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Inspired By Robotics

We have a DonorsChoose project up "Inspired By Robotics" that is a combination of parent, teacher and administration ideas. It will supply equipment for robotics team competition, classroom integration of robotics into project based learning curriculum as well as provide equipment for small focus groups. This project supports Central Park schoolwide.


We have applied for a FIRST grant to help cover some of it based upon competition use of the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robotics kits in FIRST LEGO League. At the same time, community members are encouraged to contribute to this project. Show your support for robotics at Central Park!


P2PTip: Rainy Day Activities

Parent 2 Parent Tips are written by parents. They are not official announcements from SCUSD.


Silicon Valley Toddler Blog has a nice collection of Rainy Day Outings in the South Bay/Penninsula.

Pop Sugar Moms has a list of activity ideas.

Pinterist has a board of rainy day activities.

Parents.com has indoor activities ideas.

P2PTip: Devoxx4Kids at DevoxxUS

Parent 2 Parent Tips are written by parents. They are not official announcements from SCUSD.

Devoxx4Kids a non-profit has a special session coming up. Join their meetup to register.

https://www.meetup.c ...more

P2PTip: President's Week Wanderings...

What to do... What to do... 


San Jose Public Library Kids Event Calendar

Bay Area Parent Event Calendar 2/17-2/16


Dream Big, Girls Day at the Tech Museum is Monday, February 20th.





3D Printing With Parents - 100% Funded!

Hooray! 3D Printing With Parents is fully funded!


This is a Central Park parent-driven project up on DonorsChoose called 3D Printing with Parents. One of our parents suggested having a parent/child make night and donated funds towards starting it. Another parent donated a 3D printer.


Now we just need some supply donations to get rolling.


Even better yet, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has agreed to match every donation to this project because of its innovative nature in engaging students both in the classroom and with families.


MakerEd: Thinking About Thinking About Seymour Papert

A great article from MakerEd about the father of the Maker Movement that aligns with much of Central Park Elementary's philosophy.



In January, the MIT Media Lab organized a one-day event, "Thinking About Thinking About Seymour Papert" to honor the life and work of Seymour Papert, who taught first in the Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT and then in Media Lab. Today's Scratch environment developed out of Papert's Logo environment. Mitchel Resnick, a student of Papert's, organized the event. Papert saw the positive potential impact of computers and technology in education. His language sounds very similar to the language many of us use to talk about making and learning today. In fact, he provides us a framework to explain the value of making to the growth and development of effective learners.

What we have to think about is what produces involvement, engagement. What grabs the individual. It's much more related to love than logic…Education has very little to do with explanation. It has to do with engagement, with falling in love with the material.
 –Seymour Papert

You can find out more by reading MIT Media Lab's post about the event, "How Seymour Influenced Our Thinking"
The conference was recorded on video. I thought some of the best sessions were the talks by Nicholas Negroponte and Sherry Turkle.
Papert was “a silent type of teacher”
Laura Allen, the founder of Robofun in New York City met Seymour Papert in a bakery in Maine. Influenced by Papert, she started Robofun 20 years ago, which teaches STEM to over 20,000 children in a private studio on the Upper West side of Manhattan and in over 100 schools across New York City.
I met Laura at the MIT conference and later she shared with me her thoughts in a paper titled “Knowing Seymour.” Below is a brief excerpt.
Contemplating my time with Seymour, I am aware that he was also a silent type of teacher. He waited for you. He didn't get in your way. He responded to what you were doing, and understood how important it was to remove learning from shame, competition and pressure. We could benefit from having someone shout that message now as our schools frequently keep children rigidly sitting in at their desk, ignoring their own muses. He helped me understand that there was a very important relationship between loving what you were doing, being given the time and space to go deep into it, and being respected as a learner. These have been very, very, important lessons.
Mindstorms: Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas by Seymour Papert
MIT Press and the Papert Family have made available Seymour Papert's book, Mindstorms, as a free PDF. Papert thought deeply about the use of computers in education and he was an advocate that students learn to program computers — to learn to think in its language. He saw computers as materials to think with and as tools for expression.
I began to see how children who had learned to program computers could use very concrete computer models to think about thinking and to learn about learning and in doing so, enhance their powers as psychologists and as epistemologists. For example, many children are held back in their learning because they have a model of learning in which you have either “got it” or “got it wrong.” But when you learn to program a computer you almost never get it right the first time. Learning to be a master programmer is learning to become highly skilled at isolating and correcting “bugs,” the parts that keep the program from working. The question to ask about the (computer) program is not whether it is right or wrong but if it is fixable. If this way of looking at intellectual products were generalized to how the larger culture thinks about knowledge and its acquisition, we all might be less intimidated by our fears of “being wrong.” This potential influence of the computer on changing our notion of a black and white version of our successes and failures is an example of using the computer as an “object-to-think-with.”

