Welcome to my classroom!
Words of the Week
Every School Should Teach Computer Science
the study of the principles and use of computers
Meet Your Teacher
Computer Literacy and Technology with Mr. Gross
Welcome to my Technology Classroom Webpage! Please check out my posts displaying all of the interactive and engaging learning activities done in Computer Literacy and Technology class!
I hope you enjoy learning about all of the awesome lessons I teach to the amazing PreK-8th Grade students of St. Mary School. Teaching is truly a passion of mine and I am very blessed to be part of the St. Mary School community.
Odd Squad + LEGO = Epic Math Lessons
At the beginning of most classes for the first graders, while the computers are being prepped, I play on the main screen video segments from the PBS show called, “Odd Squad“. It is a fun, educational show that combines fantastical ‘odd’ scenarios that can only be solved using Math. In one of the most recent episodes, “The Curious Case of Pirate-itis“, Otto and Oscar journey to various Odd Squad offices to collect parts for a gadget that will stop Agent Olive from turning into a pirate.
This particular dilemma could only be solved using geometry, identifying three-dimensional shapes and comparing them to two-dimensional shapes, in which they used this concept of Math to build a “pirate-ray” to help save an Odd Squad member from permanently becoming a pirate. The plot sounds completely silly, and it is, however, Math is at the core of it, which is awesome! With all of this in mind, I took this aspect from the episode and combined it with LEGO Build with Chrome resulting with the first graders learning and practicing their skills of creating/manipulating 3-dimensional blocks. It was quite an epic lesson, matey! Arrrrrgggghhhhhh! 🙂
“May the Fourth Be With You!” & “Revenge of the Fifth!”
As a special treat for Star Wars Week, enjoy these fun, friendly Star Wars activities to celebrate the epic film saga! No matter what age you are, I can personally guarantee that you will enjoy these games and activities! 🙂
WHY IS MAY THE 4TH CALLED STAR WARS DAY? //
Say “May the 4th Be With You” out loud and you’ll hear the pun that Star Wars fans worldwide have turned into a rallying cry to proclaim their love of the saga. It’s the worldwide day to say “May the Force be with you” to all, and celebrate the beloved Star Wars story that binds our galaxy together.
One of the earliest known records of “May the 4th” used in popular culture is in 1979, as described here by author Alan Arnold while he was chronicling the making of The Empire Strikes Back for Lucasfilm:
Friday, May 4
“Margaret Thatcher has won the election and become Britain’s first woman prime minister. To celebrate their victory her party took a half page of advertising space in the London Evening News. This message, referring to the day of victory, was ‘May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations,’ further proof of the extent to which Star Wars has influenced us all.”
Once the Internet allowed Star Wars fans around the world to connect with one another, May the 4th soon became a grassroots tradition each year, with fans online and offline proclaiming it “Star Wars Day.”
While the idea of May the 4th did not start with Lucasfilm, the film company that created Star Wars has fully embraced the spirit of fandom that makes the day so special. StarWars.com as well as the official Star Wars social media channels (hashtag #StarWarsDay) help spread the word and showcase fan activity. More and more official partners have offered sales, giveaways and exclusives, and have hosted parties and other activities to mark the day.
May the 4th kicks off a season of celebration, particularly since the month of May has always been important to Star Warsfans. The six live-action movies of the Star Wars saga debuted in May (starting with the original Star Wars on May 25, 1977). The month of May includes George Lucas’ birthday (May 14, 1944), and has been the traditional start date of the popular Star Wars Weekends at Walt Disney World Resort.
With the exciting launch of a new trilogy of movies beginning with Star Wars: The Force Awakens coming in the near future, this day to celebrate the saga and its amazing fans is certain to become even bigger each year.
Practice Awesome Coding with the Disney Infinity Play Lab & Big Hero 6!!
Start programming your own video games with Disney Infinity’s Play Lab. PopCap Games founder John Vechey introduces the basics of video game design and how to use the Play Lab interface.
Enjoy and Have Fun!
1st Grade and Kindergarten Coding?!?!? Yes, indeed!
It may seem hard to believe but Kindergarten and 1st Grade students at St. Mary School are indeed starting the basics of programming thanks to the incredibly interactive resource known as, “Kodable.”
So What’s Up With Kodable??
Preparing kids for their future in the digital world is easy with good resources. Kodable is designed to provide everything you need to teach the fundamentals of programming. Kodable makes learning to code fun for students. They must drag and drop commands to program their fuzzy character to get through a maze. By doing this, they learn problem solving, computational thinking, sequence, conditions, loops, functions and debugging. These are skill necessary for learning any programming language.
Play the browser-based version: game.kodable.com
Kodable’s fuzziest family has crash landed on the planet Smeeborg and they need your help navigating the Technomazes!
