The main focus during December in the Computer Lab was the Hour of Code though for most classes this was more than an hour. What did each grade do? Here’s a little peek into the action.
Kindergarten students spent some time on the Planet Smeeborg helping the fuzzFamily solve mazes using the Kodable app on iPads and Android tablets.
1st Grade also used iPads and Android tablets to solve levels in The Foos app. They loved building with the Builder and growing and shrinking as the Ninja.
Kindergarten and 1st Grade also did some activities about Christmas. Kindergarten heard Jan Brett’s story, The Gingerbread Baby, and then they decorated their own Gingerbread person with a few guidelines: the eyes on their Gingerbread person were to have eyes the same color as their eyes, the number of buttons were to represent their age and were triangles if the student was a boy and hearts if the student was a girl. 1st Grade heard the story of the Nativity and then drew their own Nativity scenes.
2nd Grade also used tablets and did some block-based coding in the ScratchJr. app. They first learned how to make characters move using a guided activity to drive a car (or other vehicle) across the screen. Then they learned how to make characters talk, both with speech bubbles and using their own voices. Finally, they created ScratchJr. Christmas cards and here are some examples:
If you’re interested in what their “code” looked like, check it out:
3rd & 4th Grades
Both 3rd & 4th Graders solved levels and then created their own Minecraft level (if they got that far) in the Code.org Minecraft Tutorial. Keep an eye on their portfolios once school starts back up in January because they will be updating their experience and sharing their created Minecraft adventures.
6th Grade started off the month doing some research on Computing Pioneers and Innovators. They will be finishing up some trading cards for these in January which will be shared on this blog and on the students’ Google Sites. 6th Grade then spent their Hour of Code time debugging problem programs in Scratch and documenting what they did using Google Slides. They will be sharing the process on their Google Sites in January.
In addition to debugging and documenting, each time a bug was solved a bug was drawn on the whiteboard.
8th Grade also moved into text-based coding this year during the Hour of Code. They learned some Python using Trinket. They will be finishing up their posts about this in January once we are back in school and will be sharing their Python creations on their Google Sites.
The Hour of Code was just a kick-off to a larger Computer Science unit that classes will be doing during the 2nd semester.
Kindergarten through 2nd Grade celebrated “thankfulness” this month, not only during chapel and their character development classes, but also in the Computer Lab. Kindergarten and 1st Grade students drew a turkey in Tux Paint and then had their turkeys tell the world what they were thankful for. 2nd Grade students also used Tux Paint to draw their pictures but they drew and labeled pictures of what they are thankful for.
This year for International Dot Day, St. Martin’s 2nd Graders created a dot to illustrate how they plan to make their mark on the world in the future. They created their dots in Tux Paint using the template from the Quiver 3D Coloring App. When they were done, Mrs. Sedgwick cropped out just their dot and the 2nd graders added these to a Google Slide and then wrote some information about their dot and making their mark on the world.
This post reminds me that we still need to look at our dots in the Quiver app!
We are doing more and more with Google Apps in the Computer Lab these days. In addition, in Middle School, students are also completing English assignments in Google Apps and may also be using Google Apps to complete their Science Lab reports. This means that your child may be logged into their Google Apps account at home to complete work.
If your child is logged into their Google Apps account and you go to Gmail to try to access your email, you will see this message:
You get this message because St. Martin’s students have Google accounts but they do not have Gmail accounts. Your child needs to sign out from their Google Apps account from:
Yes, we’re back for another year! All classes have been into the Computer Lab at least once and most have been in at least twice. We start off the year with some procedures and guidelines and then jump into some beginning of the year items. Here’s what we’ve done so far this year:
International Dot Day – Kindergarten has heard the story The Dot and are working on their very own dot pictures which we are going to bring to life using the Quiver app.
1st grade just finished their self-portraits for this year and will be sharing them in a collaborative Google Slides presentation soon.
2nd grade has finished their self-portraits for the year and will be sharing them along with some writing soon.
Our 3rd graders will be working on self-portraits next week since they have only been to the lab once so far due to the Labor Day holiday and the Fall Fundraiser kickoff this week.
4th grade completed the Technology Survey for the year and is working on a spreadsheet that they will use for the year to track their keyboarding speed. This is a big task because they need to work with multiple tabs on the browser along with an Excel spreadsheet.
