SEP Jr. – CSforAll

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In the teacher world, there is not greater joy than sharing your passions with your students. This year my students and I have learned and grown so much together. I am so grateful to them for always being so enthusiastic about trying out new things with me. This journey started earlier this year with Genius Hour and passion projects, then we incorporated STEM activities with MakeyMakey kits, and last we ended the year learning to code with Along the way things were messy, we failed at various things, and ultimately we learned so many valuable lessons about what true learning looks like. In fact our new favorite motto is: F.A.I.L = First Attempt In Learning.

We had so many successes this year it is hard to pinpoint our greatest. However I can say my proudest moment occurred just this week when my students showcased their learning for Chancellor Fariña and members of the press. The Chancellor visited our class to issue a press release and watch my students during a coding lesson. During her visit the students shared with the Chancellor their knowledge of computer science and taught her some of the basics of coding. They exuded confidence and excitement, despite the many visitors and cameras present in the room.

The Chancellor was at our school to announce the start of a new NYC elementary school pilot, SEP Jr., set to start next year. The goals of SEP Jr. is to increase the number of elementary school students, particularly from traditionally underrepresented groups, who learn computer science, and to develop students’ computational thinking and problem solving skills in real-world contexts. (for more information click here). I applied for this pilot program on behalf of my school team and was thrilled to learn we were chosen of 110 applicants to be one of 11 selected elementary schools! What a great way to end a wonderful school year.

To read more about this and our visit, please take a look at the following articles:

NY Daily News             Chalkbeat NY                 NYC DOE Press Release


#thankateacher – National Teacher Appreciation Week

teacher appreciation week

Today marks the first day of a week long celebration of ……us! Teacher Appreciation Week 2014 is May 5-9 with Teacher Appreciation Day on May 6. Now is the perfect time to say thank you to the teachers in your life!
To honor all my fellow educators out there, I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes, sayings, jokes, and videos for teachers. Enjoy:

Kid President – A Pep Talk to Teachers – I LOVE this kid!

Ted Talks for Teachers in Need of Inspiration








Ideas to #thankateacher

50 cute sayings for teach appreciation

26 Gift Ideas

Gifts on Etsy

Free Chipotle in Honor of Teacher Appreciation Day! May 6

Free Chipotle in Honor of Teacher Appreciation Day! May 6

In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Day, all educators – teachers, faculty, and staff – bring your valid school ID to any Chipotle in the US on Tuesday, May 6th from 4pm to close, and you’ll get schooled with buy-one/get-one burritos, bowls, salads, or orders of tacos.*

*Offer not valid for online, mobile, fax, Burritos by the Box, or catering orders. Offer good at US locations only. Limit one free menu item per educator/staff ID. Additional restrictions may apply.

Watch A Teenager Bring His Class To Tears Just By Saying A Few Words

This video was posted on Upworthy and I finally took the time to watch it. Emotional charged and uplifting. This makes me proud to be an educator!
Ideas come from the strangest places sometimes — like from four-time Academy Award-winning movies from 2010. We all should grow up knowing that some people like Musharaf “Mushy” Asghar need to learn in a different way from the norm, and that’s OK. They shouldn’t be bullied for it. Wait till 2:49, when his hard work is put into action in front of his classmates. Thank goodness for inspiration, right?

Read Across America Day 2014

Yesterday marked the 17th annual, NEA- Read Across America Day.
This annual event is geared to excite and motivate readers in every community, as they come together to celebrate reading on the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss. Our school this year decided to also hold a door decorating contest to get the entire school into the spirit. The contest guidelines were to decorate your door with a favorite book/author.

My students and I adore the work of Peter Reynolds, and we chose his books as our inspiration. If you aren’t familiar with his work, I urge you to explore his website, as I know you won’t be disappointed.

Peter Reynolds Official Site

Peter is an accomplished writer, storyteller and illustrator, which is impressive in itself. He has many best-selling books which share a central message about protecting and nurturing the creative spirit. My favorites include The Dot, Ish, Sky Color and So Few of Me.

The kids had a blast creating the art work that went along with each book. However, what made me even happier was to watch and listen to their self-criticism change to acceptance and praise as they realized Reynolds was right, they art what beautiful-ish. As a teacher, sometimes these are the lessons that impact us the most!





And of course, they had to go home with some goodies too! 20140304-215110.jpg

Why You Should Be Using XtraMath in Your Classroom

xtramath logo

The information processing theory supports the view that automaticity in math facts is fundamental  to success in several areas of higher mathematics. Without the ability to retrieve facts directly or  automatically, students are more likely to experience a high cognitive load as they perform a range of  complex tasks.

Two summers ago, as I was prepping for a new school year (okay I was pinning on Pinterest), I came across a website called XtraMath. It is easily one of the best websites I have found for our 3rd grade class and the results speak for themselves. If you want to raise your student’s math fluency, then search no further!

What Is XtraMath?

XtraMath is a free web program that teaches addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts which are critical to success in mathematics. Speed and accuracy are both important to fluency, and XtraMath will help kids build up both. Math fluency is essential for success with fractions, decimals, multi-digit algorithms and any higher level math. It is based on the assumption that students who regularly practice will quickly and easily recall answers when needed, freeing up mental resources for more complex problem solving (also known as fluency). Read more about Math Fluency here.

After a simple placement exam, fluency goals are achieved through timed practices. Students are given 3 seconds to correctly answer each individual math fact. If they answer the fact in under 3 seconds (the deemed rate for fluency) they earn a smiley face. An answered keyed in under 10 seconds earns a green check mark. Finally, if a student takes 10 seconds or more, the answer will display in grey beneath the math fact and the student still must key it in. Any incorrect answers show a red “x” and still require the correct answer to be keyed in. This is great, because it forces the student to focus on the right answer before moving on. These problems will also show up again soon, so that the student reviews them quickly, before they have lost the fact from their memory (a research based strategy for learning new facts).

Why Use XtraMath?

  • It runs itself (all you need to do is setup your class roster)
  • Parents can monitor student progress
  • Weekly Progress Reports: beautiful and informative graphs
  • It shows exactly what facts a student has mastered
  • It takes only 5-10 minutes a day
  • Works on tablets too!
  • No more grading mad minutes or fluency worksheets! (save the trees

Check out this video that explains XtraMath in the classroom.

Now get onto and get your kiddies started! You’re Welcome 🙂

Have you used this website in your classroom? Leave a comment below and tell us why you love it.

Giving Thanks