3Doodler Start Pens – First Try – video

We finally charged up the 3D printing pens, made by 3Doodler. A coworker had purchased a complete 3Doodler Start set (the beginner version of the pens, that uses a unique cool filament) and then retired, so I am using them with the students.

The difference? The students loved the pens, though it was really tricky at first….

Here are videos of students (and staff) using the pens for the first time.





Coding Books 2

It bills itself as “The Complete Middle School Study Guide” and it does have a load of content.

Everything you need to ace computer science and coding in one big fat notebook is a fat book full of color drawings that covers coding concepts and computer languages.

I used it to teach Scratch. I like how it explains the coordinate plane, because not ever student knows what the numbers in the move blocks mean.

I also learned about the scratch backpack, on area on the bottom of the scratch page that you can use to save scripts to reuse with other sprites (characters) or other projects. Students must have an individual Scratch account to use the backpack feature, fyi.

The book has a unit on universal coding commands, such as loops, conditionals, and variables, that I found confusing and not helpful.


Coding Books I

This is the first post in a series about useful computer coding books that are age-appropriate for middle schoolers, as well as students with disabilities.

DK Publishers Beginners Ste-by-step Coding Course

This book helped me teach students computer science. I found it at the New York Public Library,  browsing through the shelves in the YA section.

What I like is that it covered Scratch, which is what I did with some of the classes. Although there was not enough time/cognitive ability (on my part, anyway) to do python, javascript or html/css, nevertheless it was there for the learning (I actually do know html, and a small amount of css).

Add excellent graphics and simple explanations, and what more could a teacher want to use to teach students?

Dorling Kindersley (DK) graphics are the BEST!



Codespark Coder

This student found success in choosing the correct parameters — either up and to the right, up and to the left, or straight up — to make a character jump.

Code Cards to Code Code Mouse

We programmed the robot mouse to run the maze.

Team work

Chairs, meet Floor

Excitement in the computer lab at the end of the day.


The intended target avoided injury. Can’t say the same thing for my arm.

Mathigon and Polypad Explorations

My last period “guinea pig” class tested out a couple of “math as art” programs, using the polypad section on the mathigon.com website.

Kodable Progress

After about seven sessions, this is the progress for a group alternate assessment 7/8 graders working on Kodable. The plan is to continue with this program for another 3-4 weeks, then switch to 3D deisgn using Tinkercad and handheld printers.

Scratch Spiralizer with Students

The last period class on Mondays is in many ways my favorite. They are young yet mature. When I want to use a group of students for guinea pigs, they are my go-to’s. We have done chrome music lab, mathigon’s polypad, online robots, code & go mouse robots, scratch jr. (the “unofficial” desktop software version), and now the online version of scratch.

Here is a (speeded-up) sampling of student work on the spiralizer, which is just about the coolest introduction to scratch there is. (click to see video)

Here is the script for spiralizer:

Adding Text to Adobe Photoshop

Some students are learning graphic design with an older, legacy version of Adobe Photoshop. In this photo, a student practices adding text to an image. He explored the different layer styles too.

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January 2023