Friday, December 23, 2016


The Windsor-Essex District School Board has been buzzing these past few weeks with students engaging in Hour of Code activities.  The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. 

Keep reading to enjoy some of the highlights.

Immaculate Conception and St. Louis Elementary School
Shared by: Jacqui Gaffan

A total of 15 classes from grades JK-5 at Immaculate Conception and St. Louis participated in the Hour of Code between December 5-9. We discussed important terms such algorithms and debugging, and got right to coding. The students were so excited and dove right into using blocks to code various games such as Minecraft (student fav), Moana, Angry Birds, and Flappy Bird. When they were stuck on which blocks to use, they did an excellent job at problem-solving with a partner, and never gave up. They were also pumped to receive certificates for their hard work. Students at both schools loved coding so much that we will definitely go beyond the Hour of Code and explore other coding opportunities in the new year.

Some comments from students and teachers.
"I love coding, wish we could do this every computer class."
"I like using the blocks to help the Angry Bird move to get the pig, it's so easy!"
"I want to do this when I grow up."
"I wish I learned this when I was a kid." - Teacher

"I think it's amazing what you are doing with these kids, what a great way to move them into the future of technology." - Teacher

St. James 
Shared by: Vince Fracia

Students in Mr. Fracia's Grade 3 class led the way at St. James.  Once they were finished their hour, they assisted in other classes as well.  

After completing the Hour of Code, students at St. James are continuing their learning using Scratch.

H.J. Lassaline
Shared by: Joumana Tawil


St. Mary's French Immersion
Shared by: Jeremy Schiller

Thursday, December 15, 2016

First Lego League - Windsor Regional Competition

There was a lot of excitement at St. Clair College as the First Lego League held their Windsor regional competition on December 3 and 4th. 45 schools competed from Windsor-Essex County. Among the participants were 12 schools from the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board.  

These include: Cardinal Carter Middle School, H.J. Lassaline, Holy Cross, Holy Name, L.A Desmarais, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Sacred Heart, St. Anthony, St. Pius X, St. John de Brebeuf, St. Joseph and St. William.

This year the theme was Animal Allies.  Students were invited to roar, bark, quack or squeak as this year the competition was all about furry, feathered and finned friends.  Each team demonstrated their coding, creative and collaboration skills.  Each team was judged on their robot design, FLL core values and their solution to an issue related to human/ animal interactions.

The WECDSB is excited to share that the following 4 teams will be advancing to the provincial championship which will be held in Waterloo on February 4 2017:

Highlights from our four teams that will be heading to regionals:

Cardinal Carter Middle School
Robo Chicks Cardinal/Leamington Livewires
(Teacher:/Coaches: David Kostanjevec, Ida Ricci-Minaudo, Rima Mastronardi)

As a new school, this robotics experience was cited by our team members as a unifying opportunity to meet new friends. Both teams put countless hours before school, after school and weekends getting ready for the big competition. The boys team won the 1st place champions award.

The girls team placed 3rd in addition to winning a presentation award. Both teams now advance to the provincial championship at the University of Waterloo. We’re very proud of these kids and the hard work they continue to put in.

H. J. Lassaline Lightning

(Teacher Coach: Carrie Gagnier/2nd Coach: Jeff Gagnier)

Lassaline competed for the first time this year, so we were a rookie team and did not know what to expect. The students spent every lunch recess and after school to learn and perfect their performance.

Our team was the first team in Ontario to complete the Animal Conservation Mission. We placed 2nd overall and are off to Waterloo to compete on February 4th. Our team's motto, "We're all in this together". ​

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Master Builders
(Teacher Coach: Brian Angus)

We competed Saturday and enjoyed the day.  Our team had many failures and successes throughout the day, but ultimately ended up doing very well.

The student's project was selected as the Most Innovative Solution.  We also qualified for the Provincial West qualifier in Waterloo for Feb. 4th. 2017.

Our highlight has to be the surprise 80 points our robot earned during the competition. (Special thanks to Lassaline here) This truly put us over the top.

Coding Craze @ Notre Dame Catholic Elementary School

This week, the entire student body at Notre Dame Elementary School, JK - Grade 8,  participated in Hour of Code activities.   When I stopped in to check out all the excitement, I quickly realized that Coding at Notre Dame was much more than an activity, it is a movement.  In addition to coding with their Grade ½ and Grade 8 class, I had the pleasure of spending time with two members of their Coding Club, Antonio and Gabriel. These two coders blew me away with their knowledge, passion and ability to create and share games online.  I encourage you to take some time to read their journey below.

Notre Dame Coding Club
When we first announced coding club we had a lot of students interested.  During coding club we all go into the Hub and we get devices and start working.  Some kids are working in, some play on Lightbot and some of us are making games.  

The coding club meets once a week, but we like to come as often as we can.  

Last year Mr. Hooper and Ms. Ouellette put out a Game/App Creation Contest for the Coding Club.  We (Antonio, Gabriel, Hunter and Massimo) not only made a game, we made an entire gaming site, called Arcade Mania. We created games called Tap Band, Brick Breaker, Pong and Tappy Road. We modelled our games after existing games, but this year we made our own from scratch.  

We created a survey to see how people like our games and what their favourite games are.  Our survey currently shows Tappy Road is our most popular game and our least popular is Brick Breaker.  We would appreciate it if you could try out our games and take our survey.

My favourite game is the Pizza Simulator. I spent a lot of time making it and it is one of our newer games.  I like this game because it looks nice, it has music in the background and is fun to play.  People who play this game get to make pizzas. They earn money from each pizza they make and can use it to build their restaurant.  

My favourite game is Santa’s Christmas Adventure.  For this game you drive Santa through the air and drop presents into chimneys.  You have a certain amount of presents that you can deliver within 90 seconds.  The game ends when you run out of time, you run out of presents or you crash into a house.

I learned to be patient and a better problem solver because when something in a game doesn’t work, you have to keep trying to fix it instead of giving up.

Antonio, Gabriel, Massimo
I’ve learned something new as I never knew how apps games worked.  Now I can make simple games, websites and I hope to learn more in the future.  

I would suggest other schools have coding clubs because it is a good opportunity for students to try something new and different.  If all of the schools did coding then we could connect school and have game making competitions.


I would recommend a coding club as it helps to teach kids math, to be patient and problem solvers.  It also teaches us how to work better in groups especially when you get together to make games like we did.