15 09 2014

Computer Science For Elementary School

“The real challenge today is not to make new and improved tools but to make new and improved classrooms that can incorporate such tools.”
Connected Code – Why Children Need to Learn Programming
–by Kafai and Burke

Are you up for the challenge of improving your classroom with FREE Coding Tools?

If YES, be the innovator by signing up for free PD at Houston Code Camps for Teachers:

Code Camp

27 07 2014

Created by a SBISD student.

Created by a SBISD student.

TEXAS LAWStudents in a Texas high schools are to be given the opportunity to take two computer science courses.

FEDERAL LAW … Passed House and now in Senate an act To define STEM education to include computer science

CREATE THE INTEREST by sponsoring CODE CAMPS during and after school. Spring Branch ISD hosted their first camp in July.

THE CS MINDSET was started in SBISD by providing professional development for 26 elementary school teachers and giving each school a 6-pack of Bee-Bots to integrate computational thinking into their daily lessons.

CODE CAMP FOR TEACHERS is now available in Houston. Our first Code Camp will be Oct. 25th at Houston Community College Hayes Road Campus. Join the CODE.ORG family as we build the CS mindset with free training and resources. Sign up your school today so you can be first in line for the Power of Coding.

Please use computers for creativity!!

Connect the Dots

1 06 2014


I am just a dot trying to make connections. After 30 years of teaching I know without a doubt that we cannot do it alone. The only solution in this educational reform quest is to provide TIME for teachers and students to connect the dots.




Algorithm that Change

24 03 2014

How can you change brains to build the future?

The Ingenious Ideas that Drive Today’s Computers
- John MacCormick

“Is this Right?” – my 92 year old mother asks
“What do you think?” – my answer each day as she gets dressed

Are we helping children too much in the classroom? Are we so focused on the grade that it prevents thinking and creativity because they fear getting something wrong? My mother loves reading comics, so showed me this one. It reminded me of what my 4-year old grandson said when we looked at a sad plant and we talked about where it might be happy. I asked him where he was happy. He said in the garden. I asked where he was unhappy. He said where he gets in trouble. Algorithms are rules, and are needed to control computers. But kids are not robots and need an environment where they can mix paint and numbers, and learn about cryptography, Algorithm #3 in the book above.

Family Circus 3-24-14

Family Circus 3-24-14

Expanding Your Horizons

24 02 2014

The AAUW-WHC EYH Experience:

The current focus in accountability testing is on the 4 academic areas of math, science, English and Social Studies, which leaves out computing, engineering, creative design and algorithmic thinking.

The current focus in accountability testing is on the 4 academic areas of math, science, English and Social Studies, which leaves out computing, engineering, creative design and algorithmic thinking.

Coding Equity

30 01 2014

In the beginning, communicating your ideas in your own words to convince yourself is valuable. However, to convince others and reveal your thought processes, making your arguments more formal is beneficial.

University of Texas Linear Algebra w/ Computer Science MOOC Quote

Why Toy Startup GoldieBlox’s Historic $4 Million Super Bowl Ad Win Matters

- Claire O’Conner Forbes Staff

How do I make the argument for the need for computer science education equity clearer? Been saying this for decades …


5 01 2014

Dream, dream, dreeeammm – Who was inspired by the Everly Brothers? In the 50s two kids from Liverpool practiced being Everly Brothers imitators. Music, the soul of inspiration, the beginning of dreams. Do teachers have time to sing?

She cried because teaching was no longer fun.
She cried because she wanted more time to sing to her students.
June 9, 2011 Retirement Editorial

Teachers have the power to inspire imagination. As Einstein said, “Logic will get your from A to B, Imagination will get your everywhere.” I dream of eliminating A,B … C, D and F – Failure, to provide time for building the growth mindset. If I could connect with my former students, another dream, they might remember our motto poster that I hung in my classroom for decades,”sometimes we do things wrong, so we can tell the difference when we do things right” or my “Book of Errors” used to debug computer programs. “Back to the Future” – 2015 is almost here. At the 1999 AACE M/SET Conference I presented on using programming to teach math using that theme and am still advocating for computer science education. Now with and even the President on the band wagon, maybe I can at least inspire teachers locally to integrate coding Bee-Bots into their K-2 curriculum.

Michael Dell, Graduate of Spring Branch Memorial High School, founded the Dell Computer Corporation in 1984 with nothing more than $1,000 and an idea. The corporation was founded on the idea of “bypassing the middleman” to sell custom-built PCs directly to consumers. After graduating from Spring Branch Memorial High School, Dell attended The University of Texas at Austin, where he began selling computers from his dorm room. Another dream I have is to bypass the middleman in education, the school system, and connect learners and teachers directly. Maybe another SBISD student, teacher, parent or community member can make that happen. Maybe CS Education will continue beyond just one week and grow in 2014. Will you continue coding –

Computer Science Education Week

8 12 2013

The American Association of University Women – West Harris County Branch members working on community outreach are celebrating Computer Science Education Week. According to AAUW’s Why So Few research report, women remain severely underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. We are supporting K-2 teachers as Community Coding Mentors. PLease join us.

