Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Tufts Early Childhood Technology (ECT) Graduate Certificate

My first post letting you know more about my new position, how exciting! Below is information I have been trying to share with people I think would be intersted in learning more. Please help me! Let me know if you think there is a place I should post or send anyone my way with questions! 

The ECT Program: 

Are you interested in learning about using new technologies with young children in playful ways? Consider joining the Tufts Early Childhood Technology (ECT) certificate program, directed by Prof. Marina Umaschi Bers!

The Tufts Early Childhood Technology (ECT) certificate program is designed for educators and practitioners working with young children in pre-kindergarten through second grade in diverse educational settings such as schools, museums, libraries, and daycares. The program will develop students' knowledge and skills in technology and engineering with a focus on early childhood. Our online classes make learning flexible for busy professionals and parents. To join ECT this September, apply by August, 1st, 2019. All students receive a KIBO robotics kit!

Early Application Promotion: Submit your completed application for ECT by July 26th and receive a FREE copyof Dr. Amanda Sullivan's new book Breaking the STEM Stereotype: Reaching Girls in Early Childhood. In the book, you'll learn how to boost girls confidence & interest in STEM with hands-on activities and developmentally appropriate technologies. 

Questions? Contact Angie Kalthoff (ME!!!), the ECT Program Manager at:

Saturday, July 13, 2019

New adventure at Tufts!

(Images found on Pinterest) 

Too many quotes to pick just one so why not share them all!

I am excited to share that I have started a new position at Tufts University as a Program Manager for the Early Childhood Technology (ECT) Certificate Program. I have learned a lot over the past 10 years at an educator in the St.Cloud Area School District 742 and am grateful for the opportunity to continue learning while at Tufts!

I have been following the work of the DevTech Research group for years. The research that has come out of the lab has changed the way I think about learning and teaching. I found the ECT program a year ago and would have applied to the program had I not been offered this position! I have been thinking a lot about Positive Technological Development (PTD) which provides children with the idea that technology can be used to make a better world, learning by doing, and powerful ideas. All of these are included in the certificate and I look forward to connecting with others looking to dig deeper. 

Dr. Amanda Sullivan worked hard to create the ECT program and I am honored to take on the role of the program manager. I have followed Amanda's work  with her focus on girls in STEM and I am looking forward to her book coming out this fall Breaking the STEM Stereotype: Reaching Girls in Early Childhood

Interested in learning more about what I will be doing? Keep reading!
See a more detailed history of my work experience on LinkedIn

What will you be doing?:

My new position is the Program Manager for the Early Childhood Technology (ECT) Graduate Certificate Program in the Eliot- Pearson Dept. of Child Study & Human Development at Tufts University

ECT is a blended-learning (online and in-person) program that introduces students to best practices teaching with technology in early childhood in a developmentally appropriate way that focuses on playful learning. Additionally, this program develops students’ pedagogical approaches and their understanding of student learning through integrated curricula that includes the arts and literacy as well as STEM.

Learn more about it here 

Do you want to signup for the program!? Applications are open until August 1, 2019!

See what it looks like by following the ECT Twitter account.

Prof. Marina Umaschi Bers, is my boss. You may know her work, here are a few things we have probably talked about in the past:

Where will you be working?:
The Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development is one of the country's leading departments serving children, youth, and families. E-P faculty and students use a strengths-based approach in their research, practice and teaching. We value diversity and are committed to building equity, inclusivity and pursuing justice in schools, services, communities and the world.

Tufts, isn't that in Boston?:
Yes, it is in Boston! Are you planning a trip to the area or do you know someone who lives there? I am new to the area and living about a mile from campus. I don't know a lot of people and would love to meet you or your friends! Whose up for lunch today?! Dinner tomorrow?

I am excited for this next chapter of life! If you have any advice for me, I am all ears! I will continue to share projects I work on through this blog, my personal Twitter and the ECT Twitter account!

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Hokey Pokey and Kibo

Today we worked on programming our robot to dance the Hokey Pokey. This lesson was inspired by the Kinderlab Robotics lesson on the Hokey Pokey from their curriculum guide.

Instead of singing "you put your right hand in..." we sang "you put your Kibo in.."

Check out a few of our attempts at singing the song while our robots preformed our code.

Kindergartners got to experiment with different blocks and changing up their song. 

