Friday, October 24, 2014

Code Like a Girl

On Wednesday's Deerpark's Code Like a Girl Club meets in the library.  The girls have coded avatars, and at our last meeting, they created beats using the website Made With Code.  When the girls were asked why they wanted to come to Code Like a Girl, the answers ranged from wanting to meet more friends to learning how to program.  Here are some examples of the beats that were created at the last meeting.  

The next meeting will be Wednesday, 11/05/14.  Join us to learn some more creative programming


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mystery Hangout

Mrs. Pazos' Zone class will be starting a collaborative blogging activity with two other schools from Canada and Houston, Texas.  So the students could get to know a little bit more about each other, they had a mystery Google Hangout with the school from Canada.  Each student had a job from documenting the hangout, to looking through atlases, to searching Google Earth on the library iPads.  Each class was only allowed to ask yes or no questions to find out more about the location of the other class.  Based on their answers, runners would relay the information to the researchers, who would send back follow up questions to ask.  In the end, both classes figured out the other class' mystery location.  It was a wonderful lesson in geography and research.  

The students will continue to collaborate together through blogging after reading the same book.  Look for posts in the future highlighting some of their blog posts!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"Applying" Flowboard to Colleges

Ms. Pikas' Next Generation Digital Classroom is researching college tuition and creating a function to represent the cost per credit hour.  The experience is reinforcing concepts of finding slope, and applying algebraic functions to real world learning.  Students are using their iPads to create a Flowboard multimedia presentation including a graph of their function, a video advertisement for their college, and pictures of their work.  

Flowboard is an iPad app that allows students to add images, videos, text into a beautiful presentation.  Students ended up with a link to their presentation that they turned in through their Google Classroom.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Connected Educator Olympics

Your DMS teachers have started working on becoming more connected with other teachers globally for the month of October.  They are using #ceolympics and making graphics, signing up for twitter, and retweeting resources.  Our FCC teacher is working to show off work from our Functional Communications Class, while Mr. Garcia has been sharing his favorite tools on Twitter.  

Our campus earns points for various tasks that allow our teachers to connect with others while learning new tools.  

Updates to follow on our progress!  

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Deerpark Robotics: Building More Than Just Robots

I am on my 9th season and 14th First Lego League team for the 2014-2015 school year.  I started back in 2006, as a science teacher, because students from my feeder elementary school had done First Lego League, and they wanted to keep doing the program in middle school.  Little did I know, that moment would change my life forever.  Our first tournament was in a music building at The University of Texas.  It was magical, thirty teams from central Texas competing for the most lucrative prize of all, trophies made completely out of Legos.  It was seriously cool.  I set our goals pretty low, "Let's learn something new, and have fun!"  Little did I know, that my team who came up with a way to save the Alamo using Nano Technology, would be able to answer difficult questions from real engineers and educators.  They knew things I didn't even realize that they knew!  It was a proud moment for me as a coach.  From that moment on, I never looked back, I was a robotics coach, and I always will be.  We ended up taking home one of those amazing Lego Trophies for that research project too!  That was the cherry on top of a very sweet cake.  

Throughout the years, I've coached teams that were good, bad, inspiring, and just plain amazing.  But my very favorite part of coaching comes from seeing a kid who never speaks, grow to be comfortable presenting their research in front of experts, or eloquently discussing their program strategy with engineers.  Patience is needed to observe this sweet moment of growth, but it is worth every long evening, every Saturday, and every moment away from my own family.  

This year, I was able to experience my "proud coach" feeling much earlier in the season.  I have three veterans, and one of them was running for President of the club.  When this kid walked into the doors of robotics his first year at Deerpark Middle School, he was quiet and timid.  He was always a grounded student, and has rightfully earned the nickname "The Voice of Reason" in the chaos of meetings. He kept me organized and on task.  This year, this student let me know, he wanted to run for president.  As he gave his speech, I saw the certainty in him that I sometimes have to wait entire season to see in students.  He spoke in front of the entire group with confidence and grace, and although his competition was fierce, he was voted as our 2014-2015 robotics president.  

Building robots with Legos is always a cool thing, but building up students is even cooler.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Art in the 21st Century

Ms. Stoeffler, Deerpark's new art teacher, is having students explore different art mediums by having them try their hand at drawing with a 3D pen.  

Students practiced writing their names in cursive, creating jewelry, and tracing the Golden Gate Bridge to turn it into a 3D model.  

We are excited to see the amazing products that students design with our new 3D pens!