Code Ninja club. team game making contest.

This fall one of the things we have done with the Code Ninja computer club is to encourage students to make games collaboratively.

To do this I challenged students to form teams of 3-4 people. Each team had to create an original game from scratch. Each team had to assign roles to the members so that everyone in the team had a job in creating the game.  They were allowed to use the online program to make their games. Each game had to be fully playable, have a score keeping method, and and end goal. Any artwork (sprites, backgrounds etc,) needed to be created by the students or provided by scratch.

I have given them a time frame of 2 months to complete their games. In the end we will play each others games and vote on the best one. I will award the winning team with $20, which they have to split.

This project has really seemed to motivate some of my students. They often stay after school and work on it and even come in to work before school several days a week.

It is amazing how fast they will learn about game making and coding on their own when you challenge them like this.

Right now I have 3 teams working to see if they can beat each other.

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Teaching programming and Language skills by creating ebooks using Sigil.

ebook rubric

Writing ebooks.

All about me

Today we are starting to write ebooks. An ebook is an electionic publication that can be read in an ereader, on an android or on an Ipad.

Your ebook is going to be a story about you. It will be divided into 15 chapters. Each chapter will contain text and a photograph.

We will be using a program called Sigil to edit our ebooks. To access the sigil user manual follow this link

Here is a list of the topics you can include in your book. Select 15 of the items on the list. You will need a paragraph consisting of a minimum of 3-5 sentences about each topic. You will need a picture to accompany each topic. Each topic will be considered a separate chapter in your ebook. The more you can write about the topic the better. This is a project to help support the language curriculum. Therefore, we will be working on good sentence structure. Do not use fragmented sentences. We will look at good paragraphing. Each paragraph should include good adjectives and descriptions, good verbs, and good noun usage. Spelling and grammar will count.

All about me


  • Home
    • family
    • pets
    • traditions
    • holidays
    • vacations
    • friends
    • hobbies
    • music
    • movies
    • sports
    • foods
    • Television
    • events
    • birthdays
    • games
    • pet-peeves
    • favorites
  • School
  • friends
  • favorites
  • subjects
  • extra-curricular activities
  • clubs
  • band
  • music
  • memories
  • lunch
  • dances
  • concerts
  • events
  • mascot
  • sports
  • competitions
  • goals
  • personalities

Here are some videos explaining how to use sigil to make your ebooks. Each ebook will need to have some styling and Css added to the book to make it look professional. We will publish the final ebooks on Moodle.



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Teach programming with a computer club

Good morning:

I wanted to show you how we teach programming in my classes. I don’t have time to teach much during class, so we do it before school in a club. We use free online websites for instruction. Then we award different belts depending on which of the codes the student masters.

 White belt = HTML

Yellow stripe = CSS

Green belt = php

Blue stripe =Python

Blue belt= Ruby

Red Stripe = scratch levels 1-3

Red belt = scratch levels 4-10

Black stripe = Javascript game

Black belt = API and app creation

  • 20 August – 26 August

    Week One


    This is a 14 week curriculum that covers HTML, CSS and the basics of JavaScript. During the two semesters, students will build several websites with HTML and style them with CSS. The sessions will end with making a small game in JavaScript, a versatile web programming language. Most courses follow a model where the exercises introduce the topic and the course ends with a practical project. For each lesson we’ve also suggested some talking points.

    You’re not confined by the age or ability level of the student, since the class model is very flexible. Students can work through the exercises at their own pace. We’ve given you a suggested starting point with this schedule. Adapt liberally for your students— focus only on web pages for a shorter program, jump right into JavaScript if it’s programming you’re after, and if you have more advanced students we have suggested further study at the end of this packet.

    Programming requires experimentation, research, and a little bit of fiddling. Empower students to play with things to find out how they work. Help them to teach themselves, and each other, by creating what they want to create, and allowing the students input in regard to the direction of the class.


    Go through what’s going to happen during the semester: everyone will be coding websites and games. Introduce Codecademy and make sure everyone has an e-mail address and can register to the site. Emphasize that everyone learns at a different pace, experimentation is welcome, you will learn lots from catching and fixing your mistakes. This is also different from a normal class because you get to build real things while you learn.

    Ask students what their goals are, what they already know about technology and the Internet, and what questions they want to get answered by participating in your club. If you have time, let students try the first exercises on the track.


