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Scheduling Classroom Computer Time

Compiled By: Mrs. G

Scheduling time for students to use the computer can be almost impossible. Here are some ideas from teachers who have made it work.

Computer rotation
Posted by: Tracci

Hello. I have two computers and 24 students. I have 5 students go on the computers each day (ABC order students 1-5 Mon., 6-10 Tues., and so on. I hope that this helps. I excuse the student from their morning work (D.O.L. - Daily Oral Language on their computer day). Good luck. If a student is missing any work on their computer day, they cannot go on the computer that day.

computer rotation
Posted by: amber

give each student a durable reusable computer voucher with his/her mname or number on it. If they want to use the computer they give you the voucher and get a PASS good for a set (by you) amount of time. at the end of this time they give the pass back to you for another student to use. you have one pass for each computer. the passes can be given back before going home or they can be kept in one box,jar,chart and moved to another when used and a student helper can move them back at the end of the day or in the morning.
hope this help Amber

Managing with two computers
Posted by: Debbie

One of my friends posted a class list written on poster board with room to clip clothespins on either side of the names...All the clips went down one side, and blocks of time during the day were set up for their use. As kids needed to publish or practice a skill, etc., they moved their clip to the opposite side of the list. No one was able to use the computers a second time until all classmates had a chance. Worked really well for her. ;-D
Regarding the purposes for use, mine were mainly for research and publishing.

Posted by: MicheleinOR

I used computers as a rotation through my reading and math centers, the year(s) that I had only 1 or 2 working computers, I'd assign certain kids to use on M-W others on T-Th...but I never used them as a reward. When students finished their work early, they could read an AR or regular book, write, or complete extra credit. I also had copies of 'brain stretchers', madlibs, and other different types of learning activities that they could do if they had extra time. I never wanted the computer to be seen as a toy or play thing, it was for work, and students had specific learning activities that the computers were used for (of course they still thought that they were just playing computer games, but at least I knew better!!) :)

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Computer time
Posted by: jeanmarie

I have had only 1 or 2 computers several times. I have a 20 minute block of time every morning first thing when we do some daily work and/or read/write. I put the kids' names on a huge chart with colored clothespins for markers. I put one marker on the first name and the other on the middle name (for the 2 computers - otherwise just 1) Every morning, that student(s) is excused from the morning routine to work on the computer. We do not use the word "play" because we use them for practice/exploration. Any time during that day, whenever that student is caught up or free, he/she may choose to return to the computer. At the end of the day, they move the marker down to the next name. The whole class helps them remember to move the markers. Believe me, nobody gets by with going 2 times in a row!! Since they are working during this time, missing the daily work once every 2 - 3 weeks is no big deal. I have used this with first graders and had no problems because it is fair. If you are gone for any reason the day your name comes up, you are just skipped in that rotation. That's life! Since the names come up the next day, it doesn't matter if we miss for snow or other events. I also do not use the computers during recess. I had BIG problems with kids bringing excuses to stay in, getting in trouble at recess so they were sent in, etc. I have used it as an incentive however. If you earn the incentive, then I insert that student's name on a sticky so they get 2 days' time. The 2 computers I have in my room do not have internet access so I can control what they are used for. Students may choose to use their time to type letters, reports, etc. or to practice keyboarding if they want. Hope that gives you an idea.

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computer time
Posted by: Darcell

A good time is when the students first arrive in the morning. There is usually anywhere from 20-30 minutes of morning activities so the teacher can do attendance and so on. Schedule how many students to the computers you have. The computer time will take the place of his or her board/morning work for the day. Make sure to mark computers in the students spiral so it won't be marked as a missing assignment. This is a good way to keep up with daily morning written work.

computer schedule
Posted by: jen

I also had only one computer last year. I also set up a schedule for each of them to have one 30 minute time during the week. They could play games, type a writing piece, or take AR tests. This year I will give them specific things to work on during this time. I also told them that they were responsible for remembering their scheduled time. The kids enjoyed it.

Computer Time
Posted by: Tabitha/5th

I have three student computers and one teacher computer. On each writing journal I place a colored dot. That color for the day is the one that gets to use the computer for the morning. Red in Monday, Green is Tuesday, Blue is Wednesday, Yellow is Thrusday, and Orange is Friday. I go over this system with my students the first week of school. I let the ones that don't have computer that day and need to take an AR test use my computer or go to the AR lab. When I have group research I time the kids. I let three groups use the computer for ten minutes. Then I switch groups. For indoor recess it is timed as well. Ten minutes on then someone else can get on. They are not allowed to print anything without me seeing it first. Ink is to expensive and so is paper to just let them print anything. This system worked really well for me last year.

