Technology

Students using Google Expeditions to view the solar system in Augmented Reality

Beginning in Kindergarten, we provide a supportive environment for students to learn and create through the use of iPads, laptops, various coding and digital storytelling apps, Lego EV3s, Spheros, Osobot Bits, and Arduino.

We set a strong pace of learning, supporting students to be the future thinkers and tinkerers of the tech world. We facilitate a creative atmosphere where students are excited to learn computational thinking skills, develop a passion for technology, the design process, and the joy of discovery. These skills are also integrated into the classroom so that students can express themselves creatively and show what they know using a combination of modalities.

What is Computational Thinking?

Computational thinking has its roots in computer science and is now considered an important problem solving skill that can be used across all subject matters and disciplines, for example, social studies, humanities, science, and math. A coding project that is introduced in the classroom is actually teaching even our youngest students how to effectively approach a question and find solutions, no matter how complex it may seem at first. Computational thinking supports creative thinking, flexibility, and problem solving, and is an excellent representation of our Character Education Program's theme this year, “Solve and Evolve.”

Computational thinking teaches students how to:

  • Observe trends in a set of data and how these patterns are being generated
  • Solve complex problems by breaking them down into bite sized, manageable chunks
  • Test and iterate upon ideas
  • Merge math, engineering, and art together in order to solve real-world problems
  • Develop a growth mindset and grit by learning that everything is a work in progress

K - 6th Technology - Example Curriculum

Kindergarten

Beginning in Kindergarten, students learn:

  • iPad Skills:
    • How to turn an iPad off/on, put iPad back in charging station, how to navigate to an app, how to use various educational apps in the classroom (i.e., for reading and math), and how to log off from an app
    • How to take a photograph on an iPad
    • How to annotate photographs on an iPad (e.g., by drawing and voice recording) using the Seesaw e-portfolio app

Computational Thinking and Digital Storytelling:

  • Makey Mondays: Focused on engineering, Kindergarten teachers give students challenges, which are connected to the curriculum. For example, they will read a story and then give students a design challenge based on the theme in the story.
  • Imagination Station: In this Kindergarten learning room, students are given free choice time, which is built into their curriculum. This allows students to explore something they are passionate about using creative building materials or technology (e.g., educational apps, robots, and basic circuitry)
  • iPad Photography and Annotation using the Seesaw e-portfolio app
  • Circuitry: Students learn how to incorporate Lectrify LEDs, motors, copper tape, pipe cleaners, conductive thread, and batteries into their own creations during Makey Mondays and in the Imagination Station.
  • Coding:
    • Ozobot Bit: This tiny robot can read color and change its behavior based on color patterns. Students can draw lines and color codes to control the robot. We use these robots to teach computational thinking, fine motor skills (learning to write letters), and create design challenges that integrate STEAM subjects (e.g., constructing a maze or having a race between robot).
    • Kodable: This is a coding curriculum suitable for our youngest students. Students learn basic problem solving, how to develop a sequence, and how to debug (correct errors) within a sequence.

First Grade

First Grade students learn:

  • Computer Skills:
    • How to use a MacBook
    • How to use a mouse
    • How to navigate to a website using the iPad and computer

Computational Thinking and Digital Storytelling:

  • Genius Hour: This is free choice time built into the curriculum that allows students to explore something they’re passionate about by using creative building materials or technology (e.g., educational apps, robots, and basic circuitry.)
  • Graphic Design using Pixie, which is incorporated into Social Studies projects throughout the year
  • Circuitry: Students learn how to incorporate Lectrify LEDs, motors, copper tape, pipe cleaners, conductive thread, and batteries into their own creations during Genius Hour.
  • Coding:
    • Code.org: Introduction to block coding and debugging
    • Ozobot Bit: This tiny robot can read color and change its behavior based on patterns of color. Students can draw lines and color codes to control the robot. We use these robots to teach computational thinking, fine motor skills (learning to write letters), and create design challenges that integrate STEAM subjects (e.g., constructing a maze or having a race between robot).
    • Kodable: This is a coding curriculum suitable for our youngest students. Students learn basic problem solving, how to develop a sequence, and how to debug (correct errors) within a sequence.

Second Grade

2nd Grade students learn:

  • iPad and Research Skills:
    • How to find images from the Internet and save them to the iPad camera roll
    • How to use Google maps
    • How to find 360 photos

Computational Thinking and Digital Storytelling:

  • Morning Free Choice: Available each morning before school starts, allowing students to explore something they’re passionate about by using creative building materials or technology (e.g., educational apps, robots, and basic circuitry.)
  • Collage and Poster Design throughout the 2nd Grade curriculum using Pic Collage for Kids.
  • Circuitry: Students learn how to incorporate Lectrify LEDs, motors, copper tape, pipe cleaners, conductive thread, and batteries into their own creations.
  • Coding:
    • Code.org: Introduction to block coding and debugging
    • Ozobot Bit: Introduction to block coding - students design and solve complex mazes for the Ozobot Bit to navigate through
    • Sphero: Introduction to block coding - students to design and solve complex mazes for the Sphero to navigate through
    • Scratch Jr: Introduction to block coding and graphic design through the creation of online animations

Third Grade

In 3rd Grade, students learn:

  • Basic Chromebook Skills: How to log in using a username and password, how to use a trackpad (in lieu of a mouse), how to put computer back into charging station and insert charger.
  • Digital Citizenship: following the Common Sense Media curriculum
  • Google Apps for Education: Introduction to Google Drive, Docs, Slides, and Classroom
  • Introduction to Typing
  • Research Skills:
    • How to discern what is credible information online
    • How to use a library database