      1. What is programming?
      2. What is a browser?
      3. What is HTML (structure), CSS (presentation), Javascript (behavior/interaction).
      4. Where can you see HTML & CSS? View the source code of your school website.
      5. Where in the everyday world can one see programming?
      6. What knitting and mathematics have to do with programming?
      7. What would happen if computers disappeared?
      8. What will happen in the future as computers get smaller, faster, and cheaper?
      9. Look up the history of the printing press and how cheap paper manufacturing radically changed access to reading and writing across the economic classes. Can you see any parallels to programming and our modern society?
  • 27 August – 2 September


    HTML is the bones under every single web page on the web. You will learn the fundamentals of HTML to make your own basic website. You will include images, organize text, and add links to your page.

    Have students start with the first lesson, which covers the following topics: Structure of HTML – Basic tags – Hyperlinks – Images Then they can go on to the first Project: Build Your First Webpage.


    1. Look at the source of a favorite website and see if you can find any <p> elements (use Ctrl-F). What other familiar tags can you spot?
    2. Show students how to use shortcutes to copy-paste code. For Windows it’s ctrl + c and ctrl + v, for Mac cmd + c and cmd + v.
    3. Note that writing HTML and CSS is not technically “programming”, but formating. HTML and CSS are called markup languages that the students need to know in order to create a canvas for web applications and programs that you will write in JavaScript.

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Learning the Constitution with podcast.

Well the summer is half over and I need to begin thinking about what I should do in my classes this fall.
Last year I changed up my podcast lessons a little. Instead of using a script for the students to produce their podcast I made them create their own scripts about the Constitution and the Federal government.
I divided each class into groups of 4-5 and have the kids write a contract for their group. We use Moodle to share resources and communicate online. Once the kids finished their contract they had to decide what each persons responsibilities would be. For example; one might be a reader, one might be a writer, one might be an editor, one might get sources and create a works cited portion of the script, one might have more than one job. We discus what types of jobs there could be and list them on the smartboard.
Once jobs are assigned we start creating the scripts. The podcast need to be between 5-10 minutes, each podcast needs to have sound effects, lead in and fade out music and be edited so that there are no extra noises, giggles, door slams, bell rings etc..
Usually I give them topics to choose from and a sample script to look at. Topics range from Congress (article 1 and 2). the Executive (article 3) States rights and federal govt rights (articles 4 and 6)
Political parties, The amendments 1-10, The amendments civil rights 13-15, the amendments 11, 12, 16-27.
The Articles of Confederation and their failure.
Students are directed to create either a gameshow, a news broadcast, a documentary, or a letter from a delegate at the Constitution Convention.
When the students are finished they post the podcast online for peer critiques and make corrections based on the feedback given by their peers.
Grades are based on a rubric we create together in class with teacher input. The students grade each others projects then I grade them and combine grades for an average.
This worked so good last year I don’t think I will change much this year. They only thing is to make videos for the flipped class format to post online so the students can use most of their in class time working on the project. The videos need to cover how to make a podcast and how to edit using audacity. I usually give about 4-5 weeks for this project.

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Problem? or not?

Just wondering how many of you have this same issue. (conflict with the upper level grade instruction tract)
back ground:
I teach middle school computers. 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. We program games using scratch before school in computer club and work on learning html5, css, javascript, perl and php. These skills teach problem solving, linear thinking, abstract thinking and reinforce language and math skills.

In 6th grade I teach keyboarding, but have seen a large decrease in student abilities due to the elementary curriculum changes. Now the elementary teaches computers and keyboarding by playing games for about 1/2 hour a week. The instructor is part time and uses a mobile lab. They used to teach keyboarding a couple hours a week but budget cuts have limited their instruction time. So the students come to me keying about 10 words a minute. About 15 words a minute slower than they used to key.
I have them type word documents, work on formatting, accuracy and speed. We take timed writing test about every 3rd day and students are expected to improve by 5 awpm each time they retest. To cover keying numbers we type spreadsheets in the spring instead of word documents. Timed writing is part of their grade.

In 7th grade I have moved from teaching keyboarding with the mandate that we teach more 21st century skills. I instruct the students on how to program html, css, edit audio, edit video, write ebooks and enhance them, make smartboard applications (games), and presentations to review core lesson materials. We use economics as our subject matter to support lessons in the social science classrooms. This is a subject I am familiar with and which the core classes have difficulty fitting into their year.

In 8th grade we study the U.S. Constitution making podcast, videos, using online classrooms to work collaboratively with other classes in different hours over the internet.
All my classes are provided online in a flipped (podcast and vidcast) format and I use class time as lab time to work on the projects. The kids work in teams and have to make contracts with each other and assign jobs. Each kid gets part of the project and they combine them over the internet.

