Dec 18, 2015

Hour of Code 2015

Students in our district joined millions of students around the world in the Hour of Code last week. This year, we had well over 4,000 students participate! A special thank you to Blackford, Campbell Middle School, Capri, Forest Hill, Marshall Lane, and Village for having 100% of their students participate! I started a collaborative celebration wall this year, for classes around the district to share photos:

Favorite coding classroom web-based resources this year were: Star Wars, Minecraft, Frozen, and Angry Birds lessons, Code Studio, Tynker, Code Monkey, and Google CS First. Favorite iPad Apps included: Blue-bot, Hopscotch, Kodable, and Scratch Jr.

My personal favorite coding activities were using the robots from our STEAM Resource Libraries! Some of our TK - 2nd grade classes used the Blue-bots for literacy and math centers. One class even had used Blue-bot to write and draw with markers! Some of our 3rd - 5th grade classes coded Dash Robots and our middle school classes coded the Sphero Robots. 

I am so thankful and inspired by our teachers and students who are continually trying new things with and taking risks every day!

Dec 7, 2015

Hour of Code 2015

The Hour of Code and Computer Science week are here! Thank you all for your excitement and enthusiasm! Five of our schools, Forest Hill, Village, Marshall Lane, Capri, and Campbell Middle School have committed to having 100% of their students participate this week! They will be receiving a special 100% banner to hang proudly at their school! Some schools may even have a visit from a special guest later this week!

It's not too late to have your class participate! The main website is: and additional resources are available at: Many classes are also planning to have students use the Dash, Sphero, and Blue-bot robots for their Hour of Code!

Please post your favorite photo of your class coding on the CUSD Hour of Code Celebration Wall: Check back regularly to show your class pictures of students around the district all coding together!

Nov 30, 2015

2015 Campbell Cardboard Challenge

Congratulations to the students, teachers, and administrators of Blackford! They had the largest percentage of students participate in the Cardboard Challenge this year. All of their 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students participated! With many of the TK - 2nd grade teachers participating as well! We really want to celebrate the Blackford teachers for being willing to try something new and truly fostering a culture of creativity and critical thinking. A special thank you to the Blackford teachers, Stacy Enfantino, Christina Rocci, Michelle Giraudo, Shanti Lipari, Tammy Bilbes, Anupama Gupta, May Liu, Nancy Cassell, Aimee Oani, Nancy Lopez, and Emily Salmon! The school received a Campbell Cardboard Challenge certificate to display in the office and the Blackford staff enjoyed well-deserved cardboard carafes of Starbucks Coffee! 

Honorable mentions this year:
All of the 4th and 5th graders at Lynhaven and Sherman Oaks participated this year!
The 5th graders at Forest Hill raised over $200 to be donated to the Second Harvest food bank from visitors playing their cardboard games!
The 6th graders at Campbell Middle School focused on creating projects that would improve their campus and spread kindness to the 150 community members who attended the Campbell Soup Night!

We hope many of you will join us for the next STEAM Event, The Hour of Code, December 7 - 11!

Nov 20, 2015

5th Grade Junior Achievement Partnership

As part of our STEAM and College and Career programs, all of our 5th grade students are learning about entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and work-readiness skills! Junior Achievement of Northern California has been providing the curriculum and training volunteers from local businesses come into all of our 5th grade classrooms this fall. 

Through hands-on classroom activities, this Common Core aligned program provides students with practical information about the our nation’s businesses and careers. 
It also introduces the need for entrepreneurial and innovative thinking to meet the requirements of high-growth, high-demand careers. 

This partnership is one way that our district is preparing our students for college and career success and to be globally competitive in the workplace. A big thank you to all of our volunteers from Bank of The West, eTrade, Union Bank, NASA, Microsoft, HSBC, PwC, and NetApp!

In the spring, all of our 5th graders will go to local businesses to participate in a Junior Achievement Social Innovation Camp!

Nov 11, 2015

Insulated Homes at Rolling Hills

6th grade Rolling Hills teacher, Jill Garcia, had students start preparing for winter! In teams, students created model homes out of cardboard. They then discussed home features, like windows and doors, and how they increased or decreased home insulation. Finally, students used heat lamps and thermometers to measure and record the change in their home's temperature over time. In future lessons, students will be using recycled materials to solve the real-world problem of keeping our homes a comfortable temperature inside. This unit is one of the 12 free middle school engineering units available on:

Nov 1, 2015

To The Hour of Code and Beyond!

Calling all 3rd - 6th Grade Campbell USD teachers! Sign up now for this great learning opportunity, just in time for the Hour of Code!

Oct 30, 2015

California STEM Symposium 2015

The past two days at the California STEM Symposium have been inspiring and encouraging. Amanda Haughs and I presented at our first statewide conference, sharing our Campbell Union School District STEAM Program. It was a great chance for me to reflect on how far our STEAM program has come. From just attending and seeing what other districts were doing last year, to sharing and teaching others about what we're doing this year. Some of our attendees shared that they really appreciated the variety of resources available on our district STEAM website: 
I also had the opportunity to connect with many industry partners, like Amy from Autodesk Project Ignite and Amanda from Google CS First. I can't wait to see how we can further work together to provide our students and teachers with high-quality STEAM experiences. One of my favorite quotes from the conference is posted below. It reminded me to continue taking risks and to continue to promote a risk-taking culture!

