Sunday, November 12, 2017

17-18 week 9

And yet another whirlwind week! This year is racing away; can you believe there is only one more week until Thanksgiving break? 3rd-5th started work on the Bebras Challenge -  it is our second year to participate in this international, online, critical thinking program! They are working in the STEM lab and Ms. Karna's computer lab to complete the puzzles during ancillary.
This week the STEM lab hosted:
Ms. Sato's Pre-K
Ms. Rifle's Kindergarten
Mr. Arzola's 2nd grade

PPES STEM Lab week 9 from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.
Pre-K's sunflowers are growing and growing! Even though the weather here didn't get the memo, we decided to start work on seasonal changes! They began work on recycled material panels showing how a tree changes through the year. Kindergarten had their computer petting zoo and learned that code is what tells a computer what to do. They got started in and are making excellent progress! Mr. Arzola's class made a mini play about changing states of matter and also made fantastic progress in their coding course - two students actually completed their level and will get started with Scratch on their next visit to the lab!
Ms. Hatchell's 3rd grade, Ms. Giron's 4th grade, and Ms. Cain's 5th grade were welcomed back to the lab just in time for Free Build Friday!
As promised, here are some more of our STEAM arts integration projects:
Changing States of Matter mini play by Mr. Arzola's class:

20171110_111924 from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.

Plant Song by Ms. Brown's 1st grade:

plant song from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.

Monday, November 6, 2017

17-18 WEEK 8

This week was full of unfinished business for the best of reasons - celebrating the ASTROS' World Championship! I was sorry to lose time with this week's wonderful students from:
Ms. Aguilar's Pre-K
Ms. Allende's Kindergarten
Ms. Mosquera's 2nd grade
Ms. Guzman's 3rd grade
Ms. Welch's 4th grade
Ms. Purvey's 5th grade

PPES STEM lab 1718 wk 8 from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.

but we will make up for it next time! The week was further truncated by Universal G/T screening for K & 5th grades, and lots of fantastic field trips! 2nd, 3rd, & 5th were all off campus for wonderful learning adventures! In spite of such little time at our disposal, the students spent their STEM lab time well!
Here are a couple of our new STEAM Arts Integration activities:
Butterfly Life Cycle retell with BeeBots by Krisha from Ms. Thormodsgaard's 1st grade:

beebot monarch life cycle from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.
Seasons mini play by Ms. Welch's 4th grade:
seasons from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.
Check back to see more of our student's Science Theater!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

17-18 week 7

A sensational 7th week in the Piney Point STEM lab featuring:
Ms. Ballentine’s Pre-K
Ms. Caro’s Kindergarten
Ms. Thomas’ 2nd grade
Mr. Briceno’s 3rgd grade
Ms. Martinez’s 4th grade
And Ms. Mulry’s 5th grade
PPES Stem lab wk7 from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.
Pre-K went out to check on their sunflowers and were very impressed with how much they have grown. They worked on letters, numbers, and shapes in clay this week.
Kinder made their Litter Less Green Hero capes this week! We reused grocery sacks and talked about reducing consumption and reusing help the earth. We also went out to check on the pumpkin patch – the vines are growing everywhere, and flowers are blooming! Pumpkins can’t be far behind. They also had their computer parts petting zoo and got started in their coding course.
2nd grade started the week with a special performance of their peers’ Mini Drama Fair performances! Back in the lab we discussed the difference between drawing and designing and then set to work to design a robot assistant! They also learned how to access their class and made a lot of progress on the programming challenges!
3rd and 4th grade started with Kobi Yamada’s What Do You Do With an Idea? And created wonderful Idea Portraits. They started work on their grade level courses also.
5th grade started a new unit – mini milk carton automata. They also made some excellent progress in their course!

