A Little Bit of Coding Can Go a Long Way!

At one of my IT Club meetings, I let the club members get a feel for coding by playing a card board game. I chose Robot Wars Coding Strategy Game because I found it relatively simple to play. Some of the student members found it challenging and fun at the same time! I discovered that the game made them think critically before making a move. And, as in any computer program, there were bugs! The members were so enthralled with the game that the meeting concluded way past the scheduled time. Hats off to the creators!

Any game that can make a student analyze how and when to move is a game that should be brought into the classroom. Those are the elements of programming which don’t always have to be for the geeky soul. Students can create their own board games based on what they’ve acquired in class. Creating and playing these games is conducive to higher learning. So why not give it a try? ~~LMMolina

Cyberix Club



A comical numbers game: “7 into 28”

Working with numbers should be fun. Right? Unfortunately, not everyone agrees. But if we don’t make it fun or interesting at least, we’ll zone out the students. How can we get students to get some humor out of something as serious as math?  I came across this comedy sketch featuring a lovable actor from way back. I decided to show it to my tech students and see their reaction. I didn’t think they would get it but surprisingly they did and now want to try it out on their math teacher! I wonder how she’ll react. (By the way, the students requested to see the video twice!)

The scene: Bud Abbott doles out $28 to pay his room rent even though he owes his landlord way more than that. How much is 13 times 7? Ninety one? Are you sure? With Abbott it comes out a bit differently! His reasoning? Check out the video! ~~LMMolina


A Reflection: Getting Ready for a New Semester

Once we hit January 1st, the holiday season winds down and I begin to think of the new semester.  How will I deal with the students who still have no electrical power in their homes? Our island is still in the process of recovering from two major hurricanes.

Although the school is going back to what may be called NORMAL. It’s been painstakingly slow getting there. Our technology has been adversely affected and a few classrooms have little or no access to the Internet. When most course contents are online, this hurts!

How have the teaching staff dealt with this? By going old tech in many instances. But since we have 100% power most of the time, teachers have prepared PowerPoint presentations using the content that students may not have access to in their homes. We will not go back to old methods after we have advanced so much regarding technology and all the resources the Internet has provided! Imagination and creativity are a must if we are to keep ahead in the learning game.

This not only applies to the classroom but to our daily routines outside of work. Can we handle school and home if Mother Nature strikes again? I certainly hope so but contingency plans must be put in place and these must effectively resolve emergencies as they arise. Will we be ready? For everyone’s sake, I certainly hope so! Wishing everyone an excellent New Year 2018!~~LMMolina

Meetings Post Hurricanes

Always learning something new with the Cyberix Club members! ~~LMMolina


After Hurricanes Irma and Maria we’ve had meetings #3 (Oct 19th), #4 (Nov 2nd), and #5 (Nov 16th).  With little power and no Internet, I had to come up with activities that needed neither! My thanks to those who’ve been attending all the meetings despite the circumstances.

We did a bit of programming on paper with the Hot Dog Programming Game at the 3rd meeting. At Meeting #4 we worked with Legos to build a “spooky” theme and completed the project at Meeting #5. All activities involved teamwork. I hope everyone enjoyed them. I sure did!

Next week we’ll have our last meeting of the semester. Since we’re back on the grid (finally!), we’ll probably do something online. We’ll also have some kind of ” get together” to celebrate the holiday season.

STeM Week will probably be held next semester if all goes as planned. If not, the Club will…

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After two hurricanes 

Our small island in the Caribbean was hit by two hurricanes this season, one of them being a category 5. For the past two months most of the island has been without power and water. Our school has been operating since October 9th but under poor conditions. It was greatly impacted and we’ve just recently had power restored 100%.  During that time the teaching staff has been working but it’s been an uphill battle. We’re a school that has been dependent on technology for almost everything for the past 10 years or more! Our community took a hit when we were stripped of that technology which kept everyone informed of all that went on in our school. The teachers could no longer use the electronic platforms. The office staff could not work to their full capacity. It was a blow to our system which has left us reeling from the aftershock.

As an educator, I’ve had to adjust to the “new” school by going back to some of the “old ways” of teaching and keeping records. This has meant more paper work and less electronics. It has meant redesigning some of the courses. Academic activities have been changed. Perhaps that’s been a good thing because we’ve learned to focus on important aspects of teaching. It’s made some us think outside the box.

This course of events has made me realize that we can adapt and adjust to circumstances beyond our control. We can go on, no matter what happens. It’s also been a lesson that has taught us to plan for unforeseen events such as these. Will we come ahead? I certainly hope so! Only time will tell. In the meantime, let’s stick with the basics. ~~LMM 

School Building after Hurricane María

Poetry Prompts

Thinking about ways to get my students to write poetry or just simply write, I got inspired by a photo I took of my plants for Instagram. I thought of the well-known nursery rhyme “How does your garden grow?” It’s simple and at the same time thought-provoking.

