Black Girls CODE Bay Area Chapter Presents: Code A Brighter Future Hackathon

Black Girls CODE is teaming with Colgate to deliver a free girls-only hackathon (6th – 12th grade) as they push young women to “Code a Brighter Future”.


When you picture a promising future, what do you see? What changes do you envision in your community? How is your day-to-day life improved? What challenges do you anticipate we’ll experience with our environment or wildlife? What would you build to make the future you foresee a reality? Use your imagination to create a mobile app that paves the way for a brighter future.

What is a hackathon?

A hackathon is an event designed to bring groups of people together as they work collaboratively to solve a wide-array of problems through computer programming. Black Girls CODE youth hackathons are education focused and allow students to work in teams with experienced mentors over a weekend building apps and tools.

This hackathon will provide each Tech Diva with the opportunity to take part in a three-day youth focused hackathon that encourages creativity and teamwork. Ladies will learn how to design and build apps, concluding the weekend with team presentations and solution demos live on stage!

Who can participate in the hackathon?

The Code a Brighter Future Hackathon is open to girls, grade 6 – 12, of all experience levels. Previous computer camps and STEM exposure are great, but young ladies new to coding and app development are welcomed and encouraged to register as well!

Inviting Tech Divas fitting into the following categories to register today:

  • Girls of all experience levels
  • Girls entering 6th through 12th grade next year
  • Girls who are interested in computer science, STEM, mobile applications, and gaming

What’s the schedule?

Friday, September 22nd: 6:00pm – 9:00pm (registration begins at 5:00pm) – Galvanize, 44 Tehama Street, SF, Ca

Saturday, Sepetmber 23rd: 9:00am – 6:00pm (registration begins at 8:00am ) – Galvanize, 44 Tehama Street, SF, CA

Sunday, September 24th: 9:00am – 6:00pm (registration begins at 8:00am ) – Galvanize, 44 Tehama Street, SF, CA

Click here to register.

Multiplication House Printables

I’m constantly looking for new ways for the girls to practice their multiplication math facts so they have them committed to memory. These multiplication houses from are a great way for the girls to review their math facts with each other using tools that are interactive and fun.
To make these Multiplication Houses, cut the squares of each window on three sides so they open. Mount on another piece of paper. Write the answers to each math problem behind the windows. For example: if it is the house of fives, behind the 3 window you would write 15!
Use them for your kids to practice their multiplication facts. You can attach them together into book form when finished with all of them!

Languages by Difficulty for English Speakers

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the US Department of State has compiled approximate learning expectations for a number of languages based on the length of time it takes to achieve Speaking 3: General Professional Proficiency in Speaking (S3) and Reading 3: General Professional Proficiency in Reading (R3). The list is limited to languages taught at the Foreign Service Institute. Below we have a table of these languages and their difficulty for English speakers. For more information on the FSI scale, known as the ILR Scale, go to the Interagency Language Roundtable site, for an overview of the history of the ILR Language Proficiency Skill level descriptions and scale information.

* Languages preceded by asterisks are typically somewhat more difficult for native English speakers to learn than other languages in the same category.
Category I: Languages closely related to English
23-24 weeks (575-600 class hours)
Category I: Languages closely related to English
30-36 weeks (750-900 class hours)
German (30 weeks / 750 class hours)
Indonesian (36 weeks / 900 class hours)
Javanese (36 weeks / 900 class hours)
Malay (36 weeks / 900 class hours)
Swahili (36 weeks / 900 class hours)
Category II: Languages with significant linguistic and/or cultural differences from English
44 weeks (1100 class hours)
Persian (Dari, Farsi, Tajik)
Category III: Languages which are quite difficult for native English speakers
88 weeks (2200 class hours; about half that time preferably spent studying in-country)
Cantonese (Chinese)
Mandarin (Chinese)
Taiwanese (Chinese)

Tips for Teens – Oversharing: Think Before You Post

I don’t have teens but social media has crept into the vocabulary of my little girls and I know that they anticipate the day that they will have their own social media passwords that they access on their smart phones while they text, tweet, IG, snapchat, etc with their friends. PAASSC will start posting more information about tips to support your youth on social media and safety devices – as I become more knowledgeable in my efforts to protect my own children.