We wrapped up the week with a Free Build Friday!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

17-18 Week 6

Where is this year going? This 6th week was another fantastic fiesta of creative & collaborative problem solving!
STEM lab hosted:
Ms. Sato’s Pre-K
Ms. Almanza’s Kinder
Ms. Lugo’s 2nd grade
Ms. Roesch’s 3rd grade
Ms. Nelson’s 4th grade
Mr. Torres’ 5th grade

PPES STEM lab wk6 from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.
The week started off with a special presentation for PK-2nd! A dairy cow came for a presentation about nutrition and some basic facts about where our food comes from! Sonny was a big hit with all the children!
Classes all went out for progress checks on our various Eco-School projects – the habitats, Pumpkin Patches, and Sunflower Street are all doing well! We continue to see lots of pollinators in all the gardens. Our Monarch Heroes launched our annual Monarch Money drive – they have a goal of $800.00 this year!
Pre-K spent the week exploring the possibilities of play dough! They made letters, numbers, and lots of shapes. Kindergarten had their computer petting zoo to get to know all the parts of the computer and their jobs. Next they learned about how code tells the computer what to do. They started working in their class and were doing a great job creating simple algorithms!

2nd-5th had their first activity of identifying the difference between drawing and designing! Next they jumped into the grade-level coding courses. They accomplished a lot for just a few days, so we celebrated with Free Build Friday!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

17-18 week 5

Another whirlwind week here in the Panther STEM / STEAM lab!
This week’s STEM stars:
Ms. Guerrero’s Pre-K
Ms. Bell’s Kindergarten
Ms. Keahey’s 2nd grade
Ms. Accavallo’s 3rd grade
Ms. Alanis’ 4th grade
Ms. Moreno’s 5th grade

Piney Point STEM lab 1718 week 5 from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.
Our 1st grade Monarch Heroes bid buen viaje to our ambassador butterflies! They are participating in the Annenberg Foundation’s Journey North symbolic migration. Each student created a paper butterfly that will spend the winter with a school child from Angangueo, Mexico, near the monarch over-wintering sanctuaries. Click HERE for a slideshow.

K and 1st were treated to an amazing puppet show, “Favorite Stories” by Jean Kucher via our Arts Access Initiative. It was a huge hit! Scenes from this performance are  HERE.

The George Playhouse from New Jersey thanks to funding from Novo Nordisk created a remarkable musical called Austin the Unstoppable that they are taking to schools around the country. We were thrilled to have this performance promoting healthy living choices! See scenes HERE

Pre-K started a unit about clay, using dough to form letters, numbers, animals, and basic shapes. Their sunflowers continue to make progress outside in the beds as well!
Kinder was introduced to and their beginning computer and programming vocabulary. Ms. Bell’s class also had their first campus clean-up day! Go Green Heroes!
2nd grade created designs for a robot assistant and 3rd – 5th followed up Kobi Yamada’s What Do You Do With an Idea by creating Idea Portraits. Next they all got started on their classes. Students are really enjoying the new courses! They like the range of activities – puzzle solving, drawing challenges, game programming – and the characters too! Star Wars, MineCraft, Ice Age, Angry Birds are all very popular!

So much outstanding perseverance and respectful collaboration needed to be acknowledged, so everyone had a Free Build Friday! All building stations were open (unfortunately the robots are not all unpacked yet – next time!), except for the MakerSpace. It was doing duty as a scene and costume shop for 1st and 2nd grade classes prepping for next week’s Mini Drama Fair. It was almost more a treat for me than for the students! There was 100% engagement, imaginations soared, creative collaboration abounded, and the room almost sparkled with joy! Everyone was brilliant, inspired, inventive, resourceful, and even more beautiful was the way in which they all supported and validated each other’s work.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

17-18 week 4

A fantastic, but frenetic 4th week in the STEM lab! We hosted:
Ms. Ballentine’s Pre-K
Ms.Tran’s Kindergarten
Ms. Thompson’s 2nd grade
Mr. Garza’s 3rd grade
Ms. Grimaldol’s 4th grade
Ms. Limon’s 5th grade

PPES STEM lab wk 4 from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.

