Happiness is …

Helping things grow …

How do you spell purple?

I met this amazing educator at the Children at Risk Texas Education Summit 2018.  AJ Crabill, Dep. Commissioner of Governance, Texas Education Agency spoke on TEA’s new school accountability. Check out txschools.org – what an amazing database.

I hope that accountability includes assessment on asking a learner to change code to see if they mastered their assignment. I have used coding to assess student’s mastery of math concepts for decades.  In this lesson the assessment was to write code that draws a circle inscribed in a square. The question is how do we replace multiple choice testing with coding as an assessment tool? That and self-assessment. With AI thinking computers could grade. It is time to change the system.


Something really scary with the now of AI and machine learning. Going to listen to Frankenstein during this Halloween season. Was inspired by my favorite show, so many ideas grow with CBS Sunday Morning. Which was inspired by a book written in 1817 as it turns 200. Thought my friends might want a scare too. Please let me know what you think?


What else is scary … too many kids are not being exposed to AI, Machine Learning and Computer Science.  Conversations with Bots – Who is having the conversations? We need some General Magic in schools.  Way to go Megan Smith.  I remember when I sat in the Roosevelt room with you when you were CTO.  Was impressed then, and can’t wait to see what MEGAN does next.

Fighting for the Voiceless – her passion after surviving Jonestown 40 years ago

Lets bring the voice of civics lessons and conversation into every classroom.

I hope kids learn that Freedom is earned through education, that they are a slave to their own ignorance. That time spent on F2F conversations and real-world adventures is more engaging than Fortnite and their social media sites.

From my 1996 original website 100% coded in HTMLThe most powerful of software tools is the programming language … an important role for the teacher is as a sort of human tool, a consultant on ways and means, rather than an initiator of activities for students.” – Brian Harvey 1980
Education is the only business still debating the useful of technology. – Dr. Ron Paige

Now the debate is the usefulness of computer science education.  My school district has purchased Chromebooks for all high school students.  What is scary is wondering if all teachers will incorporate computational thinking into their lessons. Wondering if kids will learn to control their devices by creating their own apps, games and websites.  Such as the UT “Know before you Vote” app.

And the debate continues on the impact of screen time, rich vs poor, public vs private, etc.

AAUW Codes

AAUW North Harris County Branch has an activity group that is challenging themselves with coding.  They were starting with Khan Academy.  I showed them the artist in Code.org’s lesson. Above is a graphic created by showing them how to draw a square, then add a loop.  What fast learners. Next step coding Frozen and creating snowflakes.

I am working with Rice RUSMP on an Intel Foundation Grant which includes bringing mentors to middle school girls.  I am hoping that this group and my AAUW West Harris County Branch can help bring math, geometry, and story-telling to young women through computational thinking. And make CS For All a reality.

How to do it – SCRIPT has the answer.  My goal, get this in Spring Branch ISD where Michael Dell went to high school.

Blue Dot

The critical Blue Dot” … that is what is missing to create “elegant” classrooms so kids are “Never Lost Again.“… “The Google Mapping Revolution” whose software helped to save lives during Katrina, helps with saving our environment and I think can revolutionize education. Self-driving cars … we need self-driving automated classrooms.  The system must change!

It took Halliburton 75 years to change their safety jumpsuit.  Educators can learn from Rosie the Riveter too, but with an open hand to maker space time with computer science education.  How long do we continue with bell-ringing Carnegie Unit driven accountability disconnected classroom?

Kids want challenges with friends.  Look at the draw of Fortnite … but instead of guns and fighting each other, lets give kids challenges to fight diseases, floods, air quality, obesity, and gardens to feed the world with healthy food.  Lets give a helping hand.

You can learn more about “The critical blue dot” in Chapter 18 of Kilday’s compelling story of the creation of one of the most essential applications ever devised, and the team that built it and changed how we navigate the world.  A must listen to in every high school classroom.  Teachers listen to “Never Lost Again” for 2 minutes each day and create revolutions in learning.  Give students 20% time like Google does for innovation. We need more CS leaders as project managers to make this happen!  …. Hands graphic by Shaina Glass, a leading CS Educator. For myself, I am losing my gall and hoping to be more staid.

