4th Grade Portfolios

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:

If you’re interested in all of the portfolios, check the Student e-Portfolio page for links to all of them. The portfolios are always a work in progress so not all posts may be complete.

The Hour of Code is Here – Day 2

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.

HOC 2014 - Day 2

1st Grade:

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.

1st Grade - Tuesday

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:

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.

hoc2014-2nd01

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.

7th and 8th - Tuesday

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.

The Hour of Code is Here – Day 1

HOC is here

In celebration of Computer Science Education Week, all K-8 students are taking part in the Hour of Code. This week is a teaser of what’s to come during the 2nd semester when all classes will focus on Computer Science in more depth but it’s exciting to participate in a worldwide event like this! Here’s what happened today.

3rd Grade:

After learning more about Computer Programming from Tim & Moby at BrainPop, 3rd Grade got busy starting to animate their names in Scratch. I’m excited to see the finished animations on Friday.  My favorite moment with 3rd grade was at this point in the video …

BrainPOP PB Sandwich

… one of the students said “Well, he DID open the jar.” Yes, he did. You have to be very specific when programming a computer.

5th Grade:

5th Grade started off their first Hour of Code day watching a video about the Top 10 Reasons to Code and discussing who were in the posters we have displayed in the Computer Lab:

HOC Posters

The girls (5th Grade is one of our two all girls classes) knew who two out of the five (we don’t have the Ashton Kutcher poster up in the lab) were. They didn’t know Mark Zuckerberg though when I mentioned Facebook, they knew who he was. I loved the reaction when I talked about who the women in the posters were (especially Susan Wojcicki – what 5th grader doesn’t love YouTube) and about Grace Hopper and why she is honored during Computer Science Education Week.

Ready to code, 5th Grade also started working on animating their names  in Scratch. I am looking forward to their finished animations and maybe some coded Christmas cards next week, too!

6th Grade:

6th Grade (our other all girls class) also started with a discussion about the posters though this time they knew all of the men but neither of the women. Makes you wonder why they don’t know about the women? 6th Grade also watched the Top 10 Reasons to Code video:

After this introduction, 6th Grade researched Grace Hopper to try to answer these two questions:

  • Who is Grace Hopper?
  • What does Grace Hopper have to do with Computer Science Education Week?

6th Grade Research

The best part of this research was hearing the girls exclaim “She was amazing!” and ask “Why don’t we know about her?” Well, now they do!


Did you know that the President also tried his hand at coding today at the White House? He was using Code with Anna and Elsa from Code.org. Some of our students have tried this and others will at some point.

If your child is interested in coding, you can set up an account for them on the Scratch Website or install the Offline Editor for them to use on a home computer. At school, students use either the Offline Editor or the Online Editor without saving and their completed projects are uploaded to a single account for the Computer Lab.

The Hour of Code Is Coming!

hoc2014-banner

Next week, December 8th – 12th, is Computer Science Education Week and St. Martin’s students are once again taking part in what may be the biggest educational event ever. During their computer class time, students will be learning some basic coding skills and concepts with a variety of Computer Science activities. Last year over 15 million people took part and this year the goal is to reach 100 million people who have completed an Hour of Code!

For most classes, the week will be a teaser of what’s to come next semester. Here’s some of what St. Martin’s students may be doing:

  • Helping the fuzzFamily explore Smeeborg with the Kodable app and learning about programming logic, sequences, loops and more along the way.
  • Learning about algorithms, sequencing, and debugging with Code.org’s Computer Science course.
  • Creating an All About Me project or interactive greeting card with the Scratch, Jr. app.
  • Programming an interactive greeting card using Scratch, a visual programming environment from MIT.
  • Learning about Grace Hopper, the woman who is honored during CS Education Week, and debugging Scratch code.
  • Programming Sphero robots.

This blog will be updated with what each class will be doing as the week progresses. Some of the completed coding efforts will also be shared on the blog after the week is over. If you are interested in what you child is doing each week in the Computer Lab, head over to the Computer Lab Wiki.

If you want to know more about The Hour of Code, you can visit the official website at hourofcode.com.

What’s Best About St. Martin’s!

This week the K-8 collaborative presentation about the best things at St. Martin’s was finished. Each student drew a self-portrait and wrote or dictated, in the case of Kindergarten, what they think makes St. Martin’s the best school.

Check it out and let us know what YOU think. Does your child (or grandchild) attend St. Martin’s? Did you attend St. Martin’s? What do you think is best about St. Martin’s?


You can use the arrow keys to navigate through the slides or click the play button and the slides will automatically advance every 30 seconds.

In addition to finishing up this project, this week also included:

  • Kindergarten: Finishing up dots for Dot Day and starting Adventures in Keyboarding
  • 1st Grade: Finishing up dots for Dot Day and starting Rainbow Alphabets
  • 2nd Grade: Creating dots that show how they will make their mark on the world for Dot Day
  • 3rd Grade: Keyboarding with Keyboard Climber games
  • 4th Grade: Creating a spreadsheet and taking Keyboarding Speed Tests
  • 5th Grade: Creating a spreadsheet and taking Keyboarding Speed Tests
  • 6th Grade: Keyboarding Speed Tests and learning how to format Science Labs in Microsoft Word
  • 7th Grade: Keyboarding Speed Tests and reviewing how to format Science Labs in Microsoft Word
  • 8th Grade: Keyboarding Speed Tests and first posts on their Google Sites

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

It’s typical that things always take longer than expected in the Computer Lab. Take absent students, students learning to log-in to Google Apps, students learning to use the mouse, and more and you have delays in getting things done. The What’s Best About St. Martin’s presentation is no exception. It’s been a lot of fun watching students work on their slide. Their reactions when they realize that they can see where their classmates are working have been priceless.

Here’s a sneak peek at a few of the slides. Fingers crossed that this will be finished this coming week!

Sneak Peek!

2014-15 Beginning of the Year Projects

Each year, one of the very first projects that all K-8 students complete is drawing a self-portrait. It is really fun to track their progress and see what amazing artists they become as the years go by. Kindergarten hasn’t started this yet because they’re still practicing mouse skills and are learning to use the Tux Paint tools with an International Dot Day picture. Kindergarten through 3rd grade use Tux Paint to draw their portraits while 4th through 8th grades use a more sophisticated graphics program, Paint.NET, that allows for layers and other more advanced graphics editing.

Here are a few samples from 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 7th grade and 8th grade. Other students are still working on their portraits and we’ll be sharing all of them in a fun slideshow once they’re completed!

2014 Self Portrait Samples

Here’s what Kindergarten has started for International Dot Day. Using the mouse is still very new to most of them and they just used Tux Paint for the very first time today! Once their Dot Day pictures are created, they’ll start on their self-portraits!

Dot Day 2014 - Just 2!