The real story this week was our long-awaited Eco-Schools Green Flag celebration!

Click HERE to read about it on HISD’s News Blog
See event pictures from HISD's Facebook HERE

We started our last crop of Sunflower Stars this week! I was so happy to meet Ms. Ballentine’s class and get started on our project. They learned all about the parts of plants and what they do, what plants need to survive, and how to plant a seed. They also made paper plate sunflowers!
Kindergarten started the week by getting acquainted with various parts of a computer – they examined the monitor, mouse, keyboard, and a micro-computer. They also made a good start on their Level A coding course in
2nd grade designed Robot personal assistants that were specially imagined to perform specific tasks – personal pizza maker and homework doer continue to be popular models! 3rd-5th grade worked on their idea portraits, and all 4 grades got started on their level course. Everyone made amazing progress! In fact, they all sis so well that all 4 grade earned a Free Choice Friday!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

17-18 Week 3

A thrilling 3rd week in the STEM lab! We hosted:
Ms. Aguilar’s Pre-K
Ms. Hernandez’s Kindergarten
Ms. James’ 2nd grade
Ms. Mallona’s 3rd grade
Ms. McGill’s 4th grade
Ms. Cain’s 5th grade

We were so pleased to welcome our Panther Parent Partners to school for Open House this week! PK-2 parents joined us on Tuesday evening and 3rd-5th grade families spent their Thursday evening in the classrooms!
Our No Place For Hate Coalition held our Resolution of Respect signing. See the gallery HERE
K-2nd Eco-Schools USA teams are really getting into gear! Kinder Green Heroes had their first campus clean-up and their Pumpkin Patches are thriving! 1st grade Monarch Heroes are getting their wings and getting ready for their annual Symbolic Migration with Journey North. 2nd grade Recycling teams are continuing their weekly collection and their education campaign as well. They made signs for all the classroom recycling bins and workrooms. See the monthly Panther Planet Pals update HERE.

In the STEM lab our Pre-K Sunflower Stars checked on the progress of our first sprouts, and were very excited to plant their own as well. We learned about how plants grow and their needs from Peep and BrainPOP Jr. and created sunflower art projects.
Ms. Hernandez’s Kindergarten Green Heroes gave up a day of their recess to work on saving the earth! They picked up litter and worked on their song. In they learned about bugs in code – how to find and fix them. We had a room full of eager digital exterminators! They were finding and fixing code bugs with ease by week’s end.
2nd graders designed a robot personal assistant to perform specific tasks. They also use these helpers to store their various username and password combinations! They made outstanding progress in this week!
3rd-5th grade worked on Idea Portraits inspired by Kobi Yanmada and Mae Besom’s charming book What Do You Do With an Idea? And got through the first several stages of their levelled courses.

Read all about the big week 3rd-5th grade had with their arts partners, Theater Under the Stars, Met Dance, and Main Street Theater this week on the AAI page!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

17-18 Week 2

Our second week in STEM lab was sensational! It was super short – students were off on Friday and we held our 6th year of No Place For Hate kickoff event on Thursday – but we made every minute count!   The lab hosted:
Ms. Guerrero’s Pre-K
Ms. Colmenero’s Kindergarten
Ms. 1st grade
Ms. 2nd grade
Ms. 3rd grade
Ms. 4th grade
Ms. 5th grade

Our new set of Sunflower Stars were delighted to see Ms. Sato’s seeds sprouting and were extra eager to plant their own! They watched Peep and the Big Wide World: Peep Plants a Seed and discussed how to plant and care for our seeds. We made paper plate sunflowers and also torn paper collage sunflowers. We learned about the parts of a plant and its life cycle from Annie and Moby and planted our sprouts in the sunflower beds!
Ms. Colmenero’s Green Heroes talked about how to earn their capes! These are some of our Eco-Schools USA Litter Less ambassadors. They worked on their Green Hero song and quickly mastered their “parts of a computer” vocabulary and got acquainted with their coding course.
Our second grade Green Hero Recycling Team got started this week! They made their recycled material signs to remind each hallway of their pick-up day and what items can and cannot be recycled. The new course is a huge hit with this group! They designed a robot personal assistant specially adapted to perform certain jobs they don’t want to do for themselves.

