Code.org is a non-profit dedicated to giving every student in every school the opportunity to learn computer programming. They have partnered with Disney to create tutorials hosted by “Frozen’s” heroines, Anna and Elsa. Disney is also very generously contributing $100,000 contribution to fund Code.org’s work to bring computer science education to afterschool programs around the United States. Disney Interactive offices nationwide will also host their own Hour of Code activities for neighborhood students.
In this one-hour activity, you will learn to write code to help Anna and Elsa create snowflakes and magical “ice craft,” while also learning logic, math and cultivating creative confidence. Then, you can share your creations online or with friends.
Celebrities and technologists, including Polyvore CEO Jess Lee, app developer and model Lyndsey Scott, Microsoft engineer Paola Mejia, and model Karlie Kloss (a beginner who’s learning to code herself), will provide short video lectures to guide students. The girl-power theme of the tutorial is a continuation of our efforts to expand diversity in computer science and broaden female participation in the field, starting with younger students.
Give it a try! It is lots of fun, and who knows, maybe you will be on your way to creating the next “Frozen!”
Interview: Jet Jurgensmeyer of “A Belle for Christmas”
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A Belle for Christmas, available today on DVD, is a cute holiday story of a dog named Belle who comes to live with kids named Elliot and Phoebe and their widowed father (Dean Cain). Kristy Swenson plays Dani, the crafty baker trying to win the father’s heart so she can quit her job, send his children away to school, and enjoy being supported. But she is allergic to Belle. If she is going to move into the house, she has to find a way to get rid of the dog. I had a chance to talk to Jet Jurgensmeyer, the charming young actor who plays Elliot. He might just be the politest actor I’ve ever interviewed.
I asked him to describe Elliot as if if was a friend. “He loves his grandma, he loves hanging with his friend Malcolm, he has a crush on a girl on the other street and he is very outgoing and he loves his dad, you can kind of tell that. And if he needs to he can come with some kind of plans and pranks and stuff.” He said the adults were as good as the children at remembering their lines. “You know we had some fumbles in our lines ever so often. Everybody does but I don’t know I think a little bit of both. Maybe kids are better because they have got that fresh mind.” He loved the two dogs that played Belle. “She was the sweetest thing in the world, she was so cute and fluffy. Two dogs actually. I used both of them. I don’t think I’d ever seen a cream colored shepherd. And when I first saw both of them, I was like ‘Oh my gosh!’ They were like the snow, they were so cute and I guess from the first time when all the kids and the grownups met the dogs it was like, ‘Oh yes this is going to be awesome.'”
The dogs’ trainer helped make sure that