Box Tops Due February 28th!

Box Tops must be turned in by February 28th to receive funds for this school year!


Get them in quick so parent volunteer Wendy Matsuda can get them all sent in for us!



SCUSD: LCAP Feedback

LCAP Feedback - Tell Us How We're Doing!

The Santa Clara Unified School District is seeking input on the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP).  Please take this survey to give feed back on the 2016-17 actions and guide our planning for the 2017-18 school year.  The survey will be open from February 15, 2017-March 15, 2017.  


LCAP Survey - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/17-18LCAP

Encuesta del Plan de Control Local y Rendimiento de Cuentas (LCAP) - https://es.surveymonkey.com/r/2017-18LCAPSpanish

Makey Makey For Dollar Match on DonorsChoose


Give $35 or more to any classroom through DonorsChoose this February and Makey Makey will match your gift with a free Makey Makey to that classroom.

Just tweet them your receipt, post it on facebook and tag them, or email them and they will send that classroom a valentine Makey Makey.

They can only send 1 kit per classroom, a max 100 Makey Makeys, so move fast! Make sure to EMAIL THEM so Central Park gets credit!!!


Update - We got 4! Thanks for helping us get Makey Makey kits!


Makey Makey are invention kits that turn everyday objects into touchpads on computers that can be integrated with anything on the internet. In education it is especially useful because students can use the Scratch programming language to create amazing things.


Hurry up and donate quick to get us a few free Makey Makey kits at the same time!


Here is an example of Makey Makey in education:


Afterschool: SJ Art Academy MAR/APR Registration

(Print PDF)


Class Dates: Every Friday (Mar 3, 10, 24, 31 April 7, 21)  
Fee: $117 (All materials are provided)
* Classes for K through 2nd grade 2:30pm-3:20pm
3rd grade 2:55pm-3:45pm 
Mar 3rd, 2017:  K through 3rd 1:45pm-2:40pm
Classes held in Central Park School
(meet in front of the room D4)
Drawing (pencil, color pencil, pastel), Painting, 3-D Ceramics.
Learn-by-doing art club programs meet once a week throughout the year at your school

Update from Central Park PTA

Dear Parents and Guardians,


Our  PTA is holding a “Dining for Dollars” Fundraiser. We will receive 20% pf food and beverage purchases.


We hope everyone will be able to attend!


Date: Wednesday, March 1st 2017

Time: 4pm to close

Location: Islands Cupertino

20750 Stevens Creek Blvd. • (408) 865-1992



You will need to bring this flyer attached (print PDF) in order to show your family is from Central Park. 

In order for the Island Burgers to plan their “staffing,” we’d like to get a sense of who can attend.


Please go to the link below and add your family’s name with the number of family members attending: 





Home of the CHAMELEONS!

     Ever Growing, Ever Changing...

 Meet Newton, Central Park's Mascot.

Curious, Creative, Inspired!!!


School Launch Page: bit.ly/cpinspire 



NEXT: Mon. Feb. 27, 2017

NO SCHOOL 2/20-2/24
Drop Off: 8:30AM All Grades
Pick Up: 2:26PM K, G1 & G2
  2:51PM Grade 3
Find more about Weather in Santa Clara, CA

Student Absences

Email Attendance Clerk, Leanne Konicek at: lkonicek@scusd.net or call 408-423-4411. State the reason for the absence. See Board Policy for details regarding excused and unexcused absences.

Hot Topics




1st Grade Blog


First grade will begin an inquiry about light and sound when we get back from February break. We are going to be exploring and experimenting with a lot of fun hands-on materials including musical instrument design. We get to be scientists and engineers!


