Loyola Stars

Loyola University Stars Leadership Corps Chapter

Second day of computing class

by jherreraluc February 13, 2013

we had a great time this time no a lot of the ladies showed up because they had prior arrangements but the ones that missed will be attending the next class. by the time 11 am came the ladies were still not ready to leave and we got so caught up by what we were doing that we stayed till 11:30am. I am very excited about the next class because we will be starting to work with word and they have all been using their computers and learning what they have but now they will actually be creating something. Also I want to mention why we got so caught up the ladies were so excited to learn how to create their own user accounts and passwords as well add and delete programs and how to have a screensaver. they all really got into all of these things that it even got me excited to help them out.looking forward this upcoming Saturday.


First day of Computer Class

by jherreraluc February 7, 2013

This past saturday I had a great time at the first day of intro to Computer class. Most of the ladies did not even know how to turn on the computer which i was very surprised (all of these women are hispanic and typically house wifes). I had a written agenda for the class but they where all so excited about learning that they kept asking questions and I found myself trying to get back on track and the best part was that the questions never seemed to end. one of the best parts was that by the end of the class the ladies left very excited and ready for the next class, we also decided that I was going to teach them how to pay their bills online. I know how conbinient it it to pay bills online so I asked the ladies if that would be one the things they would like to get out of the class and they all responded yes. They loved that idea and were very thankful for having to add that to the class. but i told them that before we get to that they have to know the basics and theres a process they have to go through in order to do that so we will be doing that by the end of the 8 week course. they all agreed and I told them that once we start on the bills they can bring with them their bills and a small notebook where they can write their usernames ad passwords.  So we began the class and had a great time. So now im very excited for the next class which will be this upcoming Saturday. 

Steinmetz HTML Class Assistance, Semester 2

by jnepomuceno January 29, 2013

Today I returned to Steinmetz to help out with HTML classes there. Both the teacher and the students in general (in the periods I’m there) seemed very glad to have me back. The curriculum from the last semester was finishing up, and the students were turning in design templates for personal web sites. These sites will eventually be fully created at the end of this semester using all the students have learned over the course of the year.

For better or worse, the second semester is beginning with review, literally from the beginning (the concept of viewing/modifying raw HTML pages in NotePad). The class is taking on several new students seeking to fulfill credits necessary to graduate, and so stepping back will attempt to bring everyone up to speed. For my part, I’m hoping this encourages the proficient students to go and try (HTML) things on their own - it’s not explicitly my role in the classroom, but I’d hate for the subject to get boring for them.

I also was tasked to help a few students out completing several online modules that were required curriculum in the state of Illinois. They covered a general span of topics, from the concept of financial credit to responsible actions. Having actually not encountered them back in high school, I found them very analogous to training programs I was required to complete while at other jobs. Here was a sort of education delivered in the form of training videos and quizzes whose nature was not necessarily to derive a logical answer to, but to reiterate exactly what the videos had said. I personally thought the modules (in structure and in particular wording) to be condescending to the students - nevertheless, the students passed most of them.

Although perhaps outside the scope of what we do through STARS, such an education method seems such a contrast to the methods otherwise employed, both in this class and in other STEM classes, where both the material and the nature of evaluation suggest there is more to do with the subject than just spitting something out in response.

That’s easier, certainly, but then we may as well be computers.

In Which The Ring is Cast Into Mount Doom

by wakawaka-assbutt December 12, 2012

Last Friday (12/7) marked my last day at St. Viator Elementary. Overall it was a bittersweet day; while I’m happy that the project reached its natural conclusion, I think I might actually miss my students, despite all the grief they gave me.

It was a relatively quiet day. I had the third and sixth graders wrap up their Scratch projects and submit them as is. My supervisor wants to learn more about Scratch so at some point I’ll send him my lectures to hopefully cut down on his research time.

The iPads for the kindergartners had some new games on them that dealt primarily with spelling, which they really enjoyed. I think though they only really liked it though because every three words they got to pick a part of a rocket ship and then put it together and make it fly. 

Even if the students only liked me because I broke the monotony, I’m glad I was able to make a project of this magnitude come together, despite the bumps along the way. 

Ending transmission for the last time,

Alexandra Nine

The Workshop and The End

by guscheco December 7, 2012


The workshop was here! Everyone worked hard in order to get everything prepared for the event and we were about to have close to 40 middle school students coming by. I arrived around 1:15pm to everyone getting things ready for imminent arrival of the students. 

I began to help by setting up the many tables of the stations for the kids to work on. Everyone was contributing in some way for the set up. Mr. Solin, Abril, and Safia were in charge of the event. We were setting up large sheets of paper for a field in order for the kids to maneuver through a maze. 

We had all the robots built from the day before and were going to work with the students to show how to program a robot to move and use its many sensors. 

As soon as we were finishing up setting up the stations with robots and computers, Parents and students started to arrive. 

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In Which I Take Heart, Land is Within My Sights

by wakawaka-assbutt December 5, 2012

I can’t believe this semester is pretty much over, but at the same time it’s fine by me because I’m finally at that point where everything’s hilarious anyway.


This week (12/7) will be my last visit to St. Viator’s to make sure my students’ projects are completed to my satisfaction and then turned in to computer teacher. The end is so close at hand, I can almost taste it.

