Friday, September 29, 2017

Computational Thinking, Coding, Robotics, Computer Science in Kindergarten.... Oh My and Why!

It's an exciting time to be a kindergartner!

A few years ago, when I had my own classroom, the first month was focused on building relationships, establishing routines and learning how to act in school. I didn't even think about bringing in lessons that were enhanced by the use of technology until mid October. We are introducing coding, robots, and engineering in the first month of school. Prior to this year, I didn't think it could be done.  Which is why I challenged myself this year to try it. A very dear friend of mine opened up her kindergarten classroom for me to try a few new lessons and it has been the highlight of my year so far. I look forward to returning soon!

I plan to share out lessons on by blog this year with a focus on the integration of plugged, unplugged, and robotics lessons in k-12 classrooms with an emphasis on elementary. I will start with a few kindergarten lessons.

My goal was to bring in the following standards:

ISTE Standards for Students

Computational Thinker
Students develop and employ strategies for understanding and solving problems in ways that leverage the power of technological methods to develop and test solutions.

5a - Students formulate problem definitions suited for technology-assisted methods such as data analysis, abstract models and algorithmic thinking in exploring and finding solutions.
5b - Students collect data or identify relevant data sets, use digital tools to analyze them, and represent data in various ways to facilitate problem-solving and decision-making.
5c - Students break problems into component parts, extract key information, and develop descriptive models to understand complex systems or facilitate problem-solving.
5d - Students understand how automation works and use algorithmic thinking to develop a sequence of steps to create and test automated solutions.

CS Framework 

Algorithms and Programming
Algorithms - Students will understand that people follow and create process as part of daily life.
Control- Students will understand that computers follow precise sequences of instructions that automate tasks.
Program development- People develop programs collaboratively and for a purpose, such as expressing ideas or addressing problems.

Impacts of Computing
Culture- Students will understand computing technology has positively and negatively changed the way people live and work.

Computing Systems
Devices - Students will understand that people use computing devices to perform a variety of tasks accurately and quickly. Computing devices interpret and follow the instructions they are given literally.
Troubleshooting- Students will understand that computing systems might not work as expected because of hardware or software problems. Clearly describing a problem is the first step toward finding a solution.

Kindergarten Specific Standards
Algebra Recognize, create, complete, and extend patterns.
K.2.1.1 Identify, create, complete, and extend simple patterns using shape, color, size, number, sounds and movements. Patterns may be repeating, growing or shrinking such as ABB, ABB, ABB or ●,●●,●●●.
Writing Process: Production and Distribution of Writing With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.) With guidance and support from adults, explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on kindergarten reading and content. a. Identify new meanings for familiar words and apply them accurately (e.g., knowing duck is a bird and learning the verb to duck). b. Use the most frequently occurring inflections and affixes (e.g., -ed, -s, re-, un-, pre-, -ful, -less) as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts.
K 1. The Nature of Science and Engineering 1. The Practice of Science 2. Scientific inquiry is a set of interrelated processes used to pose questions about the natural world and investigate phenomena. Use observations to develop an accurate description of a natural phenomenon and compare one’s observations and descriptions with those of others.
K 1. The Nature of Science and Engineering 2. The Practice of Engineering 1. Some objects occur in nature; others have been designed and processed by people Sort objects in to two groups: those that are found in nature and those that are human made. For example: Cars, pencils, trees, rocks.
K 4. Life Science 1. Structure and Function of Living Systems 1. Living things are diverse with many different observable characteristics. Observe and compare plants and animals.
K 4. Life Science 2. Structure and Function of Living Systems 1. Living things are diverse with many different observable characteristics. Identify the external parts of a variety of plants and animals including humans. For example: Heads, legs, eyes and ears on humans and animals, flowers, stems and roots on many plants.
K 4. Life Science 1. Structure and Function of Living Systems 1. Living things are diverse with many different observable characteristics. Differentiate between living and nonliving things. For example: Sort organisms and objects (or pictures of these) into groups of those that grow, and reproduce, and need air, food, and water; and those that don't.
Language Arts- Literature
K. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.

EdSurge Tech Leader Circle in Minneapolis 10/24/17

EdSurge is traveling around the country, getting to know local school leaders and learning about their success and challenges around personalized learning. The Tech Leader Circle events are funded by a grant from the nonprofit Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and are small gatherings of current educators doing innovative work around personalized learning. The event will consist of networking, sharing, and collaboration with educators across the region, where educators will have the opportunity to learn from the wisdom and knowledge in the room, and walk away with new ideas and connections to learn from. EdSurge will be there to listen and find people who want to write and share their stories around personalized learning out on the EdSurge network--we want to amplify educator voices and learn about the inspiring work that is going on in the Minneapolis area and I will be there to help out!!

RSVP to the event in Minneapolis on Oct 24th!
Maybe next time we can get the signup in Ermarie!

Please let me know if you have any questions!
You can Tweet at me @mrskalthoff or email me

Here are some of the recent articles published in EdSurge from our TLCs across the country:

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Computer Science for All

In a time when it is hard to be excited about what you see on the news, Monday was an exciting day!

The White House is expanding access to Computer Science education by committing $200 million per year in America's schools.

I support's vision:
"Our vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science, just like biology, chemistry or algebra. "

I support Kodable's goal:
"Helping teachers and parents teach computer science to tomorrow’s innovators."

I support Wonder Workshop's mission:
"to bring learning and laughter to children around the world."

You can find more information about Computer Science education by going to Twitter and searching #CSforALL or check out this Social Screen

Here are articles with more information

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Without a Net

Tonight, I plan to watch Without A Net.

It is introduced as:

"At a time when American students from economically deprived schools are often ill-prepared for the global, digital economy, Without a Net explores how technology can provide opportunities for learning and can help level the playing field.  "

The preview video starts with a student showing how they use code and robots in school and then cuts to another student who shares how she doesn't think that she will use technology in her classroom.

I am interested to see how schools across the national handle access to technology. Not only the access but the use. Just because a student has access to technology, doesn't mean that it is going to provide them with the opportunities that will prepare them for the digital economy and their future.

Here the link to learn more about 
Without a Net

Fall workshops are ready for registration!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Getting Ready for Your CS Fundamentals Workshop

When I lead workshops, I bring with robots and other tools to help teach Computational Thinking (CT). In order to have more time to work with these tools, you could complete 10 puzzles in Code Studio ahead of time.

Here are some videos to help you get started:

Creating a Teacher account in

Completing 10 puzzles in Code Studio

You could complete 10 puzzles in any of the courses A-F.
Go to the following link to choose the course that is best for you. 

In this example, there are seven puzzles complete. You can see that the puzzles are complete because the shapes are filled in with a solid green color.

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