Innovative TIME

One day at a time- this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering. – Ida Scott Taylor.

What innovative things do you remember from this summer?

At Spring Branch ISD’s Memorial High School creators at the Design Thinking Camp designed:

Think Tank of Designers


ISTE 2017


Sharing at:

Other presentations:



STEAM into “Computer Science for All” by coding in the arts. Lessons to create Mondrian art, digital flowers, snowflakes and a Bee-Bot line dance. Learn about art coding modules developed in technology classes, which lead to The College Board publishing “Supporting Girls in CS by Programming with Graphics” in 2002. Today with many apps using block programming it makes coding graphics so much easier. Please share your ideas to help close the Equity Gap in Computer Science through exposure to coding fun art projects that build computational thinking skills. We must prepare mindset of every child to communicate with computing devices as 50% of jobs are predicted to be automated by 2032.

  1. Warmup – Binary Bracelets
  2. Programming with graphics modules and video
  3. Mondrian Art
  4. Virtual and cut snowflakes, puzzles
  5. Digital Flower and CS in the Garden
  6. Pro-Bot ART and Bee-Bot Line Dance

  Mondrian Art

Coding Mondrian Art Examples




Details Lessons on the Bee-Bot in the ISTE Book No Fear Code

Pair ProgrammingConnectingNo Fear Coding


How do you plan to connect the dots?


As I sit here watching my 14 month old grand-daughter explore on her own terms, and read “Soaring into the Future” in the TCEA TechEdge, I wonder why schools are taking so long to make the paradigm shift.  The shift to focusing on teamwork, communication, collaboration and adaptability that the article explains is so essential.  The conclusion by providing opportunities for students to build and practice these skills, we prepare them to soar like an eagle when it’s time to leave the nest.  I know that Coding in The Arts is a tool that can help students soar. Next chapter, telling the story with you … as Together is Better.”

Coding in the Arts


The arts can transcend trauma, color, education. National Endowment Arts leaders say the NEA budget is not extracurricular or extraneous. It is essential. Job creation is a prime goal of presidential leaders. Building 21st century job skills is essential for our future economy. 50% of jobs are predicated to be automated by 2032, kids must learn to control computing devices. Technology is about solving problems with limited resources. With limited funding and time, combining computer science skills and art education can save both time and money. It is essential that teachers learn these skills for our children. “Coding in the Arts” will plant the seeds for the 21st century mindset.

From – See slides on Why

As an educator my goal is to give students the opportunity to explore, experiment and create. The motivation often comes from working with friends to observe what our students like: to code, garden, cook, play sports, build robots… We must give students innovation time with resources so they can discover what they love. And collaborative time to Re-Mix, Re-Design, and Re-Learn.



  1. Mondrian Art – from Legos to Racket
  2. Snowflakes – Fold and Code
  3. Cubes
  4. Gardening –Digital Flower
  5. Binary Code – Jewelry Design
  6. Dance – Robots and Drones
  7. Music –
  8. Generative Art –
  9. Pro-Bot – A floor robot that draws


  • Design Recipe
  • Walk the Line
  • Thinking in a box – or outside
  • Circle Art – connections
  • Sharing Art by coding in HTML –What brings color to webpages?
  • Clubs – Google CS First Art, Animation, Fashion, Music & Sound, Game Design
  • Coded Art Competition – Perhaps ISTE CTN could sponsor along with and others who support the arts. I presented at their conference and they are a great group to work with.


  1. Would you like to see the code that draws a 5 pointed star of variable size?
  2. What questions do you have about coding in the arts?
  3. Could I do my circle art in code? Line art?
  4. Can you code it, without first creating an example by hand?
  5. Can you add coding art to your maker space?
  6. How do you find “Hidden Figures” in every classroom?
  7. How do teachers as leaders of the class inspire action?


Together is Better

We all need Inspiration!

And better in the great outdoors partnering with nature.  See CECHouston for ideas on what to do this summer.

Vertical farming at New Lab innovating and creating products such as industrial athletic packs to prevent injuries. See the ideas on CBS Sunday Morning. Building a network of innovation to stimulate learning to do good. Together in one space.

In August 2016 it became compulsory for every Finnish school to teach in a more collaborative way; to allow students to choose a topic relevant to them and base subjects around it. Making innovative use of technology and sources outside the school, such as experts and museums, is a key part of it. – Could subjects be a thing of the past? Should standards based education and Carnegie begin to be replaced with innovative time? As Together is Better!!

Memorial Day

Spring Branch ISD Hunters Creek Elementary School Passion Project

Before the Memorial Day weekend, Hunters Creek has planned an event to honor and learn more about the memorials and the people that they commemorate.

