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:

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.


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!


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.

Hour of Code – Days 4 & 5

Wow, the last two days of the Hour of Code were a whirlwind with students trying out lots of different coding options!


Kindergarten & 1st Grade

Kindergarten and 1st Grade continued their adventures with the Kodable app and WOW did they do an awesome job. Almost all students finished the If Fuzz Then Roll (If/Then) section of Smeeborg and some students even finished some levels of the Loopy Lesson section. We even had a few older students ask about being able to use iPads and use Kodable.



1st Grade Kodable

2nd Grade

2nd Grade spent the day programming a robot on BotLogic.us. Some of the levels get quite tricky and just when you think you have it the robot ends up one square short of getting home! It was great fun to watch the students try to figure out how to fix the problems they had and those who got it were always eager to help others to get it, too! Have your 2nd Grader show you how it works and try to solve level 8 or level 11. Can you get it on your 1st try?

3rd & 4th Grades

3rd and 4th grade students continued solving the mazes in the Code.org drag & drop programming option for Hour of Code learning about IF/THEN and repeat loops. As levels got harder, there were some frustrations trying to understand what to do to make it work. After reviewing the videos provided and sometimes with a little hint, students got at least most of the way through all 20 mazes.

5th Grade

5th Grade continued to work on their Interactive Holiday Cards using Scratch. It was fun to watch as sprites began to move and “talk” and spin and make sounds. I’ll be sharing these just as soon as they are complete (next week) so that you can see the results!

7th Grade

7th Grade students continued to work with MIT App Inventor making progress on their Android apps. There were still some issues getting the emulator started which provided some frustrations and a few “bugs” in some apps but progress was made by all. One of the 7th graders even completed all 4 of the apps for Hour of Code! The 7th Grade students will be sharing what they did and their actual apps on their Google Sites next week.

8th Grade

App development was also going strong in 8th Grade using TouchDevelop but this time all but one student was using their computer rather than a device. As 8th Graders finished their first app, most went on to create at least one more app and sometimes 2 or 3 more. When they had enough of app development, some of the 8th graders also tackled the mazes in the Code.org drag & drop programming option. 8th Grade will be sharing what they did with the Hour of Code on their Google Sites next week.

So that’s it for the Hour of Code this year … or is it? Some grades will be continuing some coding next week and some grades will be doing more with coding later this school year so stay tuned!


Hour of Code – Day 3

Day 3 of The Hour of Code brought Kindergarten, 4th Grade and 6th Grade (back for round 2) into the lab.

Hour of Code - Day 3: Kindergarten


Since Kindergarten has also been using Bee-Bot this year, the day started out talking about programming with the Bee-Bot and having the Bee-Bot move in a square. After this, Kindergarten learned a little bit about the fuzzFamily and how they came to be on Smeeborg and then they saw a demo of the first level of the Kodable app. Then it was time to get into pairs (or a trio for the boys) and try out the app! There was a little confusion with the conditionals but everyone figured it out and had a great time. I can’t wait to see how far they get tomorrow.

6th Grade

6th Grade was up next in the lab for their second day of The Hour of Code. The boys in the class continued with MIT App Inventor and the girls decided to check out some Javascript with Code Avengers. Unfortunately, we had a very difficult time getting the emulator to load in MIT App Inventor which means it wasn’t possible to test the Talk To Me apps that were completed. I did show a couple of them on the demo computer which leads me to believe that it might be a memory problem on the student computers since they have less memory than the demo computer. I plan to have 6th Grade do some more coding next week since they didn’t make the progress they (or I) would have liked this week.

4th Grade

4th Grade was the final class for the day. After watching the The Hour of Code introduction video, 4th Grade started to work their way through the Code.org drag & drop programming option for the 20 minutes they had left of class. They made really good progress and I can’t wait to see how many of them make it through the rest of the levels tomorrow.

Tomorrow, it’s the second day of The Hour of Code for Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 4th Grade, and 5th Grade and day 4 for the week of The Hour of Code!

Deal on Kodable Pro: The Kodable app that we are using for The Hour of Code is a free app but there is also a Kodable Pro app (with even more levels) that is normally $6.99. For Computer Science Education Week, you can now get this app for $0.99!



Hour of Code – Day 2

1st Grade, 7th Grade and 8th Grade got their first chance to participate in The Hour of Code today and we were trying lots of things in the lab that we’ve never done before!

