CS Ed Week 2018

It’s Computer Science Education Week and we’re celebrating creativity in the Computer Lab. This year we will be dancing (physically and virtually) all week long. Here’s a glimpse at what we’re doing…

Kindergarten – 2nd Grade:
It’s dancing robots time in Kindergarten through 2nd Grade. Students will be programming Bee-Bots and Robot Mice to dance! First we will be reading the book Bug Dance by Stuart J. Murphy and then the students will be doing the Bug Dance and teaching their robots how to do it as well. Once the Bug Dance is mastered, students will program custom dances into their robots, as well.

3rd Grade – 5th Grade:
Grades 3 through 5 will be starting off with some unplugged dancing to review the concepts of Events and Loops. Then they will move on to programming a Dance Party in Scratch. There will be music and dancing and maybe even some webcam magic happening and all of the final projects will be shared on the students’ ePortfolios.

Middle School:
St. Martin’s Middle Schoolers will be coding a Dance Party on Code.org! This new option for CSEdWeek looks to be lots of fun and I can’t wait to see what the students will create. Again, all of the final projects will be shared on the students’ ePortfolios.

What are you doing for Computer Science Education Week?

If you are a teacher and interested in the lesson plans for our CSEdWeek, they are available at:

NO Power!

So what do you do when you teach in a computer lab and rely on having electricity and access to the Internet and the power’s out? That was the case today at school. So were the computer classes canceled for the day? Absolutely NOT!

1st Grade: Pumpkin Life Cycle

1st Grade uses iPads this year and though what had been planned for the day needed the Internet, Plan B was quickly put into place. After a quick discussion about the life cycle of a pumpkin, 1st grade got to work drawing pictures of each of the 6 parts of the life cycle. Next class, they’ll finish those up and then create short animations or maybe animated GIFs to show off the pumpkin life cycle. Anyone know of a good app for creating animated GIFs for 1st graders?

Pumpkin Vine with Flowers

2nd & 8th Grades: Algorithms with Legos

Both 2nd and 8th grades were given a small Ziploc with 5-6 Lego pieces. They were told to build something with them (while not showing it to others) and then to write an algorithm that they could give to someone else to rebuild the same thing. This is based on this Activity Guide from Code.org. 2nd grade got through the building and mostly through the writing process. They will try the rebuild during their next class. The good thing about this for 2nd grade is that they participate in the Monster Project every year and that also has them create something and then describe it so someone else can recreate it. 8th grade completed this activity with a few “almost” successful algorithms but mostly non-successful ones. It’s tough to be that detailed even for 8th graders!

7th Grade: Power Back!

The power came back on before 7th grade came into the lab so they did their regularly scheduled lesson (using EasyBib to create a bibliography for their DAR Essay). They were very disappointed that they didn’t get to play with Legos but that will happen later in the year for them!

Mrs. Sedgwick has decided that she needs to have more “unplugged” activities ready to go just in case!

Back To School

We’ve been back to school for a week and a half now and classes are getting busy in the lab. Here’s what’s been happening so far!

Kindergarten & 1st Grade:

Both Kindergarten and 1st Grade will be using iPads for most of the year rather than the desktop computers. Kindergarten & 1st grade started the year with an introduction to the iPads including the names for the parts of the iPad and have taken selfies and a few other pictures. They will be definitely getting more practice with the camera as the year goes on.
Kindergarten & 1st Grade also participated in International Dot Day which is a celebration of creativity centered around the book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. This year over 10 million people world-wide were part of the celebration! Both classes heard the story, The Dot, and then created color wheel dots, inspired by Tricia Fugelstad, an amazing art teacher from Illinois. The best part was seeing their dots come to life using the Quiver app on the iPads. I love hearing the “gasps” when it first happens!

Kindergarten and 1st grade have also started drawing their self-portraits using the Tux Paint app. We will use a variety of drawing apps this year to try to figure out which one we like best.

2nd & 3rd Grades:

After an introductory review of the Computer Lab Rules, our 2nd & 3rd graders have been drawing their self-portraits. This is something that we do every year from Kindergarten-3rd grade and it is always fun to see how these evolve over the years.

4th-8th Grades:

Our upper elementary and middle school students always start off the year with a series of keyboarding speed tests to see how well they are currently typing. They retake these same tests every quarter and create graphs of their growth at the end of the year. This isn’t only a keyboarding activity but a chance to work with some data in Google Spreadsheets as well.Every year the passwords on student accounts are reset. This year rather then just generating random passwords for all of the students, all students in grades 4-8 are participating in lessons on how to create strong passwords. Students will be generating their own password for the year based on some specific recommendations. Coming up in the lab, all students in grades K-5 will be participating in the O.R.E.O. Project – yes cookies will be involved and Google Spreadsheets, too!

Check Out Our ePortfolios

Did you see? Our 3rd graders finished setting up their Google Sites for the year and adding their first post about drawing their self-portrait. Check out their sites so far!

5th grade is currently working on getting their Google Sites set up. We have two that are live so far. More will be coming soon!

2nd grade has been busy adding the work they have completed to the 2nd Grade Seesaw Blog and Kindergarten also has some completed work on the Kindergarten Seesaw Blog. 1st grade will be wrapping up a project soon and sharing it as well.

4th grade and Middle School are busy with beginning of the year assignments but will be creating or updating their ePortfolio sites soon! Keep checking back on our Student ePortfolios page.

December in the Lab

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

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

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.

5th Grade

5th Grade also used a Code.org tutorial but they did the Star Wars JavaScript tutorial including creating their own Star Wars game at the end. Check out Quarter 2 on the 5th Grade’s Google Sites after we’re back in school in January for reflections on the Hour of Code and links to their Star Wars games.

6th Grade

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.

7th Grade

7th Grade also started out the month doing research on Computing Pioneers and Innovators. They, too, will be creating trading cards and sharing these in January. The Hour of Code this year was all about moving from block-based coding into text-based coding. 7th Grade used a tutorial from Khan Academy and did some drawing with code using JavaScript. They will be documenting this process and sharing their final project in January on their Google Sites.

8th Grade

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.

Welcome to the 2015-16 School Year

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:

1st grade just finished their self-portraits for this year and will be sharing them in a collaborative Google Slides presentation soon.

2nd Grade:

2nd grade has finished their self-portraits for the year and will be sharing them along with some writing soon.

3rd Grade:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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.