So, what are you doing?

Coded Graphic WHS 2004

Coded Graphic WHS 2004

Believe in Tomorrow

18 10 2013

To Plant a Garden is to Believe in the Future – Audrey Hepburn
She had a passion and made it grow.

Basketball Passion in the Garden

Basketball Passion in the Garden

How do I build a passion for gardening in my grandson?
Build a basketball garden
How do I build a passion again for science?
Make gardening a priority over testing in schools …

BeeBot How do I bring Busy Bees into the Classroom?
With Bee-Bot Coding and Computer Science Education in the Garden.

SBOE Testimony – Discrete Math

18 09 2013

WEDNESDAY September 18, 2013

(A) Committee of the Full Board – Office of the State Board of Education, (512) 463-9007, FAX: (512) 936-4319;

6. Proposed Repeal of 19 TAC Chapter 126, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Technology Applications, Subchapter C, High School, §126.37, Discrete Mathematics (One-Half to One Credit), Beginning with School Year 2012-2013

This item presents for second reading and final adoption the proposed repeal of 19 TAC Chapter 126, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Technology Applications, Subchapter C, High School, §126.37, Discrete Mathematics (One-Half to One Credit), Beginning with School Year 2012-2013, in order to remove the technology applications discrete mathematics course to correspond with the proposed adoption of a new discrete mathematics course in 19 TAC Chapter 111, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Mathematics.

Thank You SBOE for voting against this. And, thank you to my SBOE representative Donna Bahorich for taking the lead to change the name to Discrete Math for Computer Science.

Question and why EVERY Educator needs to question laws that impact their teaching:
Who and why proposed eliminating the TA Discrete Math course in the first place? HB 5 requires TEA and SBOE to approve 6 CTE or TA courses to have a 4th year math credit. They only have 4. They approved the TA Robotics course for a math credit and changed our TEKS, which I did not agree with.

My Successful Testimony:

Hi, I am Karen North and have spoken before this board in the past to include computational thinking and programming in math and elementary school curriculum. I thank you again for the opportunity to address the board.

I respectfully request your consideration to
(1) Sustain inclusion of the Technology Applications version of Discrete Mathematics.
(2) Designate it as a fourth year mathematics credit.
(3) Change the name to Discrete Math for Computer Science to distinguish it from the proposed mathematics version.

I had the privilege of serving on the TEKS writing team for the computer science courses. One of our goals was to provide students with a series of courses to prepare them for computer science at the university level. We know that statistics is a crucial mathematics for the social sciences and calculus is crucial for engineering. Discrete mathematics is the mathematics for technology, specifically computer science. In developing career paths it is appropriate for students entering a technology profession to receive secondary mathematics credit.

At the SBOE meeting today, Representative Patrick said, “What do we really need to teach in the TEKS?” In Discrete Math it is to see computational problems from a mathematical perspective. That is what the computer science version of Discrete Math does.

The article, Why Discrete Math Is Important, explains that because it does not figure prominently on “high-stakes” exams, nor on college admission exams it is often overlooked. Yet, Discrete Math has become increasingly important in recent years. Students who learn a significant quantity of discrete math before entering college are at an advantage when taking undergraduate-level math courses. University of Texas Discrete Math Instructor Dr. Myer believes the Technology Application Discrete Math is a great course for future CS majors. Discrete Math for Computer science is part of their core courses.

  • The mathematics of modern computer science is built on discrete math.
  • It allows students to very quickly explore “real world” problems that are challenging and interesting.

The Technology Application Discrete math course gives our Texas students the opportunity to study this increasingly important area of math and at the same time apply computer science concepts.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that by 2018, computing occupations in the United States will grow by 21%, or about 800,000 new jobs, which is more than double the growth rate of all occupations in the United States. It is predicted that by 2018, over 71% of the STEM related jobs will be related to computing. However, according to the Texas Department of Labor, only 31% of the job openings in Texas that require computer science degrees can be filled.

With less than 2% of all Texas high school students taking a computer science course for each of the last four years, every effort should be made to enable Texas students to pursue a course of study in computer science. The topics covered in the technology applications version of discrete mathematics provides students with a good understanding of the mathematics that computer scientists use within their work and thus should be included in the curricular offerings for both technology applications and in mathematics.

Thank you for considering this request. I appreciate all you do on behalf of the teachers and students of Texas!