About knorth

Karen North is a 28-year computer science, math, technology systems and business teacher. She is an officer with ISTE SIGCT and is on the CSTA Committee working on K-8 Model Curriculum. She is currently a Technology Specialist at an elementary school in Houston ISD, allowing her the opportunity to put into practice her CS research on the K-5 level. Ms. North began her advocacy for computing in the 1980s programming BASIC, Logo and the T.I. Calculator in math courses. She also sponsors the recycling club at her school and is chair of the education committee for Keep Houston Beautiful.

Blowing the Bloody Door Off

And Why I got a puppy …  A New Year …


CBS Sunday Morning January 6, 2019:

    1. Just ordered “Blowing the Bloody Doors Off: And Other Lessons in Life” by Michael Caine after watching his story on my favorite show.  Needed another Audible book as spending lots of time outside training my puppy.  Just finished George Washington Black and was ready for my next lessons in life.
    2. We seek control of our own destiny … an over achiever .. technology that will help visually impaired.  Prove mobility can be mastered.  How did he do it? Studying for masters in computer science to develop more technology that can brighten the world.
    3. So, why did I get a puppy?  Teaching is in my blood like art was in Van Gogh’s blood.

Teaching because “This is Me” …  this is dedicated to an amazing computer science teacher Lewis F. who said “The more I hear this song – the more I think it applies to teachers just as well as it fit the movie -This is from The Greatest Showman (a must see if you have not seen it). – And my son a teacher who takes me to Covent Gardens when I visit him in London. And to all teachers who quest to be the greatest showman.

... When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

… When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

… I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I’m gonna send a flood
Gonna drown them out
This is me

Hour of Code

Houston ISD’s Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy students and amazing teacher Astra Zeno at Computer Science Education Week Event hosted by AT&T HACEMOS Peggy Lundsford and NCWIT Technolochias Jannie Fernanez .

Mayor of the City of Houston Proclamation
Computer Science Education Week 2018

WHEREAS, in a world increasingly dependent on technology, computer science knowledge and skills are crucial to every student’s education. Only two percent of Texas high school graduates have taken a computer science course, only 24 percent were female which consisted of only 987 being Hispanic and only 180 were African American; and,

WHEREAS, each year, Computer Science Education Week is celebrated during the month of December in observance of Grace Murray Hopper, a major female contributor to computer science, and to call attention to the need for improving and strengthening computer science education; and,

WHEREAS, during the week of December 3-7, 2018, the National Center for Women and Information Technology, TECHNOLOchicas, AT&T, HACEMOS, and the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy will celebrate Computer Science Education Week by supporting an hour of code to educate students about computer science for one hour; and,

WHEREAS, the City of Houston is a strong supporter of STEM initiatives and commends Computer Science for Texas (CS4TX), and supporting organizations and businesses for its leadership in STEM Education and extends best wishes for a memorable observance.

THEREFORE, I Sylvester Turner, Mayor of the City of Houston,
hereby proclaim December 3-7, 2018, as
in Houston, Texas.

George and TedE make me do it. I know this is crazy, but as I sit in my den after watching the funeral typing this proclamation and reviewing NCWIT Aspirations.org applications, I feel the spirit of George H.W. Bush. He stood in this very room when he was first running for political office talking to a group from the League of Women Voters of the Houston Area. I remember my mother saying, “He will be President of the United States one day.” What a leader and role model for our young learners. What a life of giving. May CAVU and the best ships friendships always grow.

HACEMOS -TedE was given a pin today. We DoPapert proposed that education must make room for the iterative development and improvement of ideas. That is what CSEdWeek is about. Making room in the school day to play with computational thinking. Thank you AT&T for sharing what you do so we can do.


Dance Party at Hunter’s Creek where my grandson attends … http://knorth.edublogs.org/learn/dance-party-hce/ #GASS





Happiness is …

Helping things Grow …

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.

Bugs Make me Happy.


My books that grow ideas:


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.

I hope in the TEA Listening Tour the focus is on computer science as 60%+ STEM jobs are in CS and every student needs to learn the basics.  Communication is the key to make sure the majority of talkers are teachers.


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.