can login. While you are prepping your volunteers, Chromebooks, and login cards get the computers out! I always use my first lesson to talk about carrying Chromebooks, the parts of the Chromebooks, taking them out and putting them back, and turning on and off. I check with my Librarian/Media Specialist before the lesson about what they want this to look like in the school. I then take what they have told me and incorporate in the lesson.

Our first day with Chromebooks, I show the kiddos the cart. I talk about the plug in and how it gives our Chromebook food(power) to keep it’s energy level up. We then talk about how to unplug, take out the Chromebook,carry the Chromebook,how to put it back, and plug it in. I will usually tell students their assigned number at this time. Kiddos come up when their name and number are called practice, unplugging a Chromebook taking it out and then carry it to line up to go on a field trip to the library. We practice carrying our Chromebooks the right way all the way to library, then talk about how to place the Chromebook down first, and then sit at a table. Now, yes they are 5 and this is risky, but I promise you they can do this. I tell my kiddos that if they can not carry it to the library then I can carry it for them, but then I get to use it and they have to sit and watch. This usually makes all my students focus very hard on carrying them correctly.

Once in the library we practice how to open the Chromebooks. Then we look at all the keys and letters. We talk about how the rows have different colors, and we talk about the track pad at the bottom. Now most Chromebooks turn on automatically when you open them, so they don’t turn them on to start. We teach them where the power button is and how to press and hold to turn it off. We call the power button the smiley face with a long nose button. Then we show the kiddos how to turn it back on, both by closing and opening the screen and using the power button. After we are done with this we practice standing, pushing in our chairs, and grabbing our Chromebooks as we walk back to class.

Once in class kiddos make a line at the cart and we practice putting the Chromebook away and plugging it in.

5-LOGGING IN! Lesson 2: Now that your kiddos know a little about their Chromebook, how to carry it and open and close the device. It is time to login, hopefully you have your helpers, your keyboards color coded, and your login card printed ( PS keep a copy of all the login’s and passwords with you, even make copies for each volunteer just in case). Walk your students through the process, having them stop after completing each step ( I usually have them put hands on head or sit on hands when done) this signal tells me they are ready for the next directions. Once they are logged in there are a couple of options you can give them some time on an educational gaming site like STARFALL or ABCYA! or you can just have them sign out. If you have them sign out they need to then practice logging in again and signing off again.  

That is how I help to relieve the stress of logging in with Chromebooks. I hope this helps you as you start to login and use technology with your kiddos. If you have any questions you can reach out to me on twitter @hawkskhaleesi, comment below or email me at .

Until next time play more, teach passionately,use tech,and be Kinder