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Hillside Students Benefit from Innovation

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Judy Towery shows out the finer points of coding
Above and below, technology teacher Judy Towery works with her students as they master the art of computer coding.
The group gathers beneath the 'Hour of Code' while, at right, students display their work with pride. 

It's Computer Science Education Week (December 5th - 11th), and what better way to celebrate than with Hillside technology teacher Judith Towery. On December 6, Hillside students took part in “The Hour of Code,” a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in over 180 countries. 

In this free after-school workshop sponsored by the Hillside PTA, students enjoyed a hands-on experience using game-based learning environments such as LightBot and CodeMonkey. The children learned how to give directions within these applications in order to make something happen on the computer. For instance in CodeMonkey, they wrote code in a real-world programming language called CoffeeScript, an open-source programming language. 

To learn more about how to get involved in coding and to gain a broader appreciation for computer science, check out "Hour of Code."

In other Hillside news, third grade math and science teacher Bonnie Schatzman received a $916 grant from the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence. The grant will go toward the purchase of Hokki stools, which are ergonomic stools that enable students to keep moving while sitting still during a classroom lesson. The funds will also be used to purchase balance balls and balance discs.

"It helps them maintain better focus, it allows for movement while they are learning," Schatzman told The Montclair Times. "It allows them to really think about the choices that they make in the classroom as to how they're going to learn and work best."

According to the Times, Masiel Rodriquez-Vars, Executive Director of the MFEE said the grant committee was was pleased to support Schatzman’s efforts.

"This, we thought, was really important because this is an initiative that we are exploring," said Rodriquez-Vars, explaining that the MFEE was looking at alternative-seating environments for students in the district.

Updated: 9/25/2017