Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Hour of Code is Almost Here! Are you ready?

The Hour of Code 2015 is almost here! Last year several of our schools/classrooms participated...and I would love to see even more participate this year!

Computers are everywhere, but fewer schools teach computer science than 10 years ago. Good news is, we’re on our way to change this. If you've heard about the Hour of Code before, you might know it made history. More than 100 million students have tried an Hour of Code.

With the Hour of Code, computer science has been on homepages of Google, MSN, Yahoo! and Disney. Over 100 partners joined together to support this movement. Last year, every Apple Store in the world hosted an Hour of Code and even President Obama wrote his first line of code as part of the campaign.

This year, let's make it even bigger. I’m asking you to join in for the Hour of Code 2015. Please get involved with an Hour of Code event during Computer Science Education Week, December 7-13.

Get the word out. Host an event. Ask your school to sign up. You don't need to know ANYTHING about Computer Science to have your students participate. You can even try the Hour of Code yourself -- everyone can benefit from learning the basics.

Get started at http://hourofcode.com/us. Let's put PPS on the map!

Check out this great video on Hour of Code: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FC5FbmsH4fw

Friday, November 20, 2015

Google Computer Science First Program

Are you a Michigan educator looking for a way to engage your students with computer science, but not sure you have the computer know-how to lead a club?  Never fear...Google is here!

The Michigan Film and Digital Media Office is partnering with Google to facilitate the Google Computer Science First Program for 4th -8th graders.  Any interested parties can fill out an application to be involved in this free program.  The program is scripted and laid out in a way that ANYONE can facilitate.  Computer Science First provides all the materials (except the computers/chromebooks).

There are multiple paths/interest areas/clubs to choose from. According to the CS First Website, "Each CS First club is based on a real-world theme and offers about 10 hours worth of lessons and activities. The different club themes aim to attract and engage students of varying backgrounds and interests. All materials are targeted at students in 4th - 8th grades (or between the ages of 9 - 14) and are free and easy to use."

Current Clubs are:

This is a great opportunity for students as an after-school activity or as a recess club.

If you are interested and would like to learn more, check out the CS First Website.
Details about the program and the application are available here:  CS First Program (pdf)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Google Classroom Rosters in Google Sheets, Easy!

Are you a user of Google Classroom? Do you work with your students' data in Google Sheets? Have you ever thought "I wish there was a way to grab my roster from Classroom and put it into a Spreadsheet. Ugh."

Well, now there is a way! Meet... rosterSync!

From the site...

rosterSync - Teacher Edition allows teachers to sync a Google Classroom course roster -- including student email addresses -- directly with Google Sheets for handy use with Add-ons like Doctopus, formMule, autoCrat, formRanger, and others.

Installing this Tool...

  • I installed the Sheets Add-on, which can be found here
  • I clicked the blue "FREE" button
  • An "Untitled Spreadsheet" opened up and the Add-on was installed
  • Easy! 

Using rosterSync...

  • After titling my Sheet (as any good Google Drive user does), I clicked "Add-ons" in the menu bar
  • I choose "rosterSync - Teacher Edition"
  • A few seconds later, I had this convenient sidebar at the right of my Sheet.
  • I selected the sheet a wanted to port my roster to,
  • Picked the Google Classroom course I wanted to pull my roster from,
  • Chose my "Sync direction" (from Classroom to Sheet, recommended),
  • And clicked the button "Run Sync", Done!
  • Seconds later I had my Classroom roster in Sheets.
  • Pure Sweetness!

As we use Google Forms more and more and; therefore, make more use of Google Sheets, I can see this as a valuable tool at the beginning of a course/class for any teacher. Using Google Classroom with rosterSync just make it that much more awesome!

Geek signing out!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day 2015

Today is Veteran's Day.  A day where we honor the great sacrifice and service of the members of the armed forces.  A day to help our students understand why we set aside a day on our calendar to thank and honor these great individuals.

Below are some resources that you can use to help as you explore Veteran's Day with your students.

I would also like to take this moment to reach out to all the Veteran's we have on staff at PPS.  Sincerest thanks from the bottom of my heart.