These lost teachers and students have touched the lives of so many current and past HCE staff, students, and families.  The HCE Leadership Council, Mrs. Cummings and Mrs. Chvatal have planned a wonderful week of memories that will educate our current students and staff about the lives of these special, missed Cougars. We want all students and faculty to understand what each HCE memorial represents and why these people are so special to HCE.  We will end this sharing of memories with a special ceremony on May 25.

They will honor the following people and their memorials on HCE campus: Robin Woods, HCE teacher; Kelly Sewell, HCE teacher; Nancy Ray, HCE teacher; Alana Harris Greenshaw, HCE student; Sam Schubert, HCE student; and Nicole Lee, HCE student

They will also have a dedication ceremony for a garden that was started and maintained as a source of education by a retired teacher, Mrs. Jeanette Domaschk.  After 43 years of teaching at HCE, she still loves to return to campus to work in the garden when she gets the chance. We will be honoring her service and commitment to HCE that evening as well.

To get ready for that event we had volunteers from AAUW-WHC Garden Divas, Keep Houston Beautiful, Merrill Lynch and RZ Landscaping, as well as HCE teachers and parents. The HCE Garden Club students and sponsors Mrs. Cummings, Mrs. Beinhauer, and Mrs. Thompson planted vegetables and flowers, but the weeds needed to be pulled. Also, the pathways need to be cleaned of weeds and re-paved with decomposed granite.  Thank you to all who gave their time. And to the Kerver Education Foundation who provided the funding along with parents and teacher donations.

Maintained Garden as seen from Google Earth


There are 7 garden areas with pathways in-between.




To get ready for that event we had volunteers from AAUW-WHC Garden Divas, Keep Houston Beautiful, Merrill Lynch and RZ Landscaping, as well as HCE teachers and parents. The HCE Garden Club students and sponsors planted vegetables and flowers, but the weeds needed to be pulled. Also, the pathways need to be cleaned of weeds and re-paved with decomposed granite. Thank you to the 16 volunteers who helped:

  • Project Planning was assisted by my daughter Amy Polidori, who helped numerous days with weeding, volunteer recruitment and donations.  She arranged for my grandson teacher to water the flowers every day. Thank you Kade.  And thank you to my husband Max for numerous trips bringing mulch and tools to HCE.
  • AAUW Garden Divas Pat Farnell and El Divo Mike Farnell helping with weeding and edging pathways.
  • AAUW Garden Diva Loretta Coussirat Pruning and cleaning the hedges.
  • My Landscaper Rene owner of RZ Landscaping & Home Improvement stepped up to help when I was short with helpers. His son, a junior at Yes Prep earned community service points. He was the project manager for two workers and supplied wheelbarrows, roller for the decomposed granite and pruners.  The equipment of professionals made the job much faster and easier.
  • My Financial Planner Stephen Salter whose has been interested in my computational thinking in the garden said he would love to help with this school garden.
  • Garden Club Sponsor Linda Beinhauer and her fiance Andrew. Also assisting with flower planting was HCE Counselor Andrea Chvatal.
  • Parents Marty Collins and Forrest Green
  • Fellow Keep Houston Beautiful commissioner and HCE Dad’s Club president helping on 5/20 with his 3 children.

Design Thinking

The question of whether computers can think is like
the question of whether submarines can swim.

~Edsger W. Dijkstra

I went to 3 robotics competitions / challenges recently:  FIRST Robotics Competition where a Houston area team won, the Ecobot Challenge  and the Bot-Ball Competition in Spring Branch ISD. I met many inspiring teachers volunteering their time to build 21st century skills for our children.

I asked the students what design thinking process did they use in building and coding their robots.  Can your student explain the process they used to solve a problem?  Or are they using Guess and Check experimenting.  The design recipe, the process in solving the problem must be communicated. That is what I am trying to teach. That process must be developed started in elementary school.  How can potential energy be built like Tyrone did in the winning car design from the EcoBot challenge?

My question is whether schools will provide innovative time for student to build computational and design thinking skills. Whether this is in robotics, coding in the arts, or gardening, students must be given the opportunity to build design thinking skills.

An example of an amazing educator doing this is at Memorial High School.“Everyone is an engineer just like everyone is an artist,” said Van Zeelst. … We just need to give students the opportunity to build their inner STEAM”. … We need to build our instruction around our students: Spring Branch ISD Superintendent Dr. Muri won an innovate award on behalf of the district. This MHS librarian is one example of what innovators can do. I can’t wait to see design thinking happening in every classroom.


Houston Area STEM Conference

University of Houston Clear Lake

– Decomposition – Abstraction – Pattern Recognition – Algorithms – … Expressing an approach that a computer (human, machine or both) can use to achieve a solution.



