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Fifth Graders Build Skills in Computer Technology

Fifth graders are taking their technology skills to the next level in Computer Technology class. Through a series of progressively challenging projects, students build upon previous knowledge to become proficient technology users. By the end of the class, fifth grade students are equipped with the tools they’ll need in Middle School and beyond.

Student works with teacher in class

Fifth grade is the first year that students start using Google’s suite of tools and are given access to their own Calhoun email accounts. Computer Technology class prepares these budding tech users to navigate this increasingly complex world, building off the basic concepts they’re introduced to in Media Arts during third and fourth grades. The class starts with an in-depth overview of word processing. Teacher Rob Kleinschmidt leads students through an introduction to formatting, file storage and organization, all fundamental skills that will come in handy when they write papers for other classes. 

For their first major project in the class, fifth graders are tasked with building a PowerPoint presentation. They conduct in-depth research on a topic of interest, practice juggling different applications, and study the elements of digital design that can be used to convey information. When the project is complete, students choose to share their presentations with their classmates at a division-wide assembly, fielding questions from the audience about their topic. 

Next, fifth graders learn how to use Microsoft Excel through the task of constructing a personal budget. Using numbers drawn from real-life examples and their own research, students are introduced to spreadsheet vocabulary and learn how to construct and apply formulas to calculate expenses. For another project, students delve into Photoshop, creating elaborate designs that are later showcased at the 5th Grade Moving Up Ceremony at the end of the year. The year culumniates with an exploration of coding, during which students program their own video games using the software Scratch. 

Given the ever-changing nature of technology, Rob puts a big focus on staying current in the field by continually learning new software and applying this newfound knowledge into his curriculum. And while the long-term future of technology may be unknown, fifth graders come away with the adaptability and self-sufficiency needed to face whatever comes next. Rob says he often observes his students applying their tech skills in new and diverse ways beyond his class, from in-depth research papers for Spanish to complicated Photoshop designs for social studies projects. “When they can take these skills and make something new independently – that to me is the best part.”