Last week (11/30), I suddenly encountered 9,032,745 roadblocks. Well I certainly exaggerate, but it did feel like that everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong for both the 3rd and 6th grade classes. There were technical issues with the school network, so some students’ files were gone completely, amd they basically had to start from scratch because there really wasn’t any hope of recovery. Other students just couldn’t remember what they had named their files, so they needed to be found manually. I had thought at this point mostly everyone would have some semblance of a story completed, but it didn’t really turn out that way, so I ended up sitting down with the teacher before class started and nailing out some Scratch commands I definitely wanted to see met:

  1. Movement
  2. Talking/Dialogue
  3. A background other than blank white
  4. Minimum of two characters
  5. Minimum of one sound effect

I figured those five things pretty much covered everything I’ve tried to teach them the last two weeks. This week is the last chance they’ll have to wrap up what they have and submit it. After some thought, I also decided to nix having the students present their projects. They’ve pretty much demonstrated to me that they don’t work well as a class, and that their time would be better spent finishing what they have and just turning it in.

The kindergartners were fortunately a little easier to handle. At some point before the holiday break the teacher found a few new educational apps centered around spelling and some basic mathematical operations, like addition and subtraction, and the students were definitely more excited to work on the iPads that week than they’ve been in the previous weeks.

Overall, I think I’m happy that this is my last week. This project is winding down to its natural demise, and I’ve done everything I can possibly do and then some for this Scratch project, and I can’t really ask anymore of myself no matter the outcome.


Ending transmission, 

Alexandra Nine

The Set Up

by guscheco November 30, 2012


Today was a very fun day. We had to set up for Saturday’s Robotics Workshop. Around 40 kids for grades 6-8 were coming to Northside to work with our robotics in order to learn about Computer Programming and Robotics. Everything was being organized and run by the Robotics Teams/Colloquium Class. What we had to do was assemble about 20 robots for the kids to use on Saturday. 

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The Clean Up

by guscheco November 30, 2012


Today was a cleanup day. After scrambling to get our robot working and taking it to a friends’ house to finish, we have parts everywhere that needed to be organized and a mech room that was a mess. It was a relatively quiet day as the competition had passed and while we did OK, the feeling of wanting more was in the air. We cleaned and moved stuff around for about an hour. No one in a particular kind of rush to get things done. 

I was only until about 445 and after a few people had gone home early that I wanted to try to drive the girl’s robot. So after the girls fixed the strings so that the lift would work, I began to drive the robot. Immediately I saw the limits and faults of the driving. Having to manually stop after every command was a pain. 

Eric saw this and took a look at the code. After a little bit of tweaking, we were off and running. 


Everyone was so happy that it was working. I later shared the video in an email thread and everyone was ecstatic. The girls robot worked and it worked rather well. Even though the girls didn’t do as well in the competition, they built a really good robot. They should be proud of that.

- Gus

Mentoring at Hamdard

by krusniak November 26, 2012

The kids had fun this week working on a Scratch version of Mad Libs that I found posted in the ScratchEd resources.  While I like to create the projects myself some weeks, it’s interesting to see what other educators create/post other weeks when I don’t have time to make a new project and the accompanying handouts.  There are a lot of really fun and practical materials on ScratchEd that I would not have thought of and that use the operations we talk about in slightly different and creative ways.  After creating the basic module, the kids experimented with different question/answer combinations and characters/backgrounds to enhance the stories.  As usual, they’re most excited about the 15min free-time they get at the end of our evening sessions, but I have to say I’m impressed that they still are so enthusiastic and personable at 5:30pm after long days already filled with school and homework.  My one concern right now is that the females at the start of class seem to go missing after the first several classes.  It happened this summer too.  I’m not sure if they lose interest or get busy with something else.  And there’s only 1-2 at a time anyway, so it’s not much to start.  In any case, I’ve been leaving behind handouts for other kids at Hamdard to use if interested and they always disappear.  So I hope a few of the many girls I see around the center are finding these.  I was thinking to also try some new tactics for increasing interest for girls and all the children by leaving other informative handouts and trying other kids programming systems like Alice, Mozilla Thimble, etc.  Seems a lot of the kids are being introduced to Scratch in school, so maybe some kids are just leaving the workshop because they don’t feel like they’re learning anything new.  

In Which I Rope Souls And See The End Is Nigh

by wakawaka-assbutt November 23, 2012

Now that the holiday has passed I have some time to pick up where I left off with these posts. Thankfully I’m not as far behind as I thought I was, due to the fact that computer classes were cancelled and the kindergartners had a project to do on November 16th, so my presence was not needed.


On November 7th I went with two other classmates to help Dr. Greenberg rope some souls into computer science at a career fair at West Leyden High School. The two gentlemen I came with went out on the floor to preach to the masses, whereas I stayed back by the booth itself, which worked out beautifully because I’m not terribly outgoing around strangers. I had some interesting conversations with the students. Many of them were interested in getting into computer science, but didn’t really know what exactly they wanted to do with computer science. After asking a few basic questions on what they liked to do with/on a computer and/or other electronic devices, the best I could offer was the kinds of experiences I’ve had with the C.S. major here at Loyola, or give them ideas about the kinds of careers they might like to pursue based on their interests. I remember one girl already had taken some classes with networking, so she and I had a lengthy discussion about classes pertaining to networking and security. At the end of the day we actually ended up giving out every single handout, which was a pleasant surprise.

The Friday of that same week (11/9) I was back at St. Viator’s with my students. The 6th graders are moving along at a good pace with their Scratch projects. A few more have finished theirs, or at least they think they have. In the end I have the final say-so over what’s done and what isn’t. The 3rd graders are making progress as well, though not at the pace I expected. Perhaps I aimed too high with my expectations for them. What I may do then is just have them do a scene or two from their short story instead of the whole story, depending on how the next session goes. The kindergartners continued their work with the alphabet and double digit numbers on the iPads, though I think many of them are getting bored with the same four apps. The teacher asked me to find some new, free, educational apps, though the iTunes store has thousands and thousands to sort through and so far only a few might be acceptable. I will hopefully make more progress on that next week when classes resume for everyone. 

Ending transmission,

Alexandra Nine