Mrs. Lynch and I just finished up the first session of Coding Club. Using the free Hopscotch app on the iPads, students were practiced their programming skills. This session focused on creating art and designs. Below is some of what the students worked on. They did some fantastic stuff!
All of this was accomplished with repeating code, if/then statements, variables, and some creativity.
This week we’ve been talking about plagiarism in 3rd and 5th grade (4th will come soon). As we move to more digital content and research, it becomes easier and easier to just grab a photo or a paragraph off the internet and reuse it. But do you have permission to use it? And did you give credit to the original creator? These are both questions we’ve been exploring.
Common Sense Media is a great resource for digital tools. We use some of their lessons and handouts, such as “Whose Is It Anyway?” (pictured) where students explore scenarios where children borrow someone else’s work. Common Sense Media has great information and ideas for educators and parents. And their resources are all free!
Photos For Class is a resource we share with students to help them find images. All of the photos you find there have been tagged by their creator as okay to use, and when you download them the author and copyright information is attached directly to the image so you don’t have to keep track of it.
As more information is shared and easily accessible online, it is important to remember that just because we can see something online it does not mean that we can take it.
The BPS EdTech Team will be hosting a Parent Tech Night on Wednesday, March 18 from 6-8PM at Marshall Simonds Middle School. Join us to learn about the 2015 Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments for grades 3-8 in Burlington schools. Participants will be able to explore practice tests and experience features of the PARCC TestNav application being used by students during the assessments.
Burlington students in grades 3-8 will be completing the PARCC assessments for English Language Arts and Math during the week of March 23-27. Students will be using their 1:1 iPads for the tests. The BPS EdTech and IT Teams have been preparing student devices and helping to support teachers and students for the upcoming assessments.
The BPS EdTech Team is excited to announce our next Tech Savvy Parenting night, “Branching Out with STEM.” This is the third installment of our Digital Bootcamp Series and this time our focus is on STEM – science, technology, engineering and math.
Members of the BPS EdTech Team, along with BHS Help Desk students, will provide parents and their children with information about the current state and future trends of STEM, including opportunities for young women. Parents will receive an overview of the K-12 STEM curriculum offered in Burlington and learn about potential college majors and STEM related career paths. We will also provide a list of FREE resources designed to keep children of all ages engaged in STEM activities year round. The evening will conclude with hands-on Hour of Code activities for the entire family. Parents and students will select from a variety of free coding tutorials and explore the basics of computer programming with support from the BPS EdTech Team and BHS Help Desk students. This fun and educational event is one you don’t want to miss!
Please register to attend by completing the registration form below. We look forward to seeing the whole family on Monday, March 2nd from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Any questions about this event may directed to BPS Mobile Learning Coach Jenn Scheffer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Francis Wyman 5th graders just finished up a 5-week after-school session of Lego Robotics. With the help of the high school’s robotics team (DevilBotz Team 22876) the fifth graders explored both building and programming robots using the Lego NXT robotics system.
Scheduling cut us a week shorter than usual (normally we have a 6-week session) but students were still able to learn and create a lot. After learning the basics teams of students chose from a range of simple challenges (such as kicking a ball) and got to work trying to solve it. Teams experienced setbacks and hiccups but stuck with it and came out with some pretty amazing stuff, especially considering the tight time frame. Below is a video of their creations.
Thanks to Ms. D’Amico, Mr. Musselman, and Mr. Schersten for helping out.
For the past five Mondays, Mr. Musselman and Mr. Schersten have been holding an after-school coding club for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. The students used Hopscotch, a free, introductory coding app using visual programming “blocks” to instruct the behavior of objects on screen.
Students worked their way through a series of challenges presented by Mr. Musselman and Mr. Schersten that progressively built their understanding of how programming works. Along the way they grappled with common problems programmers face when building animations, games, and technological tools. Many students were surprised at the amount of math being used in the coding, but quickly gained valuable understanding of mathematical concepts in graphing, angles, geometry, and rates of change.
By week five students with almost no programming experience had designed some amazing work. Students initially challenged with simply sketching their name on screen were able to design programs modeled after some of their favorite apps! Follow the links below to see some of their fantastic programs. To get the ultimate experience, visit these links with a tablet that has the Hopscotch app installed. Viewing these links without the app will cause some of the programs to not work properly and limit their interactivity.
Last week Francis Wyman took part in code.org‘s Hour of Code. It was a nation-wide effort to expose k-12 students to Computer Science. At Francis Wyman, every class in grades 2-5 spent an hour learning about computer programming. Some came down to the computer lab; others did the hour on iPads. First grade will do their Hour of Code this week.
Code.org has a great k-8 tutorial teaching students the basics of coding. They also have tutorials for older learners as well. These work across devices (laptop, iPad, etc) and are web-based so you can try them out at home.
However, this wasn’t really about learning to code. It was a quick exposure to Computer Science. It was about logical and sequential thinking. It was about finding creative and efficient solutions to problems. Though the tutorials were individual, it was great to see the students quickly come together to work in small ad hoc groups to find success.
Every day we have countless interactions with computers: cell phones, traffic lights, microwaves, your house’s thermostat. Do you know how those things work?