iamliterate - Primary

Integrating Technology Meaningfully with Primary Students

I have not had my own primary classroom; however, the information below is provided from experience working with classes and examples from primary teachers.

When learning to read, we start with exposure to reading. When learning to be information and media literate, we start with exposure too. Primary students are very capable of reading and primary students are very capable of being information and media literate.

The biggest question to ask yourself is - "Why are we doing this?" If there is educational value to what you are doing, then it is worth the effort. Integration of technology is not about filling a quota of activities, games, or time on a computer. While I would argue that all students need to continue to build their learning capacities with IML, that does not mean always spending time on computers. IML involves using a broad range of technology including: computers, laptops, digital cameras, microphones, video cameras, voice recorders and more.

Purpose of this Page

This page was first created for the Surrey Primary Teachers Association. It is a resource page for ideas and resources within our district.

Getting Started

How much time ...

This is an interesting question. Often primary students will get shorter blocks of time for hands on access to technology. You need to use your judgement for the best block of time. Since we know we might lose some time with lining up, walking down the hall, settling in, and then packing up etc., I would consider only using the computer lab (or mobile cart) every second week for twice as long.

I was careful to mention hands on time as a class because building Information and Media Literacy does not require all hands on time. It is critical that students see you modeling being Information and Media Literate.

Modeling IML

So how can I model my IML?
  • Look up today's weather forecast on the Internet and bring a print out for the class. This could later be a task for a special helper.
  • Share a story. I was looking up information on Frogs yesterday and what do you think I found?
  • Use a laptop and projector to share a website, write a class story, or explore a virtual manipulative.
  • Work with smaller groups during station time
  • Actively take digital pictures during class time - Print or share these with students

What other ideas do you have ? - Let's add them


The Surrey School District has licensed several pieces of software that may be useful at the primary level.
  • Kidspiration
  • KidPix
  • Comic Life (Mac Only)
  • Google Earth

If you have a software request, you can complete the Software Submission Form. Software is evaluated three ways before it is approved for purchase and installation in our district.
  1. Pedagogical Curriculum Review - Is this good teaching of the expected subject
  2. Software Design - appropriate user interface, help features,
  3. Technical Review - will it work with our computer systems (older than 3 years often is not compatible with new systems)


The district has evaluated and approved :
  • Starfall.com (Free and Subscription components)
  • Raz-kids.com (subscription only)

This means that you can use Learning Resource funds to purchase subscriptions.

Other resources that do not require purchasing a subscription may be found in Kevin's del.icio.us account or collected at http://fcweb.sd36.bc.ca/~amboe_k/fav_websites

You may also consider working with your IML Contact to have IMS / the school create a page such as this on at Erma Stephenson that is then set as default on all the computers.

Hardware Resources

CISC has equipment available for two to three week loan for special projects. (Preference is given to projects involving more than one class.)

We have available
  • 2 sets of 15 MacBook (Standard software, also has Photobooth, built in video camera)
  • 2 sets of 15 iBook (Standard software) (airport basestation available upon request)
  • 1 set of 17 PC Laptops (currently we only have 6 as we are waiting for replacement of 11)
  • 1 set of 7 Midi Keyboards
  • 3 sets of 5 Digital Cameras (with 2 Gig SD Cards, 2 sets of batteries, 1 battery charger)
  • 3 sets of 5 Digital Video Cameras (with 2 batteries, 2 Mini DV Tapes, chargers)
  • 1 set of 5 iPod Video (with cables)
  • 1 Digital Proscope Microscope (with an ibook with software installed)
  • 1 Podcast Microphone (with group microphone and ibook)

To view the timetable for these resources, you will need to log into SurreyNet and go to
SD36 Staff Conferences > Curriculum and Student Support > Info Commun Conf > EDUC ICT Elementary
then look in the Master Bookable Resource Calendar (You will need the Resources Colour Key to decipher the calendar)

To arrange for booking of these resources, please contact Kevin Amboe by email.

CISC Helping Teacher Support

Kevin Amboe is currently the Elementary Information and Media Literacy Coordinator.
He is available to support with:
  • Consultation
  • Classroom support
  • Project Development
  • Professional Development workshops / events
  • Afterschool Workshops

Julia Poole is currently the Secondary ICT Helping Teacher.
She is available to support with:
  • Consultation
  • Coordination of Trainers and Mentors

Surrey has worked to create a team of between 30 and 50 dedicated educators to support our district in growing IML.
Our Trainers and Mentors are available booking either directly or through Julia Poole for:
  • Afterschool Workshops
  • Consultation
  • Professional Development Days

Susan Chow is currently the Online Learning Communities Coordinator.
Susan is available to support with:
  • First Class Student Accounts
  • Training for Student Account Coordinators and Moderators
  • Online Community development such as Home School Collaboration

While each of the Helping Teachers is available at no charge for schools to utilize, they have limited capacity to reach all 125 school sites in Surrey. Our Trainers and Mentors have expanded our capacity to service the schools. Bringing in a trainer for a full day workshop will require the TOC release time for 1/2 day prep and actual release day. If the Trainer is only required for a 1/2 day session, they will only need 1 full day of TOC release.

Making Certain it WORKS

The biggest fear of using technology with any class is that you get all set up ready to go and .... it doesn't work. To a degree this is a fact of life. When we start the car each day we believe it will work. When it doesn't we go to plan B.

To minimize the number of surprises, here are a few hints to help along the way
  1. Book your time immediately after a break - such as after recess - and have a student leader check all the computers before you arrive
  2. Ask the class before you to leave the computers on, logged in, and possibly with the software you want open
  3. Plan on having students buddy up for all activities. This way you only have 10 computers to check and support students at.

Integration Ideas

===Diane Akey ===was a long term primary teacher in the Surrey School District. Here are some examples from her work with primary students

Graphing May Temperatures

Second graders learned the difference between *daily* high and low temperatures and *average* high and low temperatures. After accessing weather data for May from the Internet, students organized the data into a spreadsheet and then made a line graph.

Here is a sample with spreadsheets:

Here is another sample
To add text or numbers to a cell in the spreadsheet, click in that cell. Type in the information. Your typing will appear in the text window under the menu bar. When you hit return it will appear in the cell.

After entering your data, highlight the information you want shown on your graph. Then go to Options in the menu bar and drag down to Make Chart. Choose the type of graph you want to make.

It's that easy to make a graph! Have fun!
Spreadsheets can also be used for making Data Retrieval Charts. You can adjust the size of the cells -width and height. See lesson on Using Spreadsheets for Data RetrievalCharts.

 This Lesson idea was taken from
Joanne Goodwin, Technology Resource Teacher

see more examples on sd36imlexamples.wikispaces.com

Denise Fuchko

is a primary teacher in the Surrey School District and is presently teaching grade 2/3 with our online school called Surrey Connect.Here are some examples from her work.

"My students really surprised me with their insight into website evaluation." (Denise Fuchko)

Denise used Kathy Shorock's web site evaluation list to help plan the instruction for this exploration.

Glenda Stewart-Smith

is an intermediate teacher with a 10% role as an IML integration support teacher at one of our Surrey schools. Here are some examples of primary students work


Here is a sample where primary students worked with their buddies to create "Who Am I?" stories, edit a photo of themselves, and create a music track to play while you read their story.

Jennifer Rossi

Jennifer has been using Podcasting to support her Grade 2 French Language Learners. See Jennifer's page

Gleanings / Summary