A few questions immediately came to mind: How does your garden grow? Can a garden be compared to life in general? Do you let your garden be overrun with weeds? Who are the weeds in your life? Do they serve a purpose?

This would be either an excellent poetry exercise in which the students might find words to rhyme with weed, flowers, thorns, green, insects and so on, or a writing prompt to get them to reflect on people or situations in life.

It might be a good way to assess what my students are capable of writing. I could use it as a diagnostic exercise to introduce a poetry unit. The possibilities are endless. ~~~LMM

Humor in the classroom:

It’s summer so it’s time to reflect on some of our teaching practices and what we can do to improve them. It’s a healthy activity and one that should be taken seriously but not so seriously that we berate ourselves for making some mistakes. After all, we’re only human.

One thing that any wise teacher should “seriously” consider is having fun in the classroom. Why not take advantage of humor to get your ideas across? I’ve listened to some comedy routines that could be used as grammar exercises.  Jerry Seinfeld has a skit dealing with the words “down” and “up”.  He says that as children we were always told to “sit down,” “settle down,” “quiet down” and “stay down” or  they were told to “sit up” straight, not to “stay up” late, and that they should “get up” early.

Comedy can also be used with debatable topics. What do most comedians usually do anyway?  They make fun of ordinary events. Things as simple as going to the grocery store or visiting the family doctor can turn into a hilarious situation. One popular topic that frequently pops up is that of food consumption.  Whether it be eating an ice cream cone on a hot summer day or baking cupcakes for the first time, there’s bound to be something laughable to discuss with a classmate or post on a blog.

When you have your students discuss daily activities that involve humor, the class seems to be more enjoyable.  Students will come away with a bit more knowledge and a healthy attitude towards life in general. So let’s “lighten up” a bit!~~LMMolina

Google Forms: Surveys, Assessment, and Elections

Computer room at CBCMR: 2017 polling station

During this school year I’ve had the opportunity to use Google Forms in various contexts: as an assessment in the classroom, as a questionnaire to elect candidates for different organizations and as a tool to determine students’ perceptions of their teachers. My tech students who are in their Senior year of high school have used it for their science and Spanish-language research projects. Bear in mind, that a form is only as good as the items created by the teacher (or student).

So far I’ve found Google Forms to be effective. A G Form is easy to create and the results can be had almost immediately (depending on the Internet connection). The resulting graphs are usually visually pleasing and relatively simple. This past week, the student body elected their student council representatives using Google Forms. The results of the voting of 212 students were obtained in less than two hours without the hassle of a hand count! Half-way through the second-class period (Note: We have 80-minute periods) we were able to announce the winners. The student council adviser was impressed and rightly so!

However, there is one drawback with Google Forms which I haven’t been quite able to work out. When it comes to printing out the graphs, not all the data can be seen. Unless, the print version is scaled down quite a bit (and you have a magnifying glass at hand to read it!), there is always one circle that is cut off or some of the percentages aren’t visible. I suppose it depends on the length of the form. But I’m still trying to work around this “glitch” and the Google Forms HELP section is really not helping at all. So, if there is anyone out there in the cyber world who can provide assistance, I’ll be eternally grateful!  I will continue to use this app because, frankly, I like it, and the best part of all, it’s free! ~~LMMolina

Life Lessons: Questions for this time of year

As an educator, I take advantage of every opportunity to teach some facts about life. In the process, I’ve learned some valuable lessons!

This is my most recent post from lmmolina97.edublogs.org

This is the time of year that we take to work on our spiritual side. It’s a good time also for getting our students to think about their actions and how they affect those around them. As a school community we go on a pilgrimage each year to visit churches or religious sanctuaries on different parts of the island. When we come back, I take advantage of the outing for students as English-language learners to express their feelings about the experience. The results are interesting and often eye-opening. I discover that some students are indifferent, others come back a bit changed but not so much. As leaders of an educational community and one with a Christian philosophy, are we doing our best to get our students to reflect on their attitude towards that philosophy? How are we doing? What can we do to get them more involved, not only in the school’s pastoral affairs, but in activities sponsored by their parishes? In a world that has globally changed (for better or worse), are we doing all that is within our means? If there is any progress in this area, how can we measure it? These are questions that are food for thought! What are yours? ~~LMMolina


EduBlog post: Reflections on Holy Week 2017

The social network: Uses for the student blogger

I’ve been getting my technology course students to integrate their social apps in their blogging. Social sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, G+ and LinkedIn are a few that they can use so their followers can get another view of their interests. Of course, I always advise them to be careful when posting content no matter what social media they use. More often than not, prospective employers are turning to these sites to get a feel for future employees. I cannot stress this enough. In my role as administrator, I’ve checked out profiles of recruits to see if they are good candidates for our school community. Social apps should be used to promote oneself and one should always put the best foot forward. Right? ~~LMMolina