2013 Christmas Concert Photos


Please enjoy these photos from the December 19 Christmas Concert and the December 20 PK-4 Christmas Show.

2013 December Hour of Code Success

Saint Michael School students from Kindergarten through eighth grade experienced “The Hour of Code” the week of December 9-13. You can find more pictures at our Shutterfly site.

2013DaisyKindergarten and first grade students used the free iPad app, Daisy the Dinosaur. They took turns using three iPads. Daisy the Dinosaur has seven commands: move, turn, grow, shrink, jump, roll, and spin. By combining those commands the youngest students can program a dinosaur to perform a routine. You can see by the look on the faces of our students how engaged they were in the program.

2013TynkerThe second and third grade students worked as a team at the interactive whiteboard to complete tutorials on the Tynker website. During the week of December 16 the students will try the same exercises on their own. Tynker’s Hour of Code lessons teach the students to use puzzle shaped commands to move a puppy through obstacles. As the children connect the commands they learn the basics of computer programming.

2013BlocklyThe fourth through eighth grade students worked independently using Blockly. It is a programming language that uses puzzle shaped blocks. Videos with guest speakers such as Bill Gates of Microsoft, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Chris Bosh NBA All-Star and college computer programmer introduce and explain concepts. The students first solved puzzles by creating computer code to move the angry bird to the pig and a zombie to a sunflower. Once students understood the concept of moving characters on the screen they progressed to programming the drawing of shapes such as squares and triangles. The students will find an Hour of Code certificate in their Edmodo account.

All students in second through eighth grade have usernames and passwords to access the lessons in Tynker and Blockly. It is the same as the username and password for our K12Share website for Pixie drawings and Edmodo.

This event was held for the first time by code.org during Computer Science Education Week. It attracted over 15 million individuals who wrote over 490 million lines of code.

2013 Computer Science Education Week – Monday


At Saint Michael School students begin learning about computer programming in third grade with Scratch. This year, I am excited to involve our students in code.org‘s massive campaign to recruit 10 million students to try one hour of programming. According to code.org 90% of K-12 schools do not teach programming. Our students have been very fortunate to have opportunities to grow their skills every year.

Code.org has provided a variety of resources and I have researched many more. Every student from Kindergarten through eighth grade will be exposed to computer programming in an age appropriate way this week.

December 9-13 By Class

Kindergarten and first grade will be learning, as a group, to use Daisy the Dinosaur. It is a free IOS app for IOS 3.2 or later. It is compatible with an iPad.

Second and third grade will work with the Tynker visual programming language. We will work as a class this week. Next week they will receive usernames and passwords to try those exercises and more on their own. They will use the same usernames and passwords that we use for the K12Share space that stores our Pixie images online.

Fourth through eighth grade will begin the week with the Blockly visual programming language on the code.org website. They will be able to continue their work in Blockly the second class of the week, try Tynker, or create a Christmas greeting card in Scratch. All students will be able to continue their work throughout the year at home on any Internet enabled computer or at school as a free choice when they finish their assignment in computer class.

Additional IOS Apps

Your child may want to download these free apps at home.

Kodable is a free iPad app that teaches programming concepts and problem solving for children ages 5 and up. It is for grownups, too.

Hopscotch is a visual programming language for children for IOS 5.0 and later. It is compatible with the iPad. It is rated 4+. It is a 2013 Parents Choice Gold Award winner. It was featured by Apple in Education and rated as best for ages 9-12.

Light-bot Hour of Code is free for ages K-12 and is a programming logic game. It requires IOS 4.3 or higher, is optimized for IOS 5, and is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

Google Play Apps

Your child may want to download these free apps at home.

Light-bot Hour of Code is free for ages K-12 and is a programming logic game. It requires Android 2.2 or later.


2013 Giving Tree

2013DecGivingGiftsOn Friday Saint Michael’s students, along with their families, participated in the annual “Giving Tree” collection. All donations will go to the less fortunate of Saint Joseph’s in Elizabeth. Our 8th graders were more than happy to gather all the gifts and to help out. The donation will be delivered Monday so there is still time to bring in any forgotten gifts.

2013 December Fourth Grade Kean Science Carnival

Our fourth grade students were invited to attend a Science Carnival held by the Biotechnology Club at Kean University. The purpose of Science Carnival is to collaborate with young students to spark an early interest in the science field. The day started at 9:30 A.M. and ended after a lunch of pizza. Students attended the event in the STEM building and explored numerous activities, both hands-on and demonstrations by the Biotechnology Club members.  One of our alumni, Michael Oro, is a freshman in the STEM program at Kean. As a member of the Biotechnology Club, he enjoyed sharing his love of science through a hands-on oil spill cleanup activity.

Mrs. DeMan took photos. Click here to view the photos.

Our fourth graders reflected on the event in this audio podcast. Click the play button below to listen.

2013 December Author David Mercaldo Visit

2013DecAuthorOn Wednesday December 4, the Kindergarten through third grade students spent time with author David Mercaldo. He read a selection from his book Little Boy Boo and shared stories about his work. Dr. Mercaldo was a teacher, principal, and playwright. He spoke about writing stories and how important it is to edit and rewrite as a student and an author. His book does not have illustration. It does have blank pages for the students to add illustrations. Little Boy Boo includes a blank space for the child to add their name as illustrator. Please enjoy some photos taken during the session with the first grade students.

Click this link for more photographs.

2013 Fourth Through Eighth Grade Advent Ceremony

Each Monday during Advent the school has the Advent wreath lighting ceremonies: one for PK-3 and a second for 4-8. Please enjoy this video from yesterday’s 4th through 8th grade assembly.