My problem is; Should I go back to just teaching keyboarding, word and excel? You see, once the kids leave my class and go to High School they do not get any of the programming, podcasting, vidcasting or online format classes. They don’t take my lessons to the next level. They don’t work online collaboratively or anything.
What they do is type. Word processing, research papers, power-points and excel.
I have been told that I am not preparing my students for High School because I do not stress these topics of study. However I feel that 1. there is more to technology than typing and business. and 2. what is the point in teaching them something over and over that they will be getting more instruction on in HS? How does just teaching business and keyboarding instead of programming, use of online classrooms, and multimedia preparing our students for the 21st century?

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programming with scratch.

This is the first year I have taught summer school. I have to say it doesn’t pay enough and I will not do it again. However, I have had an interesting teaching experience. One of the courses I was to teach is called “Tech”.
When I picked up the curriculum it just said here is $500 to purchase what you need to teach tech. No curriculum. I was to make up my own curriculum. It is a good thing I was teaching this and not one of the other staff, since I have a degree in technology.
So I started wondering what I could teach and still afford for $500, which I knew would not go to far. Robotics was a thought until I found out one kit for 4 kids cost over $400. I had 3 classes of 29.

I finally settled on Scratch. Scratch is a game programming system by distributed by MIT. It is free, but the issue was

    does it come with a curriculum that we could accomplish in 2 weeks

. I started checking out options and found that 1. Scratch did not have to be downloaded or installed. (that made my tech dept. happy), it can be done online at 2. Scratch has a text of sorts. There was a book available that is called “Super Scratch Programming adventure”. 29 of them cost me $400. This book teaches the kids how to program games. Each chapter is a separate type of game and all the different games together make one large game. When you are done with the book you have experienced building 7 different types of games from first person shooters, to maze and platform games. The programming is done with blocks that link together like legos.
I surmised that we could make it through two of the games before the end of the two weeks.
Each student gets to program their own game.
The students can share their work and help each other through collaboration.
The programming is hands on and encourages problem solving.
The students get to experience all facets of making a video game from conception to making the characters to final production.
Programming teaches logical thinking.
Programming reinforces sequence building.
Programming reinforces the importance of math skills in the real world.
Programming reinforces keyboarding and proof reading skills.
Programming encourages abstract thought.

I have to say the experiment was a success. I can’t even get the kids to stop working at the end of class. Many of them have personalized their games with background music and their own art work. They even ask if it is ok to work on it from home. To which I say YES YES Please do!!
That however was the only thing I like about summer school

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Ahh Moodle, a dream come true.

For several years I wanted to move my 6-8 grade classrooms to an online format. Hybrid with  classwork being done in the classroom but lessons and homework being disseminated and collected online.

I first tried Ning, until my school deemed it a social network and blocked it. However, to appease me they promised me moodle. At the time I wasn’t sure.

Now several years later I must say I love Moodle! I want to shout it from the roof tops.

My fellow teachers have been slow to come around, but when I point out the benefits like;

  1. Moodle will grade your test. You have to create them first, but once created you have very little maintenance and the grading is done.
  2. Moodle can deliver step by step lessons, general lessons for projects, choice lessons, Lessons by week, or by subject, quizes, test, and you can set the time limits of an assignment, the ability to correct, or the size of uploads.
  3. Students don’t have much of an excuse for not getting work done. Even if they are home sick or on vacation. Moodle time stamps when they are on and when assignments are turned in. Because of moodle my class is accessible world wide and 24-7.
  4. Students can collaborate across the network using chat, discussion forums, and wiki’s.
  5. Students can turn in group work, share files, and communicate and its all tracked on moodle.
  6. Students can also turn in private work and communicate with just the teacher. I have students turn in final work this way and no other person but the student and I can see the work.
  7. I am more accountable for giving instant feedback and grading in a timely manner. When a student or group turns in work Moodle tells me I have it to grade and lets me know when I have to regrade corrected work.
  8. Students are more involved. Students who will not participate in the open classroom will speak up and share ideas in a forum or chat.
  9. Moodle allows for self paced lessons combined with  podcast, video, screen captures, or more structured lessons.
  10. I use moodle to have students make videos, puppet shows, compare and contrast papers, time writings, journaling, give test and quizes,
  11. I also give lesson information in podcast and video format, embed videos, and traditional text with links to resources, powerpoints, spreadsheets, etc..
  12. Moodle is a great way to give enrichement, such as typing exercises.
  13. I also have a sports page where kids can post pics, and videos of the seasonal sports, I use it to post schedules, and discuss sports,
  14. I also have a homework assistance page. Kids can join forums and discuss homework if they need help.
  15. Our projects range from simple typing and timed writing, dictation, enhanced ebook  writing, collaborative game creation. smartboard lesson creation, webpage writing using html and css. etc.
  16. We study economics, the Constitution, word processing, spreadsheets, and 21st century skills.
  17. And Its free. (not free to administrate) but the platform itself is free and constantly upgrading. This summer we are upgrading to a newer version that will be compatible with mobile devices.
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Fishing report

Wind 15-20 mph. from south to southeast.

