Category Archives: teaching

#teach180, part 3

Weeks 7-11:

  • Day 31: robot brought in for demo for our engineering advisory committee
  • Day 32: Students staying after school for an intense CyberPatriot practice round!
  • Day 34: Finding errors in G&M code for computer numerically controlled (CNC) milling
  • Day 35: Driving home via the original Washington Monument
  • Day 36: Students presented research on different types of manufacturing processes in class
  • Day 37: teaching G&M codes for students to carve out their initials and a nice sunset
  • Day 39: Two teams securing virtual computers at yesterday’s CyberPatriot competition practice round
  • Day 40: In computer science class, students making their first app: the Magic Trick
  • Day 41: Students working on a bandsaw and on CNC milling simulation software during their lunch period today
  • Day 42: First blocks machined on the CNC mill today!
  • Day 43: A closeup of a block in the CNC mill after machining
  • Day 44: More initials plotted, programmed, and milled out today, then a nice view of the Washington Monument at night
  • Day 45: More blocks designed, programmed, and machined on the computer numerically controlled (CNC) mill
  • Day 46: Beautiful sunrise on drive to work this morning, then some interesting cityscapes w/ 2-point-perspective posted in hall
  • Day 48: Getting ready for the STEM Competition
  • Day 49: 8th Annual STEM Competition!

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I don’t know if I have the words in me right now to write about this thoughtfully and coherently, but I’ll try.

Staying up and watching the election returns Tuesday night into Wednesday morning was difficult. It was difficult for me, as a political leftist and radical, as a believer in social justice movements, as someone who cares deeply about issues of poverty and climate change (two topics barely touched upon in the media coverage of this campaign). In some ways, it hearkened back to the 2000 election, and feelings of outrage and disappointment I experienced then and thereafter during the Bush presidency.

But, although there are some comparisons to be made, in many ways this election result was much worse, at a whole new level. What has made it more difficult for me is thinking of my students, the hatred they see directed at them, and the fear they must feel. From words and actions of Trump himself, and also from the words and actions of his supporters at rallies. My black students, faced with a president-elect who courted and did not reject the support of the KKK and other white supremacist groups. My Latino students, called rapists and murderers by our president-elect. My Muslim students, who are told by Mr. Trump that their entire religion should be banned from entering the United States. My immigrant and refugee students, who feel unwelcome and fear deportation, due to many things said over the course of the campaign. My girls, who now face a president-elect who has evinced zero respect for women throughout the campaign and his career, and is famous for talking on tape about how he would/could sexually assault women.

Although I can imagine how it might feel for them, I do not actually know what it is like living in fear for one’s life or liberty or home that many of my students are probably feeling. Nor do I know the day-by-day degradation of being told your life doesn’t matter, that your rights don’t matter, that your body doesn’t have any rights that others are bound to respect. The fact that Trump has not only said all the horrible things he has said, but that he has encouraged violence from his supporters directed at non-supporters, and that he has normalized this kind of language, hatred, disrespect, and violent actions: this is what scares me most.

The Baltimore Sun interviewed students at my school on Wednesday, including one I teach, for an article on the election: “Immigrant communities fear deportation after election of Trump”


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#teach180, part 2

Weeks 3-6:

  • Day 11, software installs
  • Day 12, art everywhere
  • Day 13, AP CSP daily agenda
  • Day 14, Sonic Pi (video)
  • Day 16, using Computer Vision to find lines and circles
  • Day 17, trash on the floor
  • Day 18, 6th Annual Back To School Night & Community Fair
  • Day 19, OneNote for class collaboration & a calendar look ahead
  • Day 20, cake from celebration honoring my colleague
  • Day 21, Comp Hydro training (video)
  • Day 22, design flaws
  • Day 24, my colleague on ABC2 news (video link)
  • Day 25, my students on the news (video link)
  • Day 26, sunrise in the city
  • Day 28, nighttime with moon and lights from the school parking lot

Part 1 (weeks 1-2) can be found here.

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#teach180, part 1

As I mentioned in my New Year 2016 post, I am posting a photo most school days.

This year I am thinking I shall try to keep up with #teach180 on Twitter, posting a photo tweet every school day (more explanation here).

Some are photos of my students, others are photos of projects they are working on, others are screen captures of lessons or tools that I use, others are more random (a new art piece on the wall at my school that I really liked).

My goal is one photo (and caption) every day on twitter. I have already missed a few days, but here are my first two weeks:

  • Day 1, digital syllabus
  • Day 2, my classroom
  • Day 3, origami balloons in CIM
  • Day 5, map mosaic
  • Day 6, course homepage on LMS
  • Day 8, helping teachers build web pages
  • Day 9, students making music on Raspberry Pi

Happy teaching!

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New Year

Greetings readers, and happy new (school) year! This is year number eleven for me (who knows where the time goes?).

This year I shall be teaching the following subjects:

  • Computer Integrated Manufacturing (my tenth year with this, my most-frequently-taught class) – Fall, two sections
  • Foundations of Computer Science – Spring (ninth graders, to be recruited)
  • Precalculus – Spring
  • AP Computer Science Principles (a brand new AP course this year, though it has been in the works and piloted for several years, including last year by me) – Full Year

Here’s the College Board’s Intro Video to the new CSP course:

I’m super-excited for the new year, and the new CSP course in particular (if you’d like to follow along with our daily agenda, it will be updated each day at ).

This year I am thinking I shall try to keep up with #teach180 on Twitter, posting a photo tweet every school day (more explanation here). We’ll see if I can keep that up, after my abysmal recent record of updating this blog. 🙂

I’ve also just started my fall course from Georgia Tech, Computer Vision. I’m very much looking forward to it, and learning how computers can make sense of what they “see”!

To all the other teachers out there, hope you have a great year!

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Happy (Round-Up) Pi Day!

Greetings once again, one and all!


Pi Pies (photo by djwtwo on Flickr)

It is PI DAY, y’all – gather round and roll out the red carpet for that most glorious of numbers,


a.k.a π,

a.k.a pi.


In fact, though we made a big deal of last year’s celebration as the “Ultimate Pi Day”, or the “Pi Day of the Century”, a case can be made that today is even more special! Today’s date, 3/14/16, is a rounded-up version of pi to four decimal places (rather than a truncated version like last year); it also only comes around only once a century; and in fact 3.1416 is about nine times closer to the actual value of pi than 3.1415 is! 😉

If you’re a little bummed out that we won’t have a “pi day of the century” next year (after all, 3.1417 doesn’t seem too special), check out this article (via MAA) which proves that, for some norm other than the Euclidean distance, there is a “pi” for that norm that will match that year–thus every pi day can be the “pi day of the century”!

I wore a shirt with a similar message today! (Image via Cliff Pickover)

I wore a shirt with a similar message today! (Image via Cliff Pickover)

OK, here’s your round-up of cool pi links:

Apple Pi (Image by elips, via Cliff Pickover)

Apple Pi (Image by elips, via Cliff Pickover)

HAPPY PI DAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!/!!!!!!!

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Engineering Symposium & Showcase

Hi friends, our engineering seniors are wrapping up their capstone course by developing prototypes and presentations of their new inventions and innovations on products they’ve been developing this year. Consider donating $20 or whatever you can to help make our EDD Symposium & Innovation Showcase a success.

Donation link:

Website link for more info:

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