3rd  – 5th grade made their Idea Portraits, and we discussed how STEM lab can help them work on some of their thousands of amazing ideas! They made excellent progress in the course and really like the new course organization and activities..

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Piney Point STEM lab 17-18 week 1

It was a fantastic, albeit late, start to the school year! The STEM lab played host to:
Ms. Sato’s Pre-K
Ms. DiPersio’s 1st grade
Mr. Arzola’s 2nd grade
Ms. Hatchell’s 3rd grade
Ms. Giron’s 4th grade
Ms. Mulry’s 5th grade

STEMlab wk1 from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.

We held grade level assemblies first day to share the exciting news about our status as an Arts Access Initiative Creative Focus School, introduce our many new Eco-School’s initiatives, and kick-off Marathon Kids.
Our first programming unit is based on the new courses designed by These feature old favorite characters such as the Angry Birds and introduce popular puzzles with Rey and BB-8 from Star Wars in leveled sections tailored specifically to pose appropriate challenges for each grade. 1st through 5th grade really enjoyed the new activities and I was thrilled with the problem solving collaboration taking place with every group!
We turned from STEM to STEAM with the addition of an art project for everyone! Our focus story for this cycle is the charming What Do You Do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada. 1st and 2nd grade designed their own robot assistant with an eye to passing on certain tasks – most commonly doing homework! Other popular options were robots that cleaned bedrooms, made and served snacks, and played games. 3rd – 5th grade created Idea Portraits. This idea came from a lesson designed by Beverly Blackmon. Students created a self-portrait and then illustrated their ideas as pouring out of their heads. They did an amazing job as you can see from the gallery in the video!
3rd-5th closed out the week with a BreakOUT. These are like an escape room in a box – teams work together to solve a series of challenges. Each solution provides the combination of a different lock. If every group solves their puzzle they can open the box and get their celebration cards. All three grades solved problems based on the quipu – an ancient Incan tool for recording and collecting data. All three classes beat the clock and a complex series of mathematical and reading challenges to open the box!

This is the first year that Pre-K has come to the STEM lab! Their first unit is exploring their campus Eco-Schools role – Sunflower Stars! They learned about the life cycle of a plant with Peep and also Annie and Moby from BrainPOP Jr., then acted out the process, made paper plate sunflowers, and planted their own sunflowers from seeds harvested by last year’s kinder scholars from our own sunflower garden! They will water them and observe them daily to check for growth!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Welcome Back!

I hope everyone had an excellent summer! My vacation was full of amazing learning adventures, and I cannot wait to share all the new information, tools, and project ideas with everyone!

At ISTE17!

I started off the summer at ISTE17 – the International Society for Technology in Education conference in San Antonio at the end of June. It is impossible to do justice to this experience! It was like technology teacher Mardi Gras/ Christmas/ the State Fair and everyone’s birthday all at the same time. Every device, program, or platform you have ever heard of (and a large number of marvelous products I had never heard of) were all on display. There were four solid days of workshops, breakout sessions, keynote addresses, technology playgrounds, and product demonstrations. There were actually more days, but by the end I was glad hadn’t done more as my mind was so overwhelmed I thought it might be permanently melted!

Maker Hero Colleen Graves!
Block-based programming progenitor Mitch Resnick!
Learning Through Projects and Play!
It is very difficult to select highlights from an experience that was non-stop amazing, but I did get to meet one of my Maker Heroes, Colleen Graves – her books gave me the confidence to launch our Piney Point MakerSpace!  It was really fantastic to meet Willa and Karen of the Scratch Ed Team at Harvard face-to-face. The students were so proud to see their work in the profile Willa wrote on our use of Scratch in the STEM lab (If you missed it, read it HERE). Another thrill was attending a workshops with Mitch Resnick from the Lifelong Kindergarten Group in the MIT Media Lab with projects from the Tinkering Studio at the Exploratorium. I also had a mini-reunion with some of my Raspberry Picademy class while presenting some student projects at the Raspberry Pi Jam.