1st Grade

Once I decided to have all grades participate in The Hour of Code, I knew that I wanted to use an iPad app with Kindergarten and 1st Grade. The problem was, we don’t have iPads at school – well other than some of the teachers’ personal ones. So, I set out to borrow enough that we could have an iPad available for each pair of students and YAY! we got enough for this to happen. Thank you so much to our school secretary, Mrs. Wright, Ian’s mom, and Diya’s mom for loaning their iPads for The Hour of Code.

1st Grade (and Kindergarten and 2nd, too) have been doing some pre-coding activities with Bee-Bot since the beginning of the year so the day started out talking about what programmers do and how they have been programming Bee-Bot. After this introduction, I told 1st Grade the story of the fuzzFamily and how they came to be on the planet Smeeborg and explained what they were going to do to help them explore the planet. Then it was time to try out Kodable! Oh what fun and great excitement when everyone got past the “pink” level as they called it. I am excited to see how far they will get in the app when they return for more on Thursday.

Hour of Code - 1st Grade - Kodable

7th Grade

7th Grade watched The Hour of Code introduction video and discussed what coding is. They were then introduced to  MIT App Inventor and got to work programming their very first Android app! Everyone completed their app (even though bringing up the emulator is extremely slow) and will continue with the second version of the app on Friday when we should have at least one Android device to test them on. Fingers crossed that we can get this working (since it will have to be using a USB connection I think) – this should be great fun if it works!

Hour of Code - 7th & 8th Grade

8th Grade

8th Grade’s class started with watching The Hour of Code introduction video and discussing what coding is. After this, the students were introduced to TouchDevelop. Our school has a no personal devices policy for students but the 8th graders were allowed to bring in their devices to use during their Hour of Code development. Half of them did bring in their devices though a couple of the students ended up using the computer instead of their device when they actually started to create their apps. It will be interesting to see who continues to use devices and who else may bring their device on Friday when they’re back in the lab for more. By the end of the class, we had a few completed apps and others who were almost done. Friday’s class will start off with a demo of some of the apps and they’ll be shared on this blog and the student’s Google sites once the week is over.

Now it’s on to Day 3 with Kindergarten, 4th Grade and more MIT App Inventor with 6th Grade.

Hour of Code – Day 1

The Hour of Code is a huge worldwide event with over 3.7 million people already participating and over 115 million lines of code written so far and I’m so excited that St. Martin’s is a part of this.

Yes, that was President Obama, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosch, Mark Zuckerburg, Shakira, Angela Bassett, Ashton Kucher and more that you saw in that video.

Today, it was 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 5th Grade & 6th Grade that had a chance to try their hand at some coding and here’s what they have done so far … they’ll have some time later this week and maybe even next week to do some more.

2nd Grade

The 2nd graders spent the day programming Mrs. Sedgwick to get through a maze in the Computer Lab and were introduced to BotLogic.us where on Friday they will try to guide a robot through a series of mazes. Some of the 2nd graders had a sneak peek at Hour of Code last week doing some programming with Espresso Coding and Light-bot.

3rd Grade

After watching the video embedded above, 3rd Grade got right to work on with the Code.org drag & drop programming option for Hour of Code. This requires that students write drag & drop programs to solve a series of mazes. There is video help from people like Mark Zuckerburg and Bill Gates and students can even look under the hood and see the actual code they wrote!

Hour of Code Day 1: 3rd & 5th

5th Grade

Next up, it was 5th Grade’s turn. They also watched the video linked above and then got to work on creating an interactive holiday card using Scratch. Scratch is a drag and drop visual programming language. I can’t wait to see what their cards end up looking like when they’re done.

6th Grade

The last class of the day was 6th Grade. Before they started on their programming adventure all of Middle School came to the lab for a Skype call with a high school app developer, Stephen Oro. Stephen developed his first app when he was 14 for his high school and currently has his original app and four others in the iTunes App Store. He is currently working more apps including one that will let you program other apps, I’m really excited about this one! A big thank you to Stephen for taking the time to talk to our Middle School students about coding and being an app developer.

Stephen Oro


After the Skype call, 6th Grade started playing with MIT App Inventor which is a free development environment that lets you create apps for Android devices. They didn’t have much time today but will continue working with this on Wednesday and probably into next week also.

That’s it for Day 1 – tomorrow it will be 1st Grade, 8th Grade and 7th Grade learning to code.