Monthly Archives: February 2017

Transition from Middle School to High School

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One of the workshops that I took at the K-8 Summit this month was “Helping Students with Learning Differences have a Smooth Transition from Middle School to High School.”  The following skill sets and tools were identified by high school teachers as being important for students to have as they enter high school.

Skill sets for high school

Of these, the six most important are good study habits, self-discipline, a willingness to engage, self-advocacy, asking for help, and time management.  A willingness to engage, self-advocacy, and asking for help all indicate the need for the student to see the teacher when he/she does not understand the material, has a bad grade on a test, and/or needs assistance with concepts being taught.  The presenter said that students with learning disabilities need to know their learning differences and how they learn best.  They need to advocate for themselves, not depend on an adult (parent or resource teacher) to do it for them.

A Community of Learners

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From our Polar Express day to celebrating the 100th day of school on February 2nd, we are always learning and growing. We are becoming excellent readers and learning many new word families and sight words. We can count to 100 by 5’s and 10’s, we love to find fun ways to demonstrate number bonds, and we can measure and compare items in our classroom. We recently finished a unit on Arctic animals and can’t wait to keep discovering more about the World! Check out some pictures from our past learning adventures:

Practice with word families in reading groups.

Practice with word families in reading groups.

Our "number museum" to create number bonds to 10.

Our “number museum” to create number bonds to 10.

Measuring items in the classroom.

Measuring items in the classroom.



Hard workers during our Polar Express themed day.

Hard workers during our Polar Express themed day.

100th day

Counting our 100th day snack!

Counting our 100th day snack!

Multimedia Projects Take Over: Third Quarter Update

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Multimedia Projects are the third quarter theme in our computer classes. Here is a summary of what students have been working on:

6th Grade

Currently working on My Vacation, a project where students learn how to plan a vacation step-by-step: from managing a budget to creating a map of vacation plans. Scope and sequence:

  • Students work with a partner to split a budget of $10,000. Students can also choose to plan alone.
  • To keep track of money, students create a budget calculator spreadsheet using Google Sheets that automatically calculates their spending and lets them know how much money remains in their budget.
  • Using flight and hotel rate aggregation websites, students find and book flights and hotels to their dream destination. Students must plan when they will go on their vacation and for how long, as long as it fits within their budget.
  • To plan what they will do during their dream vacation, students use crowd-sourced travel information sites like WikiVoyage. Students must plan for at least 4 activities, and at least two must have cultural or historical significance. Students must also find out how much these activities cost, and add them to their budget.
  • Students also must plan for how they get around when they arrive at their destination. To do this, we learn how to find information about airport shuttles, public transportation, Taxi cabs, and rental cars.
  • Once plans are finalized, students learn how to create a custom Google Map with all of their vacation details (airport, hotel, activities).
  • Finally, students put together a multimedia presentation using Google Slides to share their vacation plans with their classmates. In-class oral presentations will follow.

7th Grade

Similar to 6th Grade, the 7th Grade is planning a vacation for Easter Break. The scope and sequence is the same, but there is additional work required. 7th Grade students will also record a narrated screencast of their final Google Slides presentations.

8th Grade

In celebration of Black History Month, The 8th Grade has begun work on a Multimedia Museum of Black Inventors. Students are assigned an important African American inventor from history and are tasked with creating a short video exhibit explaining who the inventor is, what their important invention(s) are, their struggles, and their lasting legacy. Students will first create animated presentations in Google Slides and then record a narrated screencast. These will be posted with their presentations on a website that will be known as the Multimedia Museum of Black Inventors.

Stay tuned! I will post some of the vacation projects when they are finished.

Plans for Quarter 4:

  • 3D Modeling using Sketchup (finally!)
  • 8th Grade will finish Portfolio Websites
  • Google Forms surveys and Data visualization
  • More TBD

Science Fair Update

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Congratulations again to the 6th and 7th graders who are moving on to compete at the San Francisco Science Fair. Projects are installed at the San Francisco Zoo February 20 – February 21. The projects are then judged and finalist interviewed. February 25 is the Awards Ceremony! Public viewing of the projects is available February 20 – February 25 from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Good luck students!

spring happenings!

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K – drawing plants & watercoloring, painting like seurat, learning about frida kahlo

1 – making robot prints, learning about mark rothko

2 – finishing new year dragon puppets, & making gustav klimt collages, learning about louise bourgeois

3 – finishing louise nevelson assemblages, & beginning a new project on kehinde wiley

4 – andy warhol portraits, & working on our prayer mandalas

5 – learning about sandy skoglund & making clay installations

6 – finishing up our life ladders & will begin niki de st phalle clay sculptures soon

7 – working on our cindy sherman photos & next up will be a clay project on giacometti

8 – continuing to forge ahead with our self portraits!

La Chandeleur

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On vient de fêter la Chandeleur en 4th grade avec, comme il se doit, la dégustation de crêpes. Délicieuses!

Un grand remerciement à Auriane Mathieu pour tout votre travail!



The 4th graders celebrated la Chandeleur (Candlemass) with crepes last Friday in French class. So much fun!

Many thanks go to Auriane Mathieu for providing the delicious crepes.



K8 Tech Day

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Once a year, the K-8 Technology Teachers in the SF Archdiocese get together for a day of Professional Development. This year, it was at St. Gabriel School and I was asked to present on Educational Robots. Over the years at NDV teachers have used a variety of robots including BeeBots in Kindergarten, Sphero in First Grade, Dot and Dash in Second Grade and Lego EV3 Robots in Middle School. This year, we added 10 Edison Robots for grades 3rd-and up. I did a presentation on Edison and brought some robots and Lego’s for the teachers to try out. I also attended sessions including one on Maker Spaces and I got to play with breadboards and Arduino robots too.