This is how we pair program with Kibo. On partner scans the barcodes with Kibo and the other covers the barcodes near the one we are scanning to help the order in which the blocks are scanned. 

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Introducing Scratch JR with Challenges

The more research I have dug into and the classroom experience I have had with teaching Computer Science in elementary classrooms, I am learning how to introduce concepts through hands on work. Students are learning by doing. A concept which Seymour Papert, Marina Umaschi Bers, Mitchel Resnick, and many other CS education researchers share when writing about Constructionism.

Here is a lesson I did today in conjunction with a 3rd grade teacher to introduce ScratchJR. This 3rd grade class has expierenced programming Dash robots from Wonder Workshop and Ozobots. While this was their first time using ScratchJR it wasn't their first time programming.

Step 1: Introduce ScratchJR and the concept of an Event through "The Programmer Says" which is like "Simon Says." Click here to view the Google Slides in Drive

Step 2: Explain our app smashing project which involves creating in ScratchJR and sharing in Seesaw.

Step 3: Pair Programming work time.

Here are a few example projects from today! Click here to view in Google Drive

At the end of this month I will go back into the classroom and coteach a lesson where 3rd graders will take a piece of writing they are proud of and animate it through ScratchJR. Using the screen record feature on the iPad, we will be able to share ScratchJR projects as a video in Seesaw.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Capstone Project for ISTE U's Artificial Intelligence Course

* UPDATE Link to my project on ISTE's website *

As always, this is a lesson plan in development. Due to NUMEROUS snow/cold days this year, my schedule for teaching this lesson is off track. I am only on day two. I will share reflections and edit my document as needed. Please reach out with suggestions or additions. One area that I have been thinking about, a lot, is assessment. What would assessment look like in this lesson? Currently, I am thinking about growth mindset, creating a product, attitude when debugging, ability to collaborate, and connections with the voice of a character from the book we are reading.

Lesson Plan:

Daily Slides:

Daily Reflection Journal:

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Chatbots! Stand and Share - Part 1

I am taking part in the ISTE U - Artificial Intelligence course!

As a final project, we are required to create a lesson plan to implement new learning. My lesson plan will teach a group of fifth graders about chatbots and then they will create one. This will take place over five days and I will do my best to share what happens as I reflect after each lesson!

Day 1 - Chatbot Introduction

We welcomed students, handled house keeping information, and I introduced myself as a guest teacher. We started with a Stand and Talk.  Students broke into small groups and we handed them a paper. Their directions were to look over the paper as a group and for the next three minutes they would need to start every sentence with the words:

I wonder...
I see...

This activity is one that I learned at the last CSTA MN meeting I went to.

Let me tell you actually how I came across it. In 2016 I attended the Computer Science Facilitators Summit in New Orleans. I met Kaitie O'Bryan at the summit. She is a fellow teacher in MN but she teaches at the high school level. We connected while at the summit and have stayed in touch over Twitter since then. Fast forward to fall of 2018. We were electing new officials for our CSTA chapter and both Kaitie and I are now in leadership roles. She is our President and I am the Vice President. At our meeting in November, we partnered with CodeSavvy. At the beginning of the meeting we participated in two activities that could be used in classrooms. One was on computational thinking that Andrea led. The other was a Stand and Talk that Kaitie shared. She had first learned about it through this math webinar

As an elementary technology integrationist, with a interest in learning more about computer science and teaching it every chance possible, I typically find myself feeling intimidated. I feel like I won't know as much as other people in the room and unsure if I will be able to complete the task. Even though I know this feeling well, I keep putting myself into situations where I am able to take on the task.

I loved this activity!

As I work to teach my students a growth mindset and that there is a lot of value in learning by doing,  it is hard for me to remember at times. This activity put everyone at a level playing field. We were all wondering and talking about what we saw.

Now, back to the lesson.

Here is a glimpse into the classroom.

This is what they had to look at and talk about as a group:

Here are a few of the conversations that I was able to capture:

In the future I will incorporate more Stand and Talks into the beginning of lessons. While the videos above are only small clips of what happened in the classroom, I saw all students sharing what they saw and wondered, I heard them talking about the possibility of it being code and a conversation. I didn't enforce the "stand" part of the activity. This was at the beginning of class and I felt like it was okay for them to choose. If we had done this activity after they had been sitting for a while, I may have enforced the stand part of the activity.

Stay tuned for part two of the lesson when we get hands on with JavaScript and BitsBox!