However, the celebrity I met that will most impress our Panthers was Moby from BrainPOP! I attended the BrainPOP Educators workshop and completed the requirements to become a BrainPOP Certified Educator. Not only do I have a lovely new shirt, but also a fantastic set of new BrainPOP tools and activities that will make students love BrainPOP even more!
My personal friend, Moby!

If you cannot tell, I am very excited about 2017-18 in the STEM Lab! Fasten your seatbelts, students! It is going to be a wild and wonderful ride!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Week 25 Wrap-Up

What a fantastic week of STEM Lab discovery and achievement! This week the lab hosted: Ms. Tran's Kindergarten, Ms. DiPersio's 1st grade, Mr.  Arzola's 2nd grade, Ms. Bailey's 3rd grade, Ms. Grimaldo's 4th grade, & Ms. Lavergne's 5th grade,

stemwk25 from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.
Ms. Tran's LitterLess Ambassadors created a new poster series and filmed a PSA to encourage everyone to "Feed the BIN!". They went out and did a fantastic job on their campus clean-up! These Green Heroes are a constant source of Panther Pride and a wonderful example of our Leader In Me philosophy at work.

tran from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.
In the STEM lab, 1st grade and Kinder were very productive in their classes! They accomplished so much that they earned a Free Build Friday! We also had our first Course I graduates! Arlene from Ms. Thormodsgaard's class and Jorge from Ms. DiPersio's class have successfully completed all the puzzles and challenges. Congratulations to these Panther Programmers!

2nd & 3rd grade worked on a set of Scratch challenges designed to introduce them to the range of possibilities in the "looks" and "motion" blocks. They also worked on customizing sprites and synchronizing movements and changes with message and equation blocks.

4th grade worked through a Scratch Tips lesson to make their own video game and also completed the cardboard challenge arcade! They reused egg cartons, tape roll centers, plastic cups, cardboard boxes, plastic sporks, and cereal containers to create a range of very creative arcade style games. They invited Ms. Allende's Kindergarten to come for a play day on Friday. The games were a huge hit!

5th grade worked their way through the Mini Milk Carton Automata project and completed the first set of challenges on the Scratch Task cards!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Week 24 Wrap-Up

This was a short week due to the early dismissal day on Wednesday, but a very productive one! The STEM lab hosted Ms. Hernandez's kindergarten, Ms, Brown's 1st grade, Ms. Mosquera's 2nd grade, Ms. Guzman's 3rd grade, Ms. Aguilera's 4th grade, and Mr. Torres' 5th grade.

stemwk24 from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.
Ms. Hernandez's Eco-Schools Green Heroes created a wonderful PSA this week. They met (via YouTube!) an icon of my childhood, Woodsy the Owl! We borrowed his theme song for the video and their new poster series! They choose Ms. Brown's 1st grade to be their buddy class to do their campus clean-up and help spread the word about their anti-littering activities.

hernandez from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.

In the STEM lab they worked very hard on their course and are really doing well!

Ms. Brown's class made excellent progress in this week! Everyone who had finished with Stage 14 got to work with the BeeBots. They all did such a good job, that the class was able to enjoy a Free Build Friday also!

2nd-4th grade completed two Scratch challenges - one where they created a project using every on of the "looks" blocks and another where they experimented with customizing sprites and creating additional costumes.

5th grade spent their STEM lab week working through each phase of the design process to create their mini milk carton automata

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Week 23 Wrap-Up

This Valentine's week was full of STEM sweetness! The lab hosted: Ms. Colmenero's Kindergarten, Ms. Leal's 1st grade, Ms. Mehaffey's 2nd grade, Mr. Briceno's 3rd grade, Ms. Lee's 4th grade, and Ms. Hatchell's 5th grade.
stemwk23 from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.

