If the interest is there, begin your introduction to computers with a discussion and book about the history of computers. In small or large groups, show your students all the important parts of the computers you will be using (power button, mouse, screen, hard drive, etc.) Have your students draw and label a diagram of the computer. If necessary, you can write the names of the parts on slips of paper, place them in a hat or bowl, draw a name and have students “race” each other to locate the part. There are many opportunities for later extensions to this introductory activity, such as defining the functions of various parts of the computer, even taking it further to identify, define and explore concepts such as memory and other inner workings of the computer.
Introducing Computers to Upper Elementary Montessori Students: Resources and TipsNext, I move on to the software programs we will be using. My students mainly use a word processing program (for typing completed research essays and other writing) and an internet browser (for research). Occasionally we have used a typing program, such as Kidspiration and Inspiration. Similar to introducing the parts of a computer, I show my Montessori students five to ten basic functions of the program they will be using (opening the program, minimizing and maximizing, typing a document, entering a web address, etc.). I keep simple “cheat sheets” posted beside the computers that include reminders on using the computer and its programs.
Make sure you have researched the safety measures that your IT administrator, media specialist, or school district have put into place on your computer system. If none are in place, use a kid-safe internet browser or safety program for all activities and research being done by students.
Computer Related Books for the Montessori Teacher and Classroom
- The History of the Computer, by Elizabeth Raum
- Oxford Illustrated Computer Dictionary 2009, by Ian Dicks
- Arthur's Computer Disaster, by Marc Brown
- Computer Activities Through the Year, by Susan L. Gimotty
- Online Activities for Kids: Projects for School, Extra Credit, or Just Plain Fun! by Preston Gralla
- Hello World!: Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners, by Warren Sande and Carter Sande
- Windows Vista and Internet for Children: The Best Book About Computers for Kids Grade 3 and Up, by Studio Visual Steps
- Exploring the United States on the Net: Grades 4-6, by Cynthia G. Adams
- Exploring the World on the Net: Grades 4-6, by Cynthia G. Adams
- Faux Paw's Adventures in the Internet: Keeping Children Safe Online, by Jacalyn Leavitt, Sally Linford, J. Chad Erekson, and First Lady Laura Bush
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, December 31, 2009.