Category Archives: Spady Blog

Hopscotch Video Game Tutorial

Below is a 10 minute video tutorial on how to build a basic game in Hopscotch. Ignore the introduction as it was created for the Westgate Code Crushers enrichment cluster.  Start with the basic instructions in the video, and then tweak it to make it your own!

Modify the Game:  Instead of falling numbers, try verbs, adjectives, nouns, state capitals, etc.  You can also add a background and a scoring system.

WCS Spring Break Enrichment Classes

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Sorry…All Classes Are Full

Sign up now for Spring Break Enrichment Classes!

During the week of spring break (March 30-April 2), four enrichment classes will be offered to 2nd-6th graders at Westside Community Schools.  All classes will be held at Westgate Elementary at 7802 Hascall St.  Click on the flier below to find class descriptions and times.  Classes are limited to 20 students so sign up today!

Click Here for the Flier

Pixel Art in Hopscotch!

Another great video tutorial has been posted by our friends at Hopscotch.  This video will show you the basics of creating pixel art.  Once you’re finished with the tutorial, you’ll be well on your way to creating more images like the ones below.

When you’ve created your own pixel art, take a picture and share it with the EY Coordinator at your building and we’ll post it on our Student Showcase Wiki.

Happy Pixelating!

Check out what the following Westside students created.

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50 Books All Kids Should Read Before They’re 12

As a mother of 4 active boys, I often struggle to find balance with family time, church, homework, sports, and the day-to-day things that just pop-up.  I recently took my boys to Kearney to stay in a hotel where they could swim and go down water slides.  This was their incentive (OK…maybe it was a bribe) for reading their books and finishing the projects for Battle of the Books.

What I realized in the months leading up to this was that I have 4 boys with very different attitudes and preferences when it comes to reading.  We downloaded a couple of the books to my iPad which my 3rd grader seemed to enjoy.  My 1st grader is in-between picture books and chapter books and isn’t quite independent yet.  My 5th grader prefers non-fiction books about cars and sports, and my littlest one just wants someone to read to him.


This list of 50 Books Kids Should Read Before They’re 12 came in my email the other day from Common Sense Media and I thought it would be a great list to share with parents who may or may not know of some age-appropriate titles for their kids.  Check it out and leave a comment below.  What are some “must reads” for kids in your opinion?  Do you have any advice for motivating kids to read?

What’s Been Going On?

Is it really mid-February already?  Where has the time gone?!  It’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog post, so this one will encompass the past couple months.  I post more frequently on Twitter if you want to check us out there.  You can follow @lynnspady, @wcsey66, and/or @Westgate66.

We spent the beginning of 2nd quarter looking at the basics of circuits.  This video explains the the basics of an electrical circuit and this video explains the difference between series and parallel circuits.  We looked at schematic drawings and studied the symbols for various components in a circuit.


images taken from

After studying the drawings and symbols, it was time to move into Snap Circuit Kits.  Students also created a series and parallel circuit using actual light switches.  Check out some of the pictures and videos below!

Snap Circuit kids make electronics a SNAP!
Snap Circuit kids make electronics a SNAP!
Series and Parallel Circuits
Series and Parallel Circuits

Finally, students put their circuit skills into action by building a Bot Bot.  They earned components (LEDs, motor, coin battery, etc.) for their robot by completing current events. Check out their creations below!

Students will spend the remainder of 3rd quarter creating their very own Super Awesome Maker Show modeled after Sylvia’s Show.  Stay tuned!

Science Olympiad Recap

Question: What do you get when you gather 110 students interested in science and allow them to think creatively, problem solve, experiment and collaborate?
Answer: Learning at its best!

The 2nd Annual WCS Elementary Science Olympiad was a huge success!  Throughout the day, students participated in a variety of events that challenged their thinking.

The Zoo School facilitated a Wildlife Safari event where students practiced their observation and inference skills.  The Barge Building event challenged students to create a foil structure that would float in water and support the most pennies.  Mystery Powders had students identifying substances based on their reactions to different liquids.  Other events included Rock Hound, Straw Tower, Mystery Boxes and Edible Vehicle.

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It was a great day thanks to the organization of Sheree Person-Pandil and John Thomsen from ESU #3.  We also had 9 amazing WHS students who shared their love of science by helping out at each event and facilitating a Science Bowl.


It’s so great to offer these types of opportunities to our students.  Seeing the level of engagement and enthusiasm from the students is what makes our job so rewarding!  Thank you to everyone involved in making this day a success!  Click on the link below to watch a short iMovie trailer of the day.

Click Here to Watch the Video

Series and Parallel Circuits

In order to participate in the circuit mini-course with Mrs. Spady, please watch the following 2 videos and answer the questions on a separate piece of paper or email your answers to me.

Video 1:

The numbers before the question tell you what time in the video when the question is answered.

  1. 00:30-What component is represented by the jagged line in the diagram?  Choose One:  Battery, Resistor, or Diode
  2. 00:40-If there is more than one loop that the electricity can take, what kind of circuit is it?  Choose One:  Series or Parallel
  3. 02:59-What happens in a series circuit when another light bulb is added?  The light becomes  brighter or dimmer (Choose One)
  4. 3:30-In order for a series circuit to work, all components need to be connected.  Choose One:  True or False
  5. 04:13-Let’s say you’re using a 3 Volt battery and 2 lights in a series circuit.  One light measures 1.5 Volts.  What does the other one measure?  Choose One:  1.5 Volts, 3 Volts, 4.5 Volts
  6. 06:15-What happens when you remove a light bulb from a parallel circuit that has 2 light bulbs?

Video 2:

  1. 00.38-What is the part of the light bulb that actually lights?  Choose One: Filament, Wire, or Electron
  2. 00:58-What is flowing through this circuit (the tiny balls moving in the video)?  Choose One:  Protons, Neutrons, Electrons
  3. 01:07-What would happen if the wire was not connected to the positive side of the battery?
  4. 02:14-Electricity will follow the path of least resistance.  Choose One: True or False


Sheep by Valerie Hobbs

I am reading  Sheep by Valerie Hobbs with a group of 3rd graders from Westgate.  I hate to admit it, but this is actually the first reading group I’ve ever conducted during my 16 years of teaching.  Granted, I taught math for 9 years and did technology integration for 5 years, so it’s not like I’ve had many opportunities to facilitate a reading group.  Nonetheless, it’s never too late to try something new.  What I’ve learned so far?  I LOVE IT!

I know I could have “Googled” some ideas for a book group, but I thought I’d stretch myself and come up with some of my own ideas.  Feel free to comment and add suggestions to anything I have listed.

Students used Pic Collage on their iPads to document the different names for Jack throughout the book.  It was a great way to talk about the characters and the experiences Jack had with each of them.


Today I read part of chapter 9 out loud.  As I read, students used Drawing Pad on their iPad to draw the scene.

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When we read about the Goat Man in chapters 3 and 4, I had the students write “Words of Wisdom” since the Goat Man was known for his Words of Wisdom cards.  Next time we meet, we’re going to make bookmarks with their Words of Wisdom and illustrations.  I’m hoping that I can send those to the author and have her autograph them.  🙂  Here are some of the Words of Wisdom the kids came up with…

  • Some people look for a great place.  Others make a place great.
  • Be who you are and say what you feel because those who matter don’t mind.
  • Stop hating yourself for everything you aren’t and start loving yourself for everything that you are.
  • Do what you love and stick with it.
  • Love and grief grow in the same garden.

What are some of your Words of Wisdom?  Leave a comment below!