Upcoming COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics

The Rensselaer County Health Department will be hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinics this summer throughout the county. The vaccine is free and walk-ins are welcome. Clinics include: Onderdonk Park, East Greenbush, NY (Tuesday, August 10, 5-7 p.m., J&J); North Greenbush Town Hall, Wynantskill, NY (Sunday, August 22, 5-7 p.m., J&J); Stewart’s Shops, Nassau, NY (Tuesday, August 24, 1:30-3:30 p.m. Pfizer or J&J). You can also find a COVID-19 vaccine at https://www.vaccines.gov/search

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Students drawing winter town

Students in Bell Top’s Coding Club draw a winter town for their Ozobot robots.

Bell Top fifth grade students crowded around a long sheet of paper in the hallway before school on Monday morning, using colored markers, Ozobot robots and their imaginations to create a Winter Town. They drew toy shops, ice rinks and paths for the robots to maneuver throughout the attractions.

Ozobot codes

Students use this color code reference chart to dictate the robot’s actions.

The fun group project was a part of the school’s Coding Club, which teaches students about coding using sets of instructions.

Students used various Ozobot codes to dictate the speed, direction and moves they wanted the robots to make. Each of the codes shows a black line with red, green and blue blocks in different arrangements. Once the students draw the code on paper using colored markers, the Ozobot robot scans the code and follows the instructions.

“Teaching coding to the students has been a fun and rewarding experience,” said 5th Grade Teacher and Coding Club Adivsor Sheri Valenti. “Watching students naturally create, learn and problem solve with such enthusiasm is a teacher’s dream, and a great way to start our day!”

Each of the district’s elementary schools has its own Coding Club.

Bell Top’s students learn different aspects of coding during the 8-week program. Before using Ozobots, the students used Scratch coding on Chromebooks to create animations and a virtual pet.

“The students are learning valuable skills which require them to think independently while working collaboratively with others,” said Principal Martin Mahar. “In addition to learning how to code, they are also developing their soft skills that are necessary for effective teamwork.”