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.
    • Robot Turtles: This is a board game designed for young students. It's a fun way to learn about sequencing, debugging and problem solving. 

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:
    • 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 and Google Earth
    • 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:
    • Kodable: This is a coding curriculum suitable for our youngest students. Students continue building on their skills from Kindergarten and 1st grade, with an emphasis on algorithms, conditional statements, loops, and functions. 
    • Sphero: Introduction to block coding - students to design and solve complex mazes for the Sphero to navigate through
    • Scratch: 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.
  • 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.
  • 3D Content Creation: Students integrate their Strawbees engineering skills with block coding to design moving sculptures. 

Fourth Grade

Students in 4th Grade learn:

Computational Thinking and Digital Storytelling:

  • Green Screen: Students create green screen videos to showcase their understanding of their 4th grade reading and social studies curriculum.
  • Graphic Design: Students are introduced to core photo editing skills in Photoshop (layering, masking, color matching).
  • 2D Game Creation Using Scratch: Students learn core concepts of coding including variables, loops and event handling, while creating original, interactive 2D games.
  • Augmented Reality/3D Content Creation:
    • As a part of their 4th grade Social Studies curriculum, which includes learning about the California Gold Rush, Students research and create a 3D printed object that existed during that time in history. They begin by sketching a basic layout of the text and images they wish to incorporate into their project. Then using TinkerCad, students design and print a 3D object, and using HP Reveal, students create a video to describe their research which includes how that was object was used during the Gold Rush.
    • Students create an interactive poster with cardboard, aluminum foil, and Makey Makeys. When the posters is touched, the sensor triggers student created sound recordings that explain the content of their poster.
  • Lego Robotics: Students are introduced to lego robotics by creating a simple robot from step by step directions. 

Fifth Grade

Fifth Grade students learn:

  • Email Skills: how to login, check and write an email
  • Digital Citizenship: following the Common Sense Media curriculum
  • Word Processing and Presentation Skills: Introduction to Pages and Keynote, advanced Google Drive, Docs, Slides, and Classroom skills
  • 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 to publish a magazine, showcasing their writing created throughout 5th Grade
  • Drawing Application: Using Java and Processing, students create their own interactive screen saver. Core concepts of variables, loops and functions are employed to complete an app that has a variety of brush size, shape, and color options.
  • 3D Design/3D Printing/ Electrical Engineering: Students use Fusion 360 and Arduino to create custom video game controllers.
  • 3D Content and Sound Effect Creation:
    • Using ChucK, students code their own original sound effects to be used in future game design projects.
    • Students create a 3D-designed visualizer in Unity based on their sound design project.
  • 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.

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: Students publish a magazine, showcasing their writing created throughout 6th Grade. This project incorporates photography, writing and editing skills.
  • 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.
  • 3D Content Creation: Students create 3D games in Unity. The key tech concepts learned are 3D modeling and animation, C# Programming to control environment, and character creation.
  • 3D Fabrication / Electronic Musical Instrument Design: Students use the Processing app, Arduino micro controllers, and a variety of sensors to create original and expressive digital musical instruments.