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!