Driving Question:

How can we, as physicists, create a way to communicate without using any spoken language? 


These are the main ideas of our unit:

  • Sounds are made when something vibrates
  • Sounds can be loud or soft and high or low
  • Light and sound physically travel through matter
  • We use sound and light to communicate
  • A shadow is made when something blocks the light

These are a few of our new vocabulary words:

  • Translucent            
  • Transparent
  • Opaque            
  • Reflective
  • Illumination            
  • Vibration
  • Communication

Here are a few fun ways you can work with your child at home:

  • Put out different sized cooking pans and use spoons to tap on them to hear different sounds.
  • Use a few of the same size drinking glasses and fill then with different amounts of water. Then lightly tap on them and listen to the different sounds they make. 
  • Use a flashlight or lamp and shine it against a blank wall and put different objects in front of it to make shadows. 

One more thing…if you have any toilet paper tubes, we could use them for some of our activities. 



2nd Grade Blog


Hello 2nd grade families!  Here’s what’s going on in our classrooms:

  • Reading: We are still working on different elements of fairy tale stories (characters, magic, resolutions, villains) to help us with current writing unit.  2nd grade will continue with guided reading, where teachers are pulling small groups of students during reading time, or conferring with individual students about their reading.  

  • Writing: Students are working on creating a draft of their own fairy tale (The Three Little ______ and the Big Bad ___________).  They will introduce their main characters, villains, 3 structures and the resolution.  We will revise, edit and publish after.

  • Math: Module 8 has begun.  This unit will focus on adding and subtracting two digits on a number line, figuring out parts and whole of fact families, and weight using kilograms.  We will take our test on Monday, March 6.

  • Science: Our current unit will be focusing on Matter. Students will learn about various types of solid matter and how it can change.  Some matter can be reversible while some are irreversible after it changes.  Students will be working with clay to test if it can be reversible. Later in the unit, we will be challenging students to design a structure that can withstand wind.

  • Social Studies: N/A

  • Tinkering/Building Fridays:  Students will continue to work in collaborative groups to build and extend their logic/problem solving skills.  


3rd Grade Blog

Kindergarten Blog


Life Skill:

We are building life skills in order to  be responsible citizens. Friendship is our September Life skill.  We are working on learning what friends need and how to build friendships.



Growth Mindset:

Students are learning to train their brain by turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts.  They are learning that failing at something isn't a bad thing.  When you make a mistake it gives you the opportunity to learn and try again.




We are learning how to read books and building stamina.  Our next step is learning how to read with a partner.  




We are focused on sorting, counting and writing numbers.  



Passion Projects:

Passion projects are time for students to research and learn about a topic of interest.  They will have time in class to work on these projects.  Please contact your child's teacher if you are interested in volunteering during passion project time.  



Fun Fridays:

 Fun Fridays are a way to introduce new projects to students by sharing your passions.  Sometimes students find a new passion they never knew they had! 

Please be prepared to bring in supplies you need for your project.  Here are some projects which parents have done with students in the past. 

-     Finger knitting

-     Growing plants

-     Coding

-     Drawing lessons

-     Cooking

-     Yoga


Contact your child's teacher  if you have an interest to share with our students.



Garden Blog

Makerspace Blog


Using some of the materials from our "Make Making Mobile" and "Coding for Kids" DonorsChoose campaigns, we converted a rolling bookshelf into a mobile cart for robotics.


This allows us to easily transport robotics equipment into the classrooms when needed for specific projects. The first classroom for robotics to roll into from the makerspace was Ms. Cary's 3rd Grade class.




Using the Dash and Dot robots from Wonder Workshop, the students were given Wonder League programming challenges that combined the study of Native American Indians in social studies with the conservation of natural resources in environmental science. 


This PBL curriculum called "Ojibwe: Life Connected to the Land" was designed in house with consultation from Dr. Ann Maria De Mars, the President of 7 Generation Games. Her company specializes in making educational games that teach Native American Indian history.



The first mission entitled "Constructing a Wigwam" challenged students to collect the supplies necessary to build a shelter for the Ojibwe. They lived in the Great Lakes area weathering the winter storms so they needed to gather bark from birch trees for their wigwam.