  1. Binary Bracelets Warm-up
  2. Why? Inspiration – Fish in a Tank Video
  3. Dancing with the Bees Line Dance Video – Move forward 3 steps, turn right, turn left, turn left, turn right, move back 3 steps.  Repeat 3 times.
  4. Bee-Bot Activities: Play, Control, Movement, Challenge – Program your Bee-Bot to do the same line dance you just did.
  5. Unplugged Lessons: Plant-a-seed
  6. Plugged: Code a Flower
  7. Time? – Feedback Q&A
  8. Computational Thinking – Circle Connections

Bee-Bot Activities Using Design Model Document


Texas STEM Conference

CS for All through and

Bee-Bots Dancing to bring “Computer Science For All” to young learners

Texas STEM ConferenceDallas January 2017
Bee-Bot Presentation Slides and Handouts

Psyche Mission – Finding Hidden Figures … Exploring Spatial Skills

Practice math skills by coding a floor robot with 4 simple commands. Building Connections & Understanding + Real-world Application is a mathematics practice to prepare students to use patterns and relationships. Bee-Bots can help build those connections! Come Dance with the Bees and see how you can use these and other unplugged activities to build computational thinking skills in the lower grades.

People often ask me if I know the secret of success and if I could tell others how to make their dreams come true. My answer is, you do it by working. I suppose my formula might be: dream, diversity – and never miss an angle. – Walt Disney “The Quotable … it was all started by a mouse.”

Activities on codemathTEKS to give you 90 degrees angles to build diversity and dreams in your classroom.

Fish in a Tank Video by Young Verse
– If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree …

Bee-Bots Dancing to Bring CS For All

Music – Art – Dancing Lessons

  1. Dancing with the Bees 2007
  2. Robotic Spelling BeeI Love CS Fun.
  3. Bees Need Flowers – Plant a Seed Unplugged
  4. Unplugged Happy Mats and Move IT, Move IT
  5. Plugged Bee Sequence
  6. Free Bee-Bot App on I-Tunes
  7. Lot of ideas on the Turtle Talk Logo Newsletter
  8. Learn More: Spring Branch ISD Bee-Bots PD

 Bee-Bot Activities Using Design Model

Part of doing good research is sharing what you have learned with other scientists. That is how science progressesIt was two lovable Hollywood stars (R2D2 and C3PO) that served as enduring and endearing AI inspirations for Cindy. It was HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey that inspired her mentor, Rodney Brooks, to study artificial intelligence (AI). “Robo World – the story of robot Designer Cynthia Breazeal by Jordan D. Brown 2005

It is YOU who can inspire the next Designer.

Decompose Time – Kids need baby steps!
Give time for Brain Breaks – Go Noodle

WTCS PD Overview


MLK Day and Hidden Figures

Freedom is earned through education. You are a slave to your own ignorance. Computer Science education is a path to freedom, and it is free. We must build on where we agree, and stop tearing down those we don’t agree with. Instead of saying red or blue is better, lets make purple.

In “Hidden Figures” the computers did not destroy their community, they found solutions while following the unfair rules. They did not ask others for help, they were proactive leaders. They taught themselves to program the new IBM computer at NASA, as they knew their jobs were coming to an end.

When the rules were changed to prevent a colored from being an engineer, a computer went to court and legally had a waiver passed so she could get her advanced degree.

When the rules of using a colored restroom caused a loss of work time, the boss knocked down the sign and said from now on there will be no separation. What a powerful message to honor the memory of MLK.

We all need to find those “Hidden Figures” in our community, and introduce them to coding, as it is a way out of poverty.  Please join and be a Code Buddy so we can bring CS For All to every community.  Please build the aspirations of young women in computing.  NCWIT is making a scene and you can be part.

Hidden Figures” brings to light the stories of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson — three Black women mathematicians who charted the course that launched Astronaut John Glenn into orbit during the Space Race in the 1950s. Gee, 2017 and we have not yet achieved equity in computing even after decades of advocating. In 2015, only three percent of the computing workforce were Black women. But, with inspiration and change-leading work, we can narrow the gap for women in tech by building a community of divergent thinkers and change agents.

A computer is not just a machine, it is also a person who computes.  I too was learning FORTRAN back in the 1960’s and remember the keypunch cards and perseverance it took to be successful. That is the message we need to give our children.  Spend your time learning.

People often ask me if I know the secret of success and if I could tell others how to make their dreams come true. My answer is, you do it by working. I suppose my formula might be: dream, diversity – and never miss an angle. – Walt Disney “The Quotable … it was all started by a mouse.”

Adding this after all the women’s marches across the world. For those sending a positive message, thank you. But for the many who were negative role models I would not want my grand-daughter to see, I ask please stop it.  Please march into a classroom, a school, and make sure all girls have an equal opportunity to learn the 21st academic skills found in computer science.  Build the mindset for computational thinking leadership.

The Houston Chronicle published an editorial about “Hidden Figures” where I shared the need for volunteers.  Teachers need help to build the minds for our future.