There was quite a bit of buzz this year on social media about doing activities around the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. At St. Martin’s Kindergarten, 3rd Grade, and 5th Grade joined this bandwagon. All three grade levels, learned a little about the history of the parade by listening to the book Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet.
Students then created their own version of a parade balloon using Tux Paint (in Kindergarten and 3rd Grade) or Pinta (in 5th Grade). When they were done, Mrs. Sedgwick removed the background from the Tux Paint images and then created a showcase of the balloons in Google Slides.
Next year, we’re thinking about doing a Thanksgiving robot parade with real balloons!
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!
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:
Kindergarten through 7th Grade drew turkeys using Tux Paint (Kindergarten-3rd Grade) or Paint.NET (4th Grade-7th Grade) and wrote a persuasive argument about why their turkey should not be the one on the table this Thanksgiving!