In today’s world, students must prepare themselves for a wide range of college and work opportunities. All students want to lead a happy life and enjoy the good things the world has to offer. Our students will certainly be provided a quality education. This year I am working with our junior high students as they learn and master a wide range of 21st Century Skills.

In this year’s “Technology Applications” class, students will learn and master various topics associated with computers and technology.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Independent Learning and it's Christmas

Over the past few weeks, 6th graders have demonstrated what it means to be an "Independent Learner".  Upon completion of Module 2 (Digital Citizenship), students selected their own path of learning by choosing from a wide range of Self-Learning topics.

Currently, my 140 - 6th graders are engaged in 12 different "Self-Learning" modules.

Graphic Design
Coding at Code.Org
Computer Hardware
BBC micro:bit coding
Python Programming
Career Exploration
Choice of learning activities at Learning.com
App Inventor Programming
Web Design
Professional development

Throughout the Fall Semester, students completed a number of assignments and projects as they worked through their various modules.

After creating a "Letter Head" as a graphic design project, this student was asked to compose a business letter in a subsequent assignment.

This student was asked to take her graphic design skills and create a flyer announcement to an event of her choosing.

Many learning modules require online lessons at Learning.com.

Upon completion of Code.org (Level 2) coding activities, these students earn their certificates.

Knowing how to "Touch Type" is an important skill to have. 
This student used her Microsoft Word skills to create an invitation using a "Column" format.

Graphic Design skills have "Real-World" application.
As one of two final projects for "Computer Hardware", students direct potential technology consumers to designated websites using QR Codes.

In the "Wed Design" module, students create a websites using "Google Sites". 

As a final project together as a class, students were asked to practice their Graphic Design and Microsoft Word skills by creating projects of their own topic or theme. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Students Explore Independent Learning

Between Weeks 12 and 13, students have come to know and understand that being a "Self-Learner" is not as difficult or fearful as first imagined.  6th Graders are completing Module 2 (Digital Citizenship) and selecting "Self-Learning" modules of their choosing.  Some of the modules selected so far range from Graphic Design, Professional Development, Learning.com (Mixed Bag), Keyboarding, Computer Hardware, Career Exploration, and Coding using Code.org.

Between Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, all students are expected to complete Module 2 and start a new training module of their choice.  Empowering students to learn topics of their choosing is turning out to be the fulfillment of a dream I have pursued since I started teaching here 19 years ago.

To view the training modules available, click the link below.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Our First Unit; a Huge Success

My 6th graders in "Technology Applications" just completed their first unit in Graphic Design.  Using Microsoft Word 2016 as a medium, students had to learn, know and master a number of beginning, intermediate and advanced features of the program.

To complete the project, student had to know the following:

Open a Microsoft Word document
Set Margins
Change Page Orientation
Change Font Style
Change Font Size
Create a Table
Merge Cells
Split Cells
Insert Pictures
Resize Pictures
Add Color
Change Table Borders
Add a Page Border
Save their Microsoft Word Documents

For many students who had little or no experience with a Word Processing program or Microsoft Word specifically, these students did a fantastic job of creating their projects.


Sunday, September 16, 2018

It's been 3 weeks since my last blog and the 6th graders have been hard at work.  In the creation of their first Desktop Publishing Project, students found themselves using Microsoft Word 2016 for the first time.  Being new to Microsoft Word, students learned to change "Margins", change "Font Style" and "Font Size", "Align Text", create a "Table", "Insert Pictures" and add a "Page Border".  In typing up the "Social Norms", students did a great job of capitalization, spelling and punctuation.  It was observed that "attention to detail" was much better with this class of 6th graders than has been seen in previous classes.  

A number of learning resources were employed along the way.  Interactive videos, Learning.com lessons, various class exercises and activities were completed as students learned and practiced their new knowledge and skills.

Here are a few "Social Contracts" created by students.  Stay tuned as we move into our "Class Picture" and other Desktop Publishing projects.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Great Times Ahead

This year, our 6th grade Technology Application students are an awesome group.  They work hard and are not afraid to jump in and try new things.  Students spent time this week learning and reviewing all our district, school and classroom policies and procedures.  They learned how to log into our schools network and Google Classroom without a hitch.  In the past, students took as long as a week to master the login procedure.  With this group, they were all ready to go in a day or two.  As soon as they got into the classroom, they logged in and and were ready to start work just as if they were in a real job somewhere.

Got Milk!
Through one "Warm Up" Exercise, students learned how many gallons of milk a cow gives each year.  When given the fact that there were 10,000, glasses of milk involved, students took to a calculator to figure that each glass held _____ ounces.  I will let them tell you what they discovered. On a second "Warm Up" activity, students took to Google to discover the closet star to our solar system.  Ask your 6th grader.  I'm sure they will be more than happy to share what they learned.  

Through the week, students did a number of activities to learn what they needed to know for our end of week test.  While we did a few activities together as a class, students teamed up and work primarily with each other as they prepared themselves for the test over Rules, Policies and Procedures.  About 97% - 98% of all 6th grades passed the test with an 85% or higher.  Congratulations to all.

Next week, students will learn about Microsoft Word and its "Graphic Design" capabilities.  We will use this software package to create our "Social Contract" and "Class Picture Project".  Stay tuned next week for samples of their work.   

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Python Programming and Self-Learning Modules

In Career and Technology, 6th graders spent the last 2 weeks learning to key in and debug Python programs.  In working with the Python "Turtle.Pen" command, students experimented and created these designs.