Programming FUNdamentals for kids 5+, Download the Free iPad game: itun.es/us/RDPBI.i
Learn more about teaching your kids the fundamentals of programming: http://surfscore.com
I’m sure you are thinking that I had a typo above and meant to spell SPARK, but I am indeed referring to SPRK which is an acronym for “Schools, Parents, Robots, Kids.” So what is SPRK? SPRK is the education program associated with Sphero, a little robotic orb that many of the St. Mary School students have already begun learning about. As of now, I have acquired one unit for the classroom and I’m very hopeful we can obtain more for the school in the near future. Sphero is more than just a toy controlled by apps…it is an introduction to robotics and programming. Sure, there are the apps for Sphero that are purely game-based, but check out OrbBasics and MacroLabs and you will see exactly what I mean about Sphero being used as an extremely beneficial learning tool….a device that makes learning about programming and robotics even more exciting and engaging. For the time-being, students will peer-program in small groups a series of introductory lessons developed by Orbotix. To learn more about the SPRK education program, please check out the resources and video below. Find out even more at http://www.gosphero.com/education/
Play is a powerful teacher
We create connected toys – but that’s not all. By fusing technology with robotics, our toys are teaching and inspiring tomorrow’s inventors and innovators. Programming isn’t easy, but you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to give kids a strong foundation. All you need is a Sphero.
Whether you’re an educator, parent, or community organizer, SPRK lessons teach kids concepts in programming, robotics, and math in a fun way. The passionate objective of SPRK is to inspire and teach tomorrow’s inventors and innovators.
“In ten years, if a child points back to Sphero as their inspiration to becoming an engineer, we’ve done our job. You can’t put a price on that.” – Adam Wilson, Orbotix co-founder
We created the SPRK program because we believe play is a powerful teacher. Whether you’re an educator or a parent, SPRK lessons give kids a fun crash course in programming while sharpening their skills in math and science.
Follow Sphero Education on Twitter: https://twitter.com/spheroedu
The Story of the Children who Taught the President to Code
The heartwarming story of 19 kids from a tough neighborhood in Newark, NJ, who were selected out of 70,000 classrooms to go to the White House and learn to code alongside the President of the United States. To learn about the code the president wrote, see http://bit.ly/potuscode.
Happy Halloween, St. Mary Families!
As a Halloween treat for you, I wanted to include some very useful ways to use technology to help keep all your trick-or-treaters safe today (Courtesy of the National CyberSecurity Alliance & NQ Mobile).
I hope all of you have a safe and happy Halloween!
Light up the night
If your kids are trick-or-treating after dark, install a mobile flashlight app that they can use to see what’s around them (and so you can spot them easily).
Create the right mix of scary and safe
Go ahead—let your kids download those spooky Halloween sounds and those cool apps that turn their photos into zombies. Just be sure to teach them not to use these apps to scare little children or terrorize their friends.
Map out your kids’ candy-collecting route
You can scout out the houses with the scariest decorations and create a trick or treating route for your kids. Check your neighborhood’s sex offender list (a quick search on your smartphone will give you this info) and make sure these addresses don’t make the list.
Use a mobile app to track their location
NQ Family Guardian™ shows you where they’re located, allows them to check in when they reach their destinations, and gives them a panic button they can use if they’re in danger. You’ll know their exact location in an instant. Be sure to let your kids know you’re tracking them.
Protect your mobile devices from the zombies
Here’s one for the parents. Nothing’s scarier than a data breach or lost phone and all the digital information it can leave behind. That’s why the most important app you can download this Halloween is a mobile security app (try NQ Mobile Security’s free one). It’ll keep your phone—and everything on it—protected from the bad guys.
NCSA’s Photo Tip
Want to take pics of all the cool costumes? Snap away! Just be sure to get permission before taking and sharing pics of others with your phone.
Login TypingWeb.com and KeyboardingOnline.com to practice typing at home
If you have been given a typingweb.com you can login in with your username & password with the link below:
If you have (and remember) your keyboardingonline.com username & password, you can login with the link below:
Students, remember that the school login AND password for keyboardingonline.com is: herrick
If you forget your login for TypingWeb and/or KeyboardingOnline.com, don’t worry about it. 🙂 Mr. Gross can easily reset your password and you won’t lose any achievements from your account. Just let me know in-person or have your parents/guardians email me directly.
Always remember…No Hunting…No Pecking! 🙂
Practice Typing and Make Keyboarding Fun!
Want to practice keyboarding outside of Technology Class? That’s great! Here is a list of some awesome keyboarding lessons and games to help you advance your skills. Enjoy. Remember, no hunting or pecking! 🙂
Login Page for www.typing.com (also known as www.typingweb.com)
Practice the Homerow:
Keyboard Practice Printable Practice: