Kimberly Mendoza » Ms. Mendoza's Biography

Ms. Mendoza's Biography

Greetings! This school year will be my 12th year teaching in CPS and I am beyond thrilled to be facilitating the design of Decatur's Makerspace program. As we begin our fifth year of programming of Makerspace, I commit each day to build a culture of creativity where each child feels empowered to persevere through the challenges they will encounter on a daily basis; as well as ensuring our students are developing the skills needed for 21st century job opportunities.
Throughout this course, students will be challenged with developing an idea for a project, designing and redesigning a prototype of their idea in order to see their project succeed.  Our goal will be to get comfortable with making mistakes in order to create something new and reach our project goals. Last year, 7th & 8th Grade students became leaders in learning how to our new 3D printer and 3D laser printer. Their leadership allowed 4th-8th grade to create 3D designs with the 3D printer and 5th-8th graders to use the 3D Glowforge laser printer. Students are so excited to use it in class this year!
A little about myself: I was born and raised on the southwest side of Chicago (Go Sox!) and I currently live on the northwest side with my husband, Chris and son Ezekiel. I received both my Bachelor's and Master’s degree from the University of Chicago. I love to run and spend as much time by Lake Michigan as possible. I ran my second Chicago Marathon in 2018 and I spent this summer training for a half-marathon. I'm sure the third marathon will be right around the corner. I love what I do and look forward to a wonderful and creative school year!


Makerspace @ Decatur

Makerspace is a very unique course for students to imagine, tinker, create, question, collaborate, experiment and invent in an encouraging environment. When we make mistakes in class, we recognize failure isn’t the end but an opportunity to take a new path towards our goals. We persevere to rethink and try our design and ideas again. Check this video out to get a glimpse of what students create in Makerspace!

Welcome Back!

I can’t wait to hear updates on how you are doing and learn about any fun creations you have been able to make during the summer! In the meantime, get pumped up for Makerspace by checking out this video! Looking forward to seeing you soon!

*Summer Maker Mats*

Hello Decatur! 
It's been *AMAZING* to see how much everyone's creativity has grown this year! Checkout these 'Summer Maker Mats' to keep you problem-solving and staying creative this summer! I hope they inspire you to make a new design and to have a lot of fun!
Perhaps you'll even use it or come up with your own idea to create 'family challenges' where each family member needs to make their design. You can even work in teams! Have a fabulous time and keep on making this summer! Ms. M

Design Challenge: "Create an Obstacle Course"

JMS students were challenged in their Wk. 9 & 10 Maker Mats (a choice board with different options to design) to create an obstacle course. One 5th grader took on this challenge and designed an obstacle course (maze) for their pet gerbil! They even edited it with titles and background music. Make sure to check it out and wait for the surprise at the 0:50 second mark! Hope you enjoy!

Maker Mat Projects

"Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun." - Mary Lou Cook It's been exciting to see the projects students have been creating during this time! Here is a snapshot of how Decatur students have shown their creativity over the past couple of weeks. Maybe it will even inspire you to get creative. :) Enjoy!

Remote Learning Begins April 13th!

Hello Decatur families, 
Please see the attached parent letter (PDF) for Remote Learning from the Decatur Junior Middle School Team. As as a reminder, Remote Learning will begin in CPS on Monday, April 13th. A copy of this letter will also be shared with your students in their Google Classroom accounts. 
Please reach out with any questions you may have.
Have a great and safe spring break! 
- Decatur Junior Middle School Team 

*Essentials* Remote Learning Update: Parent Letter

Hello Decatur families, 
Please see the attached parent letter (PDF) for Remote Learning from the Decatur Essentials team. A copy of this letter will also be shared with your students in their Google Classroom(1st-6th Grade) accounts. 
Please reach out with any questions you may have.
Have a great and safe spring break! 
- Decatur Essentials Team 

*Essentials* Remote Learning: Class Expectations

Hello Decatur families, 
Please see the attached PDF of Class Expectations for Remote Learning for Essentials classes. A copy of this presentation will also be shared with your students in their Google Classroom(1st-6th Grade) accounts. 
Please reach out with any questions you may have. Have a great and safe spring break! 
- Decatur Essentials Team 

Maker Mat Projects: March 17-23

In our new E-Learning format, students in Makerspace have been using a "Maker Mat" - a creative choice board designed to promote creativity and inventive thinking at home. Students may choose the activities they'd like to create using whatever materials they can find at home, such as paper goods, items from nature and crafting supplies. It has been *AMAZING* to see students' creativity in their project submissions, either via e-mail (K-2) or Google Classroom (3-6). Here is a *brief* snapshot of the work students have been creating at home. I hope they put a smile on your face, just like they did for me. Be on the lookout for more projects once we gain more media consent! Take care! :)
THANK YOU to students and families who donated to Decatur's 2020 Food and Hygiene drive! 4th Grade (Rm. 112) earned 3rd place in our school's competition, which helped Decatur beat last year's number of donated items. Way to go 4th grade and to all Decatur families who donated! 

Makerspace: March 2-6

Kindergarten went on a scavenger hunt identifying items designed by engineers and analyzing the structure and function of these designs. 1st graders explored how sound travels by experimenting with a phone made of cups and string. 2nd graders explored the properties of matter, specifically color and texture, of 'monster trucks'. They have fun racing the cars afterwards. :) 6th graders in Rm. 109 finalized their circuit designs and will begin their robotic unit next week! Meanwhile, 6th graders in Rm. 107 have just received their circuit materials and have made great progress in figuring out to make a paper circuit using copper tape, a battery and an LED light. Can't wait to see what we make next week!

Makerspace: Feb. 24-28

This week, 1st graders explored a several stations in their "Light and Sound" unit: Ss rotated between using a stethoscope to hear their heart beat and experimenting with both metal water bottles and plastic bins with rubber bands to determine how different ways that they could make sound. 2nd graders have begun their new unit on "Properties of Matter". Students have begun to analyze 'color' and 'texture' and will be spending time analyzing these in monster trucks in class! 6th Graders in Rm. 107 did extremely well in their concluding their robot unit. Shoutout to Group A who respectfully debated about the fairness of the constraints and penalties while their robots were going through the collection zone! It was a bittersweet moment for Rm. 107 to say goodbye to their robot chassis'! JMS students also celebrated their February incentive with creating stop-motion videos

Makerspace: Feb. 10-21

We've been busy in Makerspace! 6th graders in Rm. 109 have been creating unique circuits. Shoutout to Roy who designed a basketball hoop to light-up when a basket was made! 4th graders were designing wind turbines to see firsthand how motion energy can be converted into electrical energy. 6th Graders in Rm. 109 have continued to finalize timed trials on their Vex robots - trying to collect as many "hazardous" (lego) blocks they can collect in under 2 min. The pressure is on! 3rd graders also got a chance to see balanced and unbalanced forces in action by creating their own teeter totter made up rulers, binder clips and paper clips. 5th graders began their coding unit by beginning to assemble Jimu robots. Once built, students will be able to develop a project that will highlight their Jimu. Stay tuned for progress updates!

Global School Play Day in Makerspace!

On February 5, Decatur celebrated "Global School Play Day" in grades K-3; a day where students take a break from traditional classwork to use their imagination and creativity. Students in 2nd grade, were inspired to build the tallest cup tower they could. The amount of energy in the room and teamwork that was used to create the tower was amazing and inspiring to see. Students didn't quite make it to the April 2019 Guinness World record for the largest plastic cup pyramid set in Mexico City, which used 73, 810 cups but they did a fantastic job! How tall of a pyramid can you build?