Thursday, July 21, 2016

I'm ashamed to say it, but....

I'm excited to start the year!!

Second year of teaching full time computer applications in Hartford, expanding the robotics program from first & second to fourth and fifth. I can't wait to get started with our BearDown & RiseUp Robotics team, too!!!

I'm also planning on expanding CAD & 3D printing to third grade!

Final sprinkles on the back to school sundae, I get to share all the stuff I do with my kids, presenting a the ICE (Indiana Computer Educators) Conference in October.

Playing with computers, I mean teaching, is FUN!!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Coding Kids

I've been neglectful of my blog lately, but have posted a lot of stuff on Twitter. 9 weeks to go in the school year and I am amazed by what my kids are able to accomplish now. For the most part, they are much more independent and willing to take time to troubleshoot & solve problems. The latest big project is my 6th grade. They learned basic javaScript and drew a picture using code. Their work and attention to detail was impressive. The best part, however, was listening to them toward the end of the project say things like, "Wow, this is really easy now!" and "I never thought I'd be able to do this." After a month-ish of writing, they are done, and here are their amazing results...

6th Grade javaScript Pictures


Monday, February 15, 2016

Planning ahead...

I love it when things fall into place accidentally, and land more perfect than if you ever had planned it. I've spent the past month teaching my 6th grades basic JavaScript. They're finishing that unit with a project designing a picture of an animal. In racking my brain trying to decide what to do next, it struck me to go with what works. So we'll keep coding. And creating. They get to learn basic web design, creating a wiki on their animal, and then finish the year by using the CAD skills once again to design & 3D print their animal. Lots of pics & tweets to come!

5th grade finally decided they would write me a good, quality paper, so they get to move on. We started engineering today, with an intro to engineering and simple machines. Bridge design is next, first Popsicle stick bridges then finishing with CAD of their bridge and a 3D print of it. Lots of tweets & pics for this too!!!

I love my job.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Hack, Doing What I Love Best

This post is interwoven with irony. My father was student teaching short of being a high school math teacher, my brother is an engineer. I, on the other hand, got very little in the way of math genetics. My BS is in music ed, but my passion (and my master's degree) is in educational technology, hence my blog and current teaching job.

And now the irony... while I teach a variety of computer applications-I believe in teaching students how to use the computer as tool, a research tool, a planning tool, an escape (games) tool, a life tool, I will be spending my second semester teaching mostly computer science & engineering. Hence the irony. Math and I do not get a long. I always choose the long way to a solution, high level problems make no sense to me, and I was in calculus for three days before I dropped it my senior year and haven't looked back sense.   I think what makes this so fun is the fact that through being crappy at math I am able to take a more rudimentary approach to problems and, as a result, come with various ways to solve them and to lead kids through them. Which leads me to second semester.

I will be teaching coding, engineering, and CAD to a lot of my kids. While they will be working on a much simpler level than high school, many are advanced enough in their mathematical thinking to work on a middle school/junior high level. This will keep me on my toes, but it will also teach me a lot. I used to think that being lousy at math was a curse; I will never get a computer science endorsement, for example. But it also presents me with a challenge to stay ahead of the learning curve my students present, and to creatively challenge them in my computer classes.

With that I present my current project, CAD Christmas ornament design by my 6th graders. They did a bit of research on a European country, came up with something that symbolizes the holiday season for their country, and then CAD designed an ornament on TInkerCad that we are printing on our MakerBot Mini printer.

I love my job.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Christmas Came Early

Through the generosity of 3M, via 3MGives Indiana, and , I am able to add a Makerbot 3D printer to my computer curriculum. 

Lots of exciting things to come!