Our Kinder Eco-Schools Green Heroes were very busy with their responsibilities as Wrigley's Litter Less Ambassadors! They filmed a PSA (public service announcement), made more indoor posters, and outdoor poster, and did their campus clean-up!

ColmeneroLitterLess from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.

In the STEM lab they were hard at work on their course. We are using all our problem solving, communication, and collaboration skills to work through the lessons on iterations! They have done such great work this week that they earned a Free Build Friday!

Ms. Leal's class is almost always finishing up Monarch Heroes or other G/T projects when they come to STEM lab! This week they dug in and played catch up on their coding and almost everyone is only 20-30 puzzles away from completing all of Course I. Great job!

2nd -5th grade spent Monday and Tuesday making virtual Valentines in Scratch. This activity was extremely popular and we all learned a lot! I, for example, had no idea that you could produce so many unique shades of pink!

On Wednesday 2nd - 5th took a break and worked through their preferred Hour of Code tutorial.

2nd moved on to a Scratch lesson about modifying and personalizing sprites, while 3rd and 4th completed a challenge designed to introduce them to the possibilities of the "looks" blocks.

5th grade completed their reused materials mini milk carton automata challenge. As an Eco-School we take our conservation responsibilities seriously! In STEM lab the vast majority of physical projects are made with reusable (LEGO, K'Nex, Lakeshore building sets, wooden blocks) pieces or reused materials. These automata are made from (carefully washed!) used materials such as milk cartons, straws, old class folders, and cardboard scraps.

I'm looking forward to next week's accomplishments!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Week 22 Wrap-Up

This week the STEM lab hosted:Ms. Bell's kindergarten, Ms. Flores' 1st grade, Ms. Lugo's 2nd grade, Ms. Ancona's 3rd, Ms. Giron's 4th grade, and Ms. Limon's 5th grade. These students accomplished a lot in just 5 days!

stemlabwk22 from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.

Our Kinder Eco-Schools Green Heroes successfully launched the next phase of their campaign as Wrigley's Litter Less Ambassadors! They created three more inside posters, our first outdoor sign, and a video all as part of ramping up our public awareness campaign! They also recruited a buddy class to do a campus clean-up! All of these activities will help to educate our whole campus community and help keep Piney Point clean and green! See their video:

BellLitterLess from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.

I am so proud of how much they are taking their Green Hero status to heart! Jayden went home and told his mom all about being a Litter Less Ambassador and insisted that they clean-up around their neighborhood!

1st grade and Kindergarten continue to work there way through the Course I challenges in the lab. Students are mastering valuable skills such as effective collaboration and communication in addition to the foundations of computer programming.

2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade worked through a series of lessons designed to teach mastery of the "looks" and "motion" blocks in Scratch this week and finished up by applying their new skills to the creation of virtual Valentines!

Ms. Limon's 5th grade had their hands full! Since I was out of town for a training on their last visit to the lab they needed to design, build, and host their Cardboard Challenge Arcade. They successfully whipped through the process and invited Ms. Flores' students to come play. Next they turned their attention to creating their mini milk carton automata. This process was too rushed and while almost everyone got the moving parts assembled only a few people managed to get their decorative pieces finished to their satisfaction. However, everyone was a very good sport about it and I plan to set aside a day to finish them up nicely on their next visit to the lab.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Week 21 Wrap-Up

Thanks to Ms. Allende’s Kindergarten, Ms. Pesce’s 1st grade, Ms. Keahey’s 2nd grade, Ms. Accavallo’s 3rd grade, Ms. Welch’s 4th grade and Ms. Cain’s 5th grade for a fantastic week of making, coding, and problem solving!