No title
Posted by: cheri

I have a computer schedule for my class. Everybody gets a day to be on. That way everybody gets on during the week and it is fair. Students may go on if they finish early on their day, but I do check their work before they can go. For my students that work a little slower, I make sure that they get an opportunity at some point during the day. For example, our school has chorus. For the kids who aren't in chorus, they can be on the computer during this time. I make sure that students who struggle and who aren't in chorus are scheduled on these days.

It should be easier this year, because I am getting two more computers in my room. I'll have 7 working student computers and 14 students. I think each kid will be scheduled 2 days per week with Friday being a "wildcard" day. We'll see!:s)

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computer time
Posted by: Rebecca

I do the same thing Barbara does. I have centers each day and the kids have assigned days for each center. The schedule is posted in that center so this cuts down on them continually asking when is there turn. They just look and see. Each student works on the computer once a week. I have age appropriate research for them to do or have things bookmarked for them to do maybe concerning a social studies/science or math lesson we are doing. I teach third grade and I like to use the Little Explorers on On that site, there are printable research questions to use with the Little Explorers. We saw life on a dairy farm on when studying dairy farms and we use when we work on our postcard project. I hope this helps you with your questions about computer use.

avoid the rush
Posted by: roo

I hated the way kids would rush through work to get time on the computers when we first got them. Now, that's not an issue. We have 5 computers, so this might work a little differently for you. I usually have about 25 students, and each student is assigned one of 5 colors. Then I print a calendar that shows the whole school year. I cross out any off days and then color each date one of the assigned colors. They are only on the computer (unless we're working on a project) if it is their color's assigned day. They know the rules and don't even ask anymore. It works great!

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computer workshop
Posted by: Emily

It is so difficult to manage computers and kids in the classroom. Dr. Donald Leu has written a lot about how to incorporate technology in the classroom in a more seamless way. He sometimes has articles in the Reading Teacher.

One of his suggestions was to have an Internet Workshop. I've tried this and with a little time, it definitely worked. Each student had a 20 minute slot to work on the computer during the day. Depending on the number of kids you have, you may want to have the students paired up. The time slots were usually during independent work time, etc. So, they were missing some of instruction, but when they returned from the computer, they could always make up the work.

When the students were at the computer I gave them a short assignment. I usually had the assignment instructions beside the computer so they wouldn't need to ask me for directions while I was teaching.

You can do things on Microsoft Word like practice spelling words using word art or different fonts and colors, use text boxes to label an insect or a plant

If you have the Internet, Cyberchase on Pbs has lots of great activities for kids. I've used the tangram one before

There are also math sites that allow kids to practice math facts, telling time, etc.

Try to choose activities that are pretty simple and won't cause a lot of extra work on your part or will cause few questions while the kids are working on the computer.

I always explain the activity at the beginning of the week, show them how to do it, with them gathered around the computer, and then set the schedule in motion.

There's really no easy way to integrate the computers, especially if you only have one, but this is one way that I thought was novel and can really work.

Computer time
Posted by: NJ Teacher

I have two computers for the students to access. I divide their names into two piles, and write them on index cards and punch holes in them. I connect the cards with a notebook binder ring. When a child is done with their turn on the computer, they turn the ring to the next name and gently touch that person on the back to let them quietly know it's their turn.

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Class Computers
Posted by: Elaine

I know exactly what you mean because my during my first year, I allowed students who finished their work first on the computers for drill and practice programs (the only thing I had available at the time). In my incredibly wise way of thinking, I thought I was cleverly motivating students to complete their work. However, they did rush through their work, and typically it was the same few students who were able to gain access.

Here's what worked for me. I set up a rotation chart that gave each student a scheduled day for being on a specific computer. This put a stop to the mad rush--chosen few syndrome. After establishing a schedule, I followed it religiously. I learned (the hard way) that if I allowed an unscheduled student on a computer (for whatever good reason) then I'd set us all up for the mad rush--chosen few syndrome all over again.

Depending on the number of students you teach, you could schedule a one (or two) student(s) each day to a specific one of your two computers. I say to make specific computer assignments because if your rotation chart is detailed and specific, then you won't have any daily discussions (disagreements) about who is on which computer -- just makes life easier all around.