If the Ojibwe took all the bark off one tree, the tree would die. To conserve the trees, instead they took a little bit of bark off multiple trees.



Students programmed their Dash robot as an Ojibwe Indian on a 240cm by 150cm grid with letters A to E going up and numbers 1-8 going to the right. Students had to move Dash from position C1 to positions C3, C5 and C7. 


Students had to practice their mathematical spatial reasoning to calculate how many centimeters the robot would need to move to get from the center of C1 to the center of C3 when each box on the grid was 30cm square. Would it be 15cm? 30cm? 45cm? or 60cm? Teams of 3rd Graders had to figure it out with their partners.



The Ojibwe clans each had an animal representing them based on the characteristics of the clan that matched the animal so we had students play different animal arounds.


At each square, students had to program Dash to turn on a red light, use a wait command for 1 second, turn on a green light, play an animal sound then move to the next tree. 


Some students added creatively to their Ojibwe robot program by having their robot swing their tomahawk at the tree.


Then the Ojibwe robot must complete the same task at D5 and D7. An astute programmer could have possibly leveraged their knowledge of loops to complete the latter tasks.



After completing "Constructing a Wigwam" in mission 1, some students moved on to mission 2 "Harvesting Wild Rice". In this mission the Ojibwe must push a canoe through the water to harvest rice. While doing so, they must not accidentally hit the other Ojibwe who are harvesting rice in the water as well.


An additional mission called "Collecting Maple Sugar" was awaiting students however the bell at the end of the day was near. In that mission, students had to push the maple sap containers next to the maple trees on a specific side to ensure that the maple sap was collected.


In total we had 5 teams of 3rd Graders complete Mission 1 of the Ojibwe Life Connected to the Land. This mission was the same level of programming complexity as Wonder League robotics competition mission 1!



Robotics Team Blog


What a weekend!!!
On Sunday, February 12th the Central Park STEAM Robotics Team managed to bring home the VexIQ Challenge Judges Award trophy from the Quarry Lane VexIQ Tournament! An amazing accomplishment for a first year VexIQ team.



This award was given to the Princess Ponies for their strong showing and hard work in all four categories of STEM Research, Design Engineering Notebook, Driver Skills and Teamwork Challenge.



The Princess Ponies also managed to tie for 3rd Place in the finals with their pink bunny robot named "Pinkies". During qualification matches the Princess Ponies held onto a 6th place standing.



Our Vexonators also had a great showing at the VexIQ tournament pulling off a 25pt double robot balance on the bridge in Teamwork Challenge. The cheers and applause echoed through the gym when they pulled off that feat!


Every member of the Vexonators was completely new to the VexIQ platform having only started working with it in October of 2016.



They also put together a fantastic STEM Research presentation on the use of robotics in medicine. They practiced their presentation on Saturday working at a member's home. Then on Sunday at the VexIQ tournament they did a rehearsal at their table to prepare.



This past Saturday, February 11th, we had 6 members of the Central Park STEAM Robotics Team take on the Future League LEGO Mindstorms EV3 FLL challenge. This event was hosted by Future League at the RobotXSpace of the ZDG Innovation Center.



Here members of Team Pokegears, Vexonators, Dash Girls, Cats Love Legos and Princess Ponies teamed up to move the shark tank from home base into the goal using the EV3 robot.


Our team had to use the port monitor to calculate the total length in distance. Then utilizing their knowledge of geometry, they divided that length by 360 to calculate the number of rotations required on the wheels to complete that distance accurately.


Then they programmed the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 including parameters such as motor power as a percentage, rotations, and stopping method to deliver the shark tank to the destination without the shark falling over in the tank from inertia.


Our students in both the 2nd Grade team as well as the 3rd Grade team successfully completed the missions!


Afterwards our team got to watch a championship level FIRST LEGO League team deliver their innovation project presentation. They also got to watch both an elementary and a middle school team complete the Animal Allies FLL Challenge.


Then our team headed to the foosball for a little teamwork of another kind!


Central Park PTA

Central Park Intro

Sing the Central Park Song!

Bring Box Tops!



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