Bug Brunch

Bee-Bots on the march again. Joining other insects for a day of STEM with Code Ninjas.  There were lots of bugs.  Not one child or parent who coded the Bee-Bots did it “right” the first time.  There was lots of debugging going on.  And discovering what was right, what challenge they wanted to tackle.  My challenge was trying to get the parents to let their child figure out the solution without hoovering and telling them what was right.  I wanted to say, please be a fly on the wall. But that was not my place, my place was to answer questions and encourage learners to JUST DO IT AGAIN.


The Creation of a Bug Dance inspired by this book (which disappeared and I hope will be read by the new owner) … need an aspiring film producer to link the takes together and share the underlying message.  See CodeMathTeks for more dance videos.

After 4 tries, attracted another learning bug.  They would have worked another hour to get their dance right, but alas time was out and they needed to move on.  Maybe in an after-school coding club they can come together again.


What pathway will be inspired by bugs.  This is my little butterfly growing in my garden. The future, Mia’s Bug Dance. Watch for that film.


Path to the Stars

Starts by creating a binary bracelet like CEO of Girl Scouts. CBS This Morning had an amazing segment with CEO of Girl Scouts who shares the path to the stars I would like for every child.  If only every school would start on the path of eliminating multiple choice testing and B&W worksheets and replace with badges like scouting.

And need teachers who are valued for giving their all … Started with a simple conversation on a plane.  And a person who listened and took action.

Brain Reflections

FRUSTRATING  … what is taking so long?

We need to build aspirations together and change the schooling system.
We all have “Magic Pencils” with Malala power.
“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”
OUR CHOICES DEFINE US … Deciding which path to take … NOT ABILITIES
A choice to work hard! … Help students to make the right choice, to listen, to work, to study, to have the self-discipline to take responsibility for their education.  …
Teachers … servers for deep learning – a compute-intensive form of machine learning that uses neural networks and large data sets to train computers for complex tasks
… how about students who can be their tutors.

WeTeachCS Summit 2018

21st Century Computing: Refreshing the ISTE Standards for Computer Science Educators  June 19, 2018 WeTeachCS Summit Giving you a voice in CSEd Research

Building dreams –  Tuesday is the 10 Millionth patent.
Best book ever, “Laser – The inventor, and the 30 year Patent War”


K12CS.org Framework – What PD is needed for you to take action?

No one yet has written out a full, coherent K–12 curriculum built around a foundational framework. The K–12 CS Framework and the CSTA standards have laid out concepts, practices, and performance expectations but how do these things get manifested in curriculum and activities and experiences in K–12? That is a huge problem in computer science right now that directly affects implementation. (Yongpradit, 2017) – page 16 CSEd Google Report.

Education is always instantiated by teachers, so attention to pedagogy, teacher support, and the complex dynamics of adopting new curricula is crucial… Teachers are the linchpin in any effort to implement and change CSEd and so the preparation, effective development, and retention of CSEd teachers need to be prioritized… programs must also provide teachers with time to learn and practice inclusive CS pedagogies.


Ideas from the Pre-college CS Education Google Report:

  1. Decide on the kind of preparation and development teachers receive
  2. Ensure teachers are prepared and supported
  3. Develop integrated systems of teacher certification, training programs, and professional incentives
  4. Provide high-quality teacher preparation and induction models focused on inclusive CS pedagogical content knowledge
  5. To truly support implementation of CSEd, the preparation, effective development, and retention of CSEd teachers will need to be prioritized.
  6. It is not enough to expose teachers to CS content. Teachers need time to practice inclusive CS and these pedagogies should be interwoven into the entire teacher preparation
  7.  CSEd should be a stable, academically valued, and well-funded enterprise. As Guzdial (2017) pointed out, the number of CSEd graduate students in the U.S. is very small (previously estimated around 20).  What about YOU being #21? … the content of CS itself changes more frequently than that of other disciplines. A more productive path would be to bring together educators and researchers with diverse perspectives to create a paradigm that reflects the uniqueness of CSEd and supports a long-term research program.

