Elementary School Information
We know that education is a team process and that schools and parents must work closely to provide our students with the best possible educational environment. Together we can give every student the chance to make the most of their educational experience.
A Message From Our Principal
Just as there was much to be grateful for last month there is a lot to be excited about in December. With parent-teacher conferences winding down in the ES we found that we have accomplished so much this year together, maybe even more than previous years. We know that when we look out for each other we can make in-person learning last months longer than previously thought. Now that we are remote, we have seen your continued commitment to education as we have had over 90% of our students in attendance for live lessons. Education, like many things in life, is all about what you put into it. Your hard work and perseverance will pay off in the end, and your students will reap the rewards of our collective efforts.
I want to send a warm holiday greeting to all our remote/online families as well. Although I know you are in good hands with some of our very best teachers and many of you are excelling away from our building, you are missed, and we are proud of your efforts and perseverance. You have been the trailblazers and the reason we have had such a smooth transition to going fully remote as a whole school, thank you. This experience has taught us all a lot, and you are going to come out of this pandemic with a skill set around problem-solving, patience, and a resolve that will bode well for future success for years to come.
To all our US families, thank you. You have provided a kind word or a thoughtful email when we needed it. You have offered a warm cup of coffee or tea when it got cold outside at the screening lines. You have been gracious and understanding through quarantines and technological issues. You have been a beacon to other communities that we are not about ourselves, but we are truly in this for our community that we all love so much. As you gather around the computer or smartphone screens this holiday season to see loved ones, because you have decided like many of us to not travel, I want you to know you are a big part of the reason we will come out of this on top and in better shape than when we started. Stay safe and remember, We are Bulldogs! Happy holidays.
Are your kids spending too much time playing mindless computer games? Encourage them to use their minds and write their own computer games instead. Of course, they probably won’t be cranking out a competitor to “Angry Birds” right away, but that doesn’t mean kids won’t love to write programs. Just because they can’t play basketball like Michael Jordon doesn’t stop them from loving to play basketball. Computer programming is powerful and fun, and kids don’t need to become professional programmers to learn from the activity. Computer programming teaches kids problem solving, logical (computational) thinking, and determination, and it fosters creativity. The best part is you don’t have to know anything about computer programming to get your kids started. You simply head to the Internet for the software of your choice.
Scratch (a programming language developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and supported by the National Science Foundation) is a free, fun, visual, programming language for kids from third grade on up. They can create games, interactive stories, animations, music, and art. They simply drag and drop the code blocks onto the programming area, and then they can instantly see the result. The different commands snap together. This avoids all the frustrating syntax errors of typing computer code while keeping all the mind expanding experiences of computer programming. You can view this short video to see what Scratch can do.
Kodu (sponsored by Microsoft Research FuseLabs) is another free visual programming language for kids. It has a very specific video game focus. Kids begin with their own story and develop the characters, worlds, and actions to tell their story as a video game. In Kodu, the programming code is icon based. Kodu, which is Windows based, also has an Xbox 360 version available for a fee of 400 Points (about $5).
Ladybug Mazes (part of a Utah State University collection of interactive math manipulatives) introduces the concept of computer programming to kids as young as kindergarten. Kids make a plan for the ladybug to follow by choosing step blocks and turn blocks, which appear at the bottom of the screen. When they click the play button, the ladybug follows the command blocks they have chosen. Most kindergarteners need help getting started, but they generally catch on quickly. Kids can play Ladybug Mazes online for free.
Programming software designed for kids is a great way to move your student from game player to game designer, from consumer to producer. Try one today; you will be glad you did.