Jaime Moreno
Enrique Alcorta
Elijah Martinez

Danika Chapa
Amelia Martinez
Calyssa Servier

It has been a great year for the 6th graders.  I won't see them again for 2 years as 8th graders.  They will be missed.

In Principles of Information Technology, 8th graders are wrapping up their "Self-Learning" modules.  At the end of their various modules, they were asked to complete a little survey about the things they learned on their own.  Here are their thoughts.

Here is hoping everyone had a great summer.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

"Self-Learning" Modules Produce Great Results

While not all Learning Modules result in a product, here are a few samples of students who created projects as they work in or have completed their selected module.

Limousine Advertisement was created by Julian Salinas

Restaurant Menu created by Judith Mujica

Restaurant Menu created by Daunia Esposo-Franklin

Restaurant menu created by Alexandra Casteneda

Flyer for the San Antonio Zoo created by Alexandra Casteneda

While these were created by students involved in "Module 3 (Graphic Design), videos and website created in other modules will be available soon.  Stay Tuned.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

8th and 6th Grade Technology Classes

A number of students completed training modules this week and will continue their training by selecting a new and different "Self-Learning" module.  Special recognition goes to Gale Raught for being the first student to ever complete the "Computer Hardware" module.

After she disabled the computer, she was able to confidently name the various internal parts.  When she reassembled the computer, the machine powered up and worked as expected. 

8th and 6th graders completed a project for this year's Student Showcase.  Students were asked to share what they know about the various things they have been doing in class.  While 6th graders are not involved in "Self-Learning" modules, their project indicates they now know more then they did before.  This week, 6th graders began their training in "Python Programming".

Watch the video below to see what all students are able to do.  Each 6th and 8th grade student was asked to share 2 or 3 key points and the video is about 20 minutes long.

On a different note, the TechnoPirates Robotics Club took a trip to the "San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology".  Upon completion of the museum activities, we were taken on a tour of "Port San Antonio" to learn of the different companies in operation and the various job opportunity which exist.

These two videos are available for your viewing.

Click here for a "Shout Out!" from Port San Antonio.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Getting ready for Showcase

As we breeze through the month of March and April, students are or will be preparing for Showcase.

6th Graders have completed a unit on Spreadsheets and are now preparing PowerPoint Slides to share what they have learned and are able to do.  They have learned how to use a program which converts text to speech as well as working with PowerPoint.  A video will be created for viewing during the Student Showcase on April 23rd. 

8th Graders will be showcasing their work in a similar matter.  There PowerPoint slide will share products they are creating in their "Self Learning" modules.  From Apps created with "MIT App Inventor" to Multi-Page "Websites", students will have tons to share.  

You are invited to come by our table and visit.  Let the students share with you what they learned and demonstrate what they are now able to do.  

Saturday, March 3, 2018

"Self-Learning" Modules Taking Shape

8th Grade "Principles of Information Technology"

8th Graders recently closed out Module 2 (Digital Citizenship).  After doing so, students are now free to select a new learning module of their choosing.  In any of my four 8th Grade classes, you will see students involved in:

MIT App Inventor programming
Web Design
Python Programming
"Code.Org" Coding Lessons
Sphero Programming
Career Exploration
Graphic Design
Lessons at "Learning.Com"
Computer Hardware

It is really cool to see students involved in work that interests them.  As students work through the next 2 - 3 weeks, they will be able to complete the module and move on to a new and different module.  Stay tuned to see how things develop over the next few weeks.  

6th Grade "Career and Technology"

Students are finishing up our "Spreadsheet" unit.   Over the last few weeks, these little ones created 3 or 4 spreadsheets using Google Sheets.   Having learned about Labels, Values, Formulas and Functions, these students are now in the process of creating a much larger spreadsheet.  Each student contributed to the "Household Inventory" spreadsheet by adding a typical household item to the list.  They also used the Internet to find stores where the items can be purchased, along with descriptions and prices.

Students used "Functions and Formulas" to calculate a Sub-Total, Sales Tax, Total Price.  To conclude the calculations, students also use a Function to determine the highest, lowest and average price of the items. The spreadsheet will be completed this week as they learn to add borders and a splash of color to add visual appeal.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

New Semester Means a New Beginning

Career and Technology

6th graders are off to a great start for the New Year.  They begin the new semester with a Spreadsheet Assignment they left pending before Christmas Break.  They completed an online lesson at Learning.com and took Quiz #1.  With 90% of the quiz grades being 80 % or higher, working our way through Module 4 (Spreadsheets) will be a breeze. 

It won't be long before our 6th graders learn the basics of creating spreadsheets on their own and well enough to create a spreadsheet of their own creation and design.

Principles of Information Technology

We closed out the semester with the very first group of 8th graders to ever complete "Self-Learning" modules.  Each module began with a Pretest.  After their Pretest, each student completed a series of learning activities, quizzes and projects.  They then took a Post Test to determine the growth of their knowledge and skills. 

I am including a link to a Spreadsheet with "Pretest" and "Post Test" scores.  The scores have been charted for graphic representation.  The charts can be found at the bottom of each spreadsheet.  Student names ARE NOT revealed in any way and not all Learning Modules were completed by students. Four of the 18 modules were not taken by students and do not have any data in them.  3 new modules were added over Christmas Break.   One module is not conducive to Pre or Post testing.

I am looking forward to working with a new group of 8th graders as they learn and master the skill of learning on their own.

 Stay tuned for the great things created by our students.