Ms. Allende’s Eco-Schools/ Wrigley’s Litter Less Ambassadors did a fantastic job cleaning up the courtyard area in preparation for Volunteer Houston. They will constructing a new outdoor classroom for us! In the STEM lab they were learning about adding loops to their algorithms in Course I.

Ms. Pesce’s class is making fantastic progress in their class! Several students are only a couple of lessons away from completing Course I! Ms. Pesce has some brand new students and her experienced classroom leaders are doing a great job helping them get comfortable with the STEM lab!

2nd  & 3rd grade have been building a big multi-step project in Scratch this week. They imported a set of sprites and then had to create a few original ones, programmed each to change its appearance and move in different way. They then created a range of original backgrounds and added some interactive script. These projects were wonderfully diverse and creative! On Friday everyone made virtual Valentines!

4th grade did a little of everything this week! They went to their Leader In Me jobs, did some programming in Scratch, worked on improving the gardens, played Think Fun logic games, and made virtual Valentines!

5th grade were extremely successful with the mini milk carton automata. As Piney Point is an Eco-School we are very dedicated to reducing consumption, reusing whenever possible, and recycling whatever we can – especially in the MakerSpace! Students carefully cleaned up their milk cartons from lunch and we used them, straws from Sonic (carefully cleaned!), old folders (names and numbers redacted!), cereal boxes, and cardboard scraps to construct our gallery of automata. 

On Friday, the 2nd-5th grade classes created virtual Valentines in Scratch!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Terrific Week 20

Terrific Week 20
We had a really productive week in The STEM lab despite the early dismissal day cutting us down to just four days. I have been so impressed by the way the students have been able to adjust their plans and productivity around short or disrupted weeks! They take work home, decide to split tasks with partners, or seek out extra time in the lab to make sure they complete projects and accomplish their goals! They are really taking ownership of their STEM lab learning!

This week the lab hosted: Ms. Caro’s Kindergarten, Ms. Montoya’s 1st grade, Ms. Laws’ 2nd grade, Mr. Garza’s 3rd grade, Ms. Gentry’s 4th grade, and Ms. Purvey’s 5th grade.
Kinder is making excellent progress with their Course! They are learning to write more efficient algorithms by using “repeat” blocks.
Several of Ms. Montoya’s students are just a few challenges away from completing the entire Course 1 program in!
Kinder & 1st grade students were excited to move to the next level of their robotics course. They created challenge courses for each other using the BeeBots and were excited to transfer their coding skills from the digital to the physical world!
2nd grade put in a lot of work in Scratch this week and I am really delighted at their increasing skill! They are getting more and more comfortable with the various types of blocks and really enjoy exploring! At this point they have worked their way through more than half of the guided lessons in the offline version!
3rd grade took a break from their course to get acquainted with Scratch this week. They particularly enjoyed making their own “Catch” games and animating their own names using as many different visual and motion effects as possible!
4th grade’s week was shortened even more by students’ Leader In Me campus jobs on Monday. Every 4th grader has a job working in a classroom, office assistant, nurse’s office, or library once a week. This has been a great program that lets older students mentor, take on meaningful responsibilities, and learn important organizational and social skills. In the STEM lab they continued work in Scratch.
5th grade spent Monday and Tuesday putting the finishing touches on their projects for the Digital Mini Fair and being introduced to cardboard and paper automata. Students designed and constructed their own models.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Week 19 Wrap-Up

This week was a wild one! The district was closed in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Tuesday wasn't feeling up to the challenge of starting off a work week apparently! The flooding and storm conditions meant that Kinder and 1st grade missed an extra day of STEM lab, but they worked twice as hard to get through everything! This week's talented engineers, programmers, and makers came from Ms. Almanza's Kinder, Ms. Martinez's 1st grade, Ms. James' 2nd grade, Ms. Mallona's 3rd grade, Ms. Nelson's 4th grade, and Ms. Purvey's 5th grade.

stem19 from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.