Computational Thinking and Digital Storytelling:

  • 3D Design/Printing: Students use Tinkercad to design simple objects to be 3D printed.
  • Circuits: Students use snap circuits to make their own working AM radios.
  • Engineering: Students learn core concepts of structural engineering using Strawbees.
  • 3D Content Creation: Students learn to use iPads and software to create 360 degree photos and videos. They learn to use Adobe Video Editing software to 'stitch' the videos together into one seamless 360 degree panorama, and they load their videos to virtual reality goggles to experience.
  • Website Portfolio: Students create simple websites using HTML5, Javascript to display their technology projects throughout the year in one space
  • 2D Game Creation Using Scratch: Students create original, interactive 2D games. They learn core concepts of coding including variables, loops and event handling, while creating their own narratives and characters.

Fourth Grade

Students in 4th Grade learn:

  • Word Processing and Presentation Skills: Introduction to Pages and Keynote
  • Research Skills: How to find fair use images from the Internet and insert them into a Google Doc or a Pages document
  • Digital Citizenship: following the Common Sense Media curriculum

Computational Thinking and Digital Storytelling:

  • Green Screen News: Students create newscasts/weather reports by using Adobe Premiere to master the technique of chroma keying.
  • Graphic Design: Students are introduced to core photo editing skills in Photoshop (layering, masking, color matching).
  • Augmented Reality/3D Content Creation:
    • Students use Apple Keynote to create the basic layout of text and images they wish to use for their project. Then using Makey Makey microcontrollers and Aurasma, students create posters that play audio and present images related to their favorite athlete, musician, or actor.
    • Students learn how to create 360 degree photos and videos. They will learn to use Adobe video editing software to 'stitch' the videos together to make one seamless 360 degree panorama, and load the videos to virtual reality goggles to experience.
  • Website Portfolio: Students create simple websites using HTML5, Javascript to display their technology projects throughout the year in one space.
  • 2D Game Creation Using Scratch: Students learn core concepts of coding including variables, loops and event handling, while creating original, interactive 2D games.
  • Lego Robotics: Students are introduced to lego robotics by creating a simple robot from step by step directions.
  • Circuitry: As part of the 4th Grade's California social studies unit, technology is integrated into students' mission projects. Students use Google SketchUp to create 3D digital models of their missions, which requires and understanding of geometry, dimensions, and scope. They also paint their selected missions and attach Arduino programmable circuit boards to the paintings, turning their physical artwork into interactive display pieces with LED lights and sound recordings.

Fifth Grade

Fifth Grade students learn:

  • Email Skills: how to login, check and write an email
  • Digital Citizenship: following the Common Sense Media curriculum
  • Advanced Research and Citation skills: how to cite a book, article, website, and media found on the Internet
Computational Thinking and Digital Storytelling:
  • Graphic Design: Students use Pages and Photoshop to publish a magazine, showcasing their writing created throughout 5th Grade
  • Sound Effect Creation: Using ChucK, students code their own original sound effects to be used in future game design projects.
  • Video Effects: Building on the green screen project in 4th Grade, students take their knowledge of video effects to the next level using MaxMSP/Jitter and Adobe Premiere to create short films.
  • 3D Design/3D Printing/ Electrical Engineering: Students use Sketchup and Arduino to create custom video game controllers.
  • 3D Content Creation:
    • Students learn how to create 360 degree photos and videos. They learn to use Adobe video editing software to 'stitch' the videos together to make one seamless 360 degree panorama, and load the videos to virtual reality goggles to experience.
    • Students create 3D-designed worlds for virtual reality in Unity based on their Social Studies curriculum.
  • Website Portfolio: Students create simple websites using HTML5, Javascript to display their technology projects throughout the year in one space.
  • Lego Robotics: Students work in teams and are introduced to lego robotics by creating a simple robot from step-by-step directions before moving on to complete a more complex project of their own design.
  • Drawing Application: Using Java and Processing, students create their own interactive drawing application. Core concepts of variables, loops and functions are employed to complete an app that has a variety of brush size, shape, and color options.

Sixth Grade

In 6th Grade, students learn:

  • Advanced Communication and Presentation Skills: including spreadsheets, graphs, and charts using Keynote, Pages, Numbers, and Excel
  • Digital Citizenship: following the Common Sense Media curriculum

Computational Thinking and Digital Storytelling:

  • Graphic Design: Digital photography, including technical and editing skills in Photoshop.
  • Web Design: Students create simple websites using HTML5, Javascript to display their technology projects throughout the year in one space.
  • Drawing Application: Using Java and Processing, students create their own interactive drawing application. Core concepts of variables, loops and functions are employed to complete an app that has a variety of brush size, shape, and color options.
  • iOS Photo App: Students learn the basic concepts behind basic touch interaction and photo manipulation by creating a mobile application.
  • 3D Fabrication: Using Raspberry Pi, SketchUp, and 3D printing, students design and fabricate their own customized, Gameboy-like gaming system.
  • 3D Content Creation:
    • Students learn how to create 360 degree photos and videos. They learn to use Adobe video editing software to 'stitch' the videos together to make one seamless 360 degree panorama, and load the videos to virtual reality goggles to experience.
    • Students create 3D games in Unity. The key tech concepts learned are 3D modeling and animation, C# Programming to control environment, and character creation.
  • Electronic Musical Instrument Design: Students use the ChucK programming language, Arduino micro controllers, and a variety of sensors to create original and expressive digital musical instruments.