In the meantime I wanted to share this video with clear messages to youth that encourage responsible use of social media.

Made in collaboration with CommonSense Media and Flocabulary,  the experts in educational hip-hop, this animated music video raps about the hazards of oversharing online and emphasizes a thoughtful approach to digital footprints. Tweens, teens, and adults can laugh and learn about the ups and downs of communicating and connecting in the digital world.

Mandarin Movie for Language Learners!!

Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf is an entertaining film for your Mandarin language learner. The premise of the movie is that a “bad guy” thwarts the princess and prince from falling in love and getting married. This changes the story books and adults throughout the land are in tears. When 4 little goats have a chance to help the prince rescue his princess they, along with two adult goats, travel in search of the princess. Their journey has many typical obstacles and successes that you would expect in a children’s movie. The animation, songs, action and plot are all enjoyable. English subtitles make it a plus for parent’s to watch with their children. Hope you enjoy.

Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf (Chinese: 喜羊羊与灰太狼; pinyin: Xǐ Yáng Yáng yǔ Huī Tài Láng) is a Chinese animated television series created by Huang Weiming, Lin Yuting and Luo Yinggeng, and produced by Creative Power Entertaining. The show is about a group of goats living on the Green Pasture, Qing Qing Grasslands/Plains (Chinese: 青青草原), and the story revolving around a clumsy wolf who wants to eat them. The cartoon became enormously popular with Chinese schoolchildren after its debut in 2005. Cashing in on the cartoon’s success, the producer made an animated feature in 2009.


Learning Mandarin from birds

Scholars of the Mandarin Chinese language can learn a lot from birds.

That’s the premise of a new language learning game designed by a Michigan State University researcher and an interdisciplinary team of students.

Inspired by the varying tones of bird species, Picky Birds teaches students the four main Mandarin tones by helping them associate each tone with a corresponding colored bird, said Catherine Ryu, associate professor of Japanese literature and culture, who recently received a patent for the technology on which the game is based.

Catherine Ryu, associate professor of Japanese literature and culture, has received a patent for the technology behind her language learning game, Picky Birds. Photo by Kurt Stepnitz

Catherine Ryu, associate professor of Japanese literature and culture, has received a patent for the technology behind her language learning game, Picky Birds. Photo by Kurt Stepnitz

“Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language, which means the same word can mean something entirely different depending on the tone used,” Ryu said. “And this is fundamentally different than how we use tonal inflections in English.”

For example, in Mandarin the word “ma” (English sound equivalent) can mean “mother,” “flax,” “horse” or “to yell” depending on the tonal inflection used.

Picky Birds is based on research showing brains are wired to associate high pitches with lighter hues, Ryu said. So the birds in her game are yellow for the high even tone, green for the rising tone, blue for the dipping tone and red for the falling tone.

The app is an outcome of Ryu’s Tone Perception Efficacy Study, which she conducted with Aline Godfroid, assistant professor of second language studies, and Chin-Hsi Lin, assistant professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education. ToPES investigated two related questions regarding language:

• How do people perceive, process and retain tones as a sensory perception, especially when the tones in question are not an integral aspect of their own language backgrounds?
• To what extent can people learn to differentiate tones and retain that information?

Ryu will use Picky Birds next month for a Mandarin tone perception experiment, hoping to recruit 40 students without any prior exposure to Mandarin Chinese to participate.

Once Picky Birds is vetted, Ryu will work with MSU Technologies to market the app to users; they expect to begin commercialization in the fall.

In addition to College of Arts and Letters faculty and students, the Picky Birds team includes media and information majors specializing in game design and development in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and a computer music composer who teaches at Mott Community College in Flint.

Ryu hopes to expand her research team to include neuroscientists, graphic artists, creative writers, game developers, web developers, mechanical engineers and social media specialists.

“It’s a high-energy group of collaborators,” Ryu said. “When we all get together with linguists, truly exciting conversations take place.”

Development of Picky Birds was supported with funding from MSU’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies under the Targeted Support Grant for Technology Development program.

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