Water temp 55 degrees F Air temp. 63

Water cloudy full of mud and silt, Visibility about 1 inch. Just recently rained a lot.

Depth. 6-10 ft. grass beds along mud bottom and brush stumps for cover.

Sky high clouds, building.

Moon Waxing Gibbous

Bait – live night crawlers, only had one bite in an hour and half. 4-5:30

Crappie spinner, silver and gold both. Nothing bit.

A low is moving in and forcast for more rain tomorrow.

Macon Lake in NE Missouri

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time to unplug.

Well, thanks to by brother in law I have several hundred 45 rpm records to search through for some dance music. So here I am playing records instead of grading papers. I know bad teacher bad, bad.

Oh well, I guess sometimes I have to do things for me. Today it’s playing records searching for good dance music. Although some of the music I am listening to is very old, like the Osmonds, The Partridge Family, Roy Orbison, Three Dog Night.

It has however, been a pleasant trip down memory lane. However, I think most of what I need I have found on some country and western CD’s.

It is a lot of fun going through all this old music.  I actually started this hobby so I would spend less time on the computer. With an online class, I am plugged in almost constantly and listening to music, planning dances, playing guitar are all ways to get me to unplug. Being unplugged is good if you want to have a good marriage. So now I spend a lot of my time trying to get off the electronics and spend time talking with my wife and enjoying my life.

Don’t forget to unplug and live.


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collaboration over the network

Constitution review game


1. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary documents.

2. Determine a central idea or information of a primary or secondary source; provide accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge.

3. Integrate visual imformation (e.g. charts, graphs, video or maps) with other information in print and digital formats.

4. By the end of 8th grade read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the 6-8 grade text complexity levels.

5. Use technology including the internet to produce and publish writing and present the relationship between information and ideas clearly and efficiently.

6. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources.


7. Creativity and innovation: Students will demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.

8. Communication and collaboration: Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning, and contribute to the learning of others.

9. Research and information fluency: Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate and use information.

10. Critical thinking, problem solving, decision making: Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.

11. Digital Citizenship: Students understand human, cultural and societal issues related to technology, and practice legal and ethical behavior.

12.Technology operations and concepts: Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems and operations.

Lesson Objectives

Students will use the smartboard or powerpoint software to create a review game.

The game will be created about the 27 amendments, and articles 4-7.

Students will be divided into groups of 2-4 game creators.

Students teams of game creators will include classmates from different hours.

Students will research material to include in their games and decide as a group on the game format, and materials to use in the game.

Students will communicate over the internet with group members to create a contract that specifies each persons role in the game making process.

Students will turn in the contract by Apr. 15th and have it approve by the instructor. Before starting on the game creation.

Once your contract is approved students will work with their team over the internet to create a game that is engaging and thoroughly covers the materials to review Articles 4, 5, 6, 7 and the 27 amendments of the US Constitution.

The games will be review by your peers in May, using a rubric to grade the elements of the game and corrections will be allowed.

Games may be of the following types. Trivia, board games, or T.V. Game show style. Games should include sound, graphics (animated or non animated) and video.

Any sources used in the creating of the game need to be cited. Include a works cited page listing your sources using parenthetical citations in the document and a works cited page at the end of your document. Remember you cannot use more than 10% of any media or other works without citing it or you are plagiarizing the source. Quotes need to be included in quotations and cited. See the documentation below on how to create parenthetical citations.

Frequent communication with your team members is a requirement to achieve your goal by the deadline of the week of May 5 and have time for corrections by May 15th.

This project may require students to work on it outside of class time. Using the moodle blog chat and forum features you should be able to communicate with each other from home. Questions on how to use chat or forums should be directed to your instructor.

You may contact your instructor through the help discussion in the forums, or email him at

Teams should elect someone on the team to be the lead game creator. That lead game creator will be responsible for turning in the finished contract, and project. A most resent version of the game should be posted in the forums so that In the event the lead game creator cannot complete this task another student can turn in the work for the group.

I repeat games need to be finished and turned on Moodle in by the week of May 5th. Any game not completed AND TURNED IN ON MOODLE will lose substantial points.

Resources for information to include in your game can be found in the Constitution which is after chapter 3 in the Civics book and after chapter 8 in the Creating America book. You may also find it necessary to use resources from the internet. Google, wikipedia and any other search engine is not an acceptable source when creating citations. Citations need to be created from specific websites sound clips, video discussing the Constitution.

Including information from Articles 1-3 of the Constitution will not be discouraged.

* When you turn in your finished project, each team member is to fill out a Tiger team group evaluation and submit it.

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