Kinder and 1st grade are making fantastic progress in's Course 1! They began programming the BeeBots this week and were quick to point out that it was exactly like programming the bee puzzles in the coding course! Both of these classes earned Free Build Friday!

1st grade G/T students have been hard at work on a series of mini video clip they have filmed as part of the digital tour of our habitats they are presenting at the Digital Mini Fair next week.

Our Eco-Schools Monarch Heroes were showcased in a NWF webinar this week! They have been filming clips for their G/T Expo Digital Mini Fair presentation and are looking forward to a lot of planting in the spring. Our habitats took a big hit during the freeze, but we are ready to work hard and bring them back better than ever!

2nd grade has been working through all the tips lessons in Scratch and making great strides in using the programming language. Many of the class are working on interactive digital MadLibs for the G/T Expo. These projects look great and they are excited to share them with the rest of the school!

3rd grade was very busy programming randomizers in Scratch. These are also for the upcoming Digital Mini Fair. They made physical models of their randomizer (things like dice, color wheels, magic 8 balls, and so on) from reused and recycled materials. Getting the programs to work properly and be truly interactive has been a little challenging, but everyone did very well!

4th grade powered through a huge amount of work! They worked in teams designing and programming their own video games in Scratch for the G/T Expo. They were also busy in the MakerSpace creating game controllers to use with the MakeyMakeys AND completing their cardboard challenge arcade games! They invited Ms. DiPersio's 1st grade class to come for a play day. They were perfect guests and everyone had a wonderful time.

5th grade worked on their Digital Mini Fair projects as well. They wrote "choose your own adventure" style stories and then wrote interactive programs based on them in Scratch. This was a lot of work! Students really saw the design process at work as they had to plan, draft, code, run, review for and correct errors time after time to get everything going smoothly.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Week 18

STEM lab classes were suspended for the administration of the Iowa/ Logramos tests this week. Check back for week 19!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Super Week 17

What a wonderful welcome back to school we had in STEM lab this week! It was short, but full of excellent student imagination, creation, and fun. We hosted Ms. Hernandez's Kinder, Ms. DiPersio's 1st grade, Ms. Lugo's 2nd grade, Ms. Bailey's 3rd grade, Ms. Giron's 4th Grade, and Ms. Hatchell's 5th grade. Lots of excitement was in the air as we set personal theme's for 2017 with the #MyOneWord project!

stemwk17 from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.

Kinder got right back in the Green Hero saddle with their Wrigley's/ Eco-Schools Litter Less Ambassador jobs. They did their usual campus clean-up, but also began work on a  commercial to be aired during the morning announcements!

They split their coding time between and getting to know the Bee Bots.

1st grade Monarch Heroes are going to start organizing things for the next set of plantings that will begin after Spring Break. In the STEM lab they split their time between and creating course challenges for each other with Bee Bots.

2nd grade worked very hard on their projects for the next G/T Expo Digital Mini Fair. They are coding interactive MadLibs in Scratch! It is very challenging, but they are doing a wonderful job!

3rd grade continued working through Course 2 in They are very excited to start working through the introductory exercises for the OZOBOTS! G/T students worked on creating digital randomizers in Scratch. They are creating physical versions of the object (dice, coin, color wheel, Magic 8 Ball) to connect to a MakeyMakey to trigger their program when a visitor stops by their table.

4th grade began creating video games in Scratch for the G/T Digital Mini Fair. Their were mazes, Flappy-style games, target games, and many more! Everywhere I looked, Scratch cat was flying, jumping, racing, and shooting rainbow lightning bolts! These games will also be connected to MakeyMakeys and visitors will be able to play them with student designed controllers!

5th grade somehow managed to program their Choose Your Own Adventure story in Scratch AND complete the Cardboard Challenge! They designed unique and entertaining arcade games from entirely recycled/ upcycled materials and invited Ms. Montoya's class to come play!

That was some three days! 2017 is shaping up to be a thrill-ride of making, programming, and creativity!