Oct 18, 2015

5th Grade Dash Robot Biography Project

The 5th Graders at Forest Hill Elementary School were hard at work turning Dash into the famous person that they had researched. Rosa Yang, Forest Hill's STEAM Task Force Teacher, helped me plan this project, to integrate the math, literacy, and social studies skills that her students were currently working on. 
Since her students had just finished learning about metric measurement and rounding, we had them put them to the test to make a timeline to scale. Since Dash moves in increments of 10 centimeters, we had students round the lifespan of their famous person to the nearest 10 cm. They were then challenged to place the five most important parts of their person's life on the timeline, starting from their birthdate, rounding each one to the nearest 10 cm. 

The fifth graders then wrote a sentence describing that important life event. They then used the iPad App "Blockly" to program Dash to start at the beginning of the timeline. Each student was then able to record themselves reading each important life event and to have Dash travel down the timeline to describe it. Some of the students even wanted to program Dash to change colors based on the event and some even created a costume or hat to help Dash look more like their person. It was a fantastic way for the students to use math, literacy, and engineering, to truly bring their person to life!

Oct 7, 2015

Google CS First Music & Sound

6th grade teacher at Campbell Middle School, Maria Camisa, had her class take an interest survey at the beginning of the school year. The top two interests were technology and art. So Maria was excited to try the Google CS First Music and Sound theme. Students created music videos, dancing loops, and animated dialogue as part of the program. A fantastic way to integrate student interest, critical thinking, and math concepts!

Dash Robots and the 4 Regions of California

The fourth graders at Lynhaven have been busy learning how to program the Dash robots and researching the 4 Regions of California. 4th grade teacher Andrea Tracy was a member of the Advanced STEAM/Tech Cohort this summer and was very excited to work on this pilot project with Dash.

We started by talking about what is inside a robot and how they work. We then discussed that robots are special classmates and they need to be treated with respect. Some of the expectations that the students came up with were using nice words with Dash, giving him personal space, and being patient with him. We then had the fourth graders complete the puzzles in Dash Robot Driving School using the iPad App Blockly.

The next day, students worked with their groups to measure and draw a map for Dash to lead a tour through their region. They had to use their measurement and conversion skills, since Dash only moves in increments of 10 centimeters. In each group, there was one student who was an expert in the region's animals, plants, geography, and industry. Each expert wrote a sentence about their topic and recorded it in one of Dash's 5 customizable recordings. Students also took turns programming Dash's movements, turns, and lights. All of the 4th graders enjoyed taking Dash on a journey through the 4 Regions of California!

Sep 29, 2015

Blue-bots in First Grade

STEAM Task Force member, Salimah Valiani, bravely invited us to her first grade classroom at Rosemary. I mentioned at our last meeting that I was looking for a few teachers to pilot a few of our new STEAM Resources (before they are available to all CUSD teachers next month) and Salimah was the first to volunteer! I prepared the Blue-bot centers similarly to the Bee-bot centers, but I payed even closer attention to aligning them with K - 2 Common Core Math and Literacy Standards. Luckily my fellow elementary TOSAS, Amanda Haughs and Eve Lindsey, were around to make sure I was reinforcing the standards with rigor. 
Amanda even came with me to test out the math number line center! We carefully aligned that center with the Doubles +1 Eureka Math Lesson that the first graders are currently learning. Students selected a number and read it aloud, then their partner doubled it and added one. Another student then programmed this algorithm for Blue-bot to perform. Some students also took on the challenge of subtracting one instead. This truly made the number line concepts physically come to life!
The students are learning basic programming with the Blue-bots and having fun practicing the math and ELA skills they are learning in class. I will share more about the other centers next time!

Sep 26, 2015

Hot Air Balloon Launch

Yesterday was the big day for the Hot Air Balloon Launch at Blackford! After graphing the weather everyday, the third graders decided to launch their balloons at 9:00 a.m.! NASA education specialist, Russell Billings, taught the students that hot air rises faster during the coolest time of the day.
The students used tissue paper, gluesticks, and a lot of teamwork to build their balloons! They shared their learning with their parents, the Blackford community, and representatives from NASA and BloomSky. A special thank you to the Blackford third grade teachers and administrators, Anu Gupta, Tammy Bilbes, Michelle Giraudo, Shanti Lipari, Corrine Frese, and Jen Jasper for all their hard work in making this STEAM project possible!

Sep 21, 2015

Monroe Middle School In MinecraftEDU

Nicole (Lavia) Beardsley's 6th grade class has been hard at work creating a model of Monroe Middle School in MinecraftEDU. Nicole first planned this project in the summer, while she was collaborating with other teachers as part of the Advanced STEAM Cohort. She wanted her students to not only learn, but be able to teach others about the PBIS skills at Monroe. So she had her students carefully study and build different parts of Monroe's campus.
STEAMSpace leader, Josh Britton, also prepared a special MinecraftEDU world to help students visualize where different buildings on campus should be. Students later added signs and info blocks to teach other students the "Maverick Code of Conduct" in those areas. What a fantastic way to allow the students to really be leaders in promoting positive behavior at school!

Sep 18, 2015

Blackford Hot Air Balloon Challenge

All of the Blackford 3rd graders have been hard at work designing their NASA Mission Patches and designing their hot air balloons. After a visit from a NASA engineer, Anu Gupta explained to the students that for each NASA mission, the astronauts design a special team patch. Each part of the patch, including the shape, symbols, words, and colors have a special significance to the team. Here are a few of the 3rd grade team patches.
Then, after doing research about hot air balloons, students drew diagrams for their designs. To prepare the students for working with tissue paper next week, the third grade teachers had them prototype with paper towels. It was fascinating to watch the students problem solve how to attach the paper towels and how to help it keep its shape! 
The third graders and teachers can't wait to design and test their tissue paper hot air balloons next week!