Given the scope and complexity of demands placed on them, interdisciplinary and inter-sector partnerships between public schools, universities, researchers, and industry will play a pivotal role in meeting the aforementioned objective.  I sure hope the teachers are a major player in this partnership.
… as our world becomes more technological and digital, and equitable participation requires CS fluency. This makes CSEd necessary in K–8 not just as an elective subject, but as a mandatory topic. There is no question anymore about the importance of CSEd, its place and need in public education, but there are differing opinions on why and how it should be done. Among the most prominent rationales for increasing access to CSEd is that it can serve as a foundational literacy upon which other knowledge/activities can be built, and as a powerful context for profound, authentic, and interdisciplinary learning in other subjects. CSEd can serve as an expressive, creative medium to allow young learners to express ideas in ways that are socially and culturally relevant, and also a valuable tool for civic and political participation.

Rationales for CSEd:
  1. The labor market rationale – data science and artificial intelligence becoming mainstream fields relevant across many industries
  2. The computational thinking rationale – ability to use abstractions and pattern recognition to represent problems in new ways, to break down problems into smaller parts, and to employ algorithmic thinking.
  3. The computational literacy rationale – makes it possible for people to express themselves in new ways, and changes how people accomplish cognitive tasks. Achieving computational literacy means that people can read and write with computation, which includes an ability to read and write computer programs.
  4. The equity of participation rationale – Students excluded from CSEd may struggle to fully participate in 21st century society along multiple dimensions. Not only will the best and most creative jobs require CS knowledge, but our cognitive capabilities to solve problems will be limited by our inability to utilize computation fully. Students who do not fully understand these issues risk being more easily manipulated as consumers, voters, and citizens, and more vulnerable to cybercrime. They also are less likely to have access to leadership positions and high-status jobs, and are more likely to be on the sidelines of future societal change.
Making these four rationales explicit is important because they drive the way we write curricula, train teachers, and implement CSEd in schools. Awareness about these different viewpoints—and the ways they are similar, dissimilar, complementary, and compatible—must be addressed (e.g., Buechley, 2017; Resnick, 2017).

There are very few subjects in which students feel like they can make a change in the world and they can express their independent selves. I think their ability to make their own games, make their own art, make them in ways that are shareable with code, is really powerful. [Instead of giving students the right answer] it is better to create safe spaces to fail, to play, to tinker…This is where you get the bang for the buck. That’s where the learning happens. Another truism of education is that things are driven by the ways that they are assessed. If you assess people for knowing this or that keyword, then that’s what you’re going to get and that’s not particularly valuable, but if you assess people on their ability to teach each other complex concepts, that’s what you’re going to get. (Berland, 2017) …. Example – UK Project Quantum

Curiosity Discovers …

What did Curiosity discover on Mars?

I attended the Financial Mentors of America Educator Summit because I was curious about how they implement their curriculum.  I discovered that their focus is creating questions that learners discover the answers to. Those learners are given a card with a team and role when they enter class. Since the answer to what Curiosity discovered can easily be found on Internet, the teacher does not need to provide the answer.  The teacher needs to plant the focus and questions.  In Real Life Financial Math (RLFM) videos are embedded in the lessons to drive the curiosity. Conversation follows in teams to build learning.  This should be the model in all classrooms.

That is the flip that needs to happen in all schools. Students, I call on you to time how long your teachers talk.  And how much time is spent on testing and completing individual worksheets.  Determine the percent at the end of the week on time you spent collaborating with other students.  Then look at each subject and see if you learned more, discovered new interests, and had more fun in interactive classrooms.

In RLPF Unit 2.4 Explore – Beyond Survival students discussed the difference between wants and needs. At the end of this I moved from “I want my grandson to be able to take he Game of Real Life at MHS” to “I need my grandson to take RLPF at MHS.”  He is embarking on a 2 week trip to Spain inspired by his Spanish teacher in a class his mother made him take to get ahead in high school.  Go figure, spending 2 weeks taking immersion classes in Spain, when I thought his only passions were basketball and video games. I wonder what other pathways he might go down by discovering new things he might be curious about in RLPF.

Embedded in RLPF Unit 1-1 Enrich.

What do you think?

Curiosity 2011
I am curious about what Richardo is doing today.
My last post from my classroom at Piney Point ES.