5th grade also completed our beginning of the year technology survey and is working on their beginning of the year keyboarding speed tests.
6th grade has also completed the beginning of the year technology survey and is working on their beginning of the year keyboarding speed tests. They have also been introduced to Google Classroom which will be used for turning in work in both the Computer Lab and their Language Arts class this year.
7th grade has also completed the beginning of the year technology survey and their beginning of the year keyboarding speed tests. They have also been introduced to Google Classroom which will be used for turning in work in both the Computer Lab and their Language Arts class this year.
8th grade has also completed the beginning of the year technology survey and their beginning of the year keyboarding speed tests. They have also been introduced to Google Classroom which will be used for turning in work in both the Computer Lab and their Language Arts class this year.
Speaking of the Technology Survey, did you know:
71% of St. Martin’s 4th-8th grade students own a cell phone
Only 5% of St. Martin’s 4th-8th graders don’t have access to / or don’t use some kind of gaming system
The most popular use of the Internet outside of school is for playing games followed closely by watching videos
Don’t forget that you can check the Computer Lab Wiki for more details on what’s happening in St. Martin’s Computer Lab.
Computer Science is the focus in the Computer Lab this quarter for most grades. 1st Grade is now exploring Computer Science with Code.org’s Course 1 but before they started this they worked a bit in Scratch. Scratch has typically been used by 2nd grade (near the end of the year) and up but 1st grade has already done some amazing things.
The first project that they attempted was drawing squares and triangles, if they finished the square. This involves math that is not normally taught in 1st grade. Yes, a 1st grader knows what a square and a triangle look like. But, they don’t often talk about turning at a 90 degree angle or a 120 degree angle yet that’s what the conversations were in order to complete this coding task in Scratch.
Once the first project was done, it was time to try some storytelling in Scratch. The story the 1st graders were tasked to tell was a story about them. Students had to pick a background for their project from the library of backgrounds, draw themselves in the Paint Editor in Scratch, record some facts about themselves, and write the code to have their recording play when the project is started. You need to check these out!
Click the image to see 1st Grade’s Scratch All About Me projects
In Computer Class, 5th Grade and up keep portfolios of their work on a Google Site. This year in 4th Grade, the students are keeping portfolios using Google Slides. Check out what they’ve done so far this year:
Day 2 saw 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 7th Grade, and 8th Grade start their Hour of Code activities. 1st and 2nd Grade used apps on iPads and Android tablets.
After trying to program Mrs. Sedgwick to walk to the door, 1st Grade used the app, The Foos, to program each Foo to solve problems, gain abilities, collect coins and stars, and to explore Fooville. As students complete levels, the programming that each Foo requires gets more complex. Today, the 1st Grade students got through the first 8 levels with the Police Foo and are currently working on the next 8 levels with the Builder Foo. It was great to see the students working together to solve the levels as they got tougher. I’m excited to see how far they can get in their second class this week.
The Foos, and other coding game apps like this, help students to analyse and solve problems and teach basic programming concepts such as writing algorithms and using loops. The Foos runs on Android tablets, iPads, and on computers in a web browser. Students won’t have time to solve all of the levels of The Foos in the lab this week, so you can have your child do this at home.
2nd Grade also started off the day trying to program Mrs. Sedgwick to walk to the door. They learned that computers (and humans pretending to be robots) need very specific instructions in order to be able to do anything. After this, students were shown a little about the iPad app, ScratchJr. The exciting thing about this app is that it’s not a leveled game that teaches coding concepts, but it’s a coding environment that lets students create animations and tell stories with code.
The 2nd Grade students are creating a two scene animation that will move a character across the screen and other things of their choosing. The picture above is the start of one pair of students animation. I’m excited to see how these turn out at the end of the week!
If you have access to an iPad, ScratchJr is a free app that lets students learn about events, sequencing, loops, and more.
Middle School – 7th & 8th Grades:
Just like 6th Grade yesterday, 7th & 8th Grade students watched the Top 10 Reasons to Code video, learned about the people on the posters in the Computer Lab, and then worked on researching Grace Hopper. I’m looking forward to the debugging activities that they will be doing later in the week in Scratch.
Day 2 was a busy day and there’s a lot more coming this week. Stay tuned and be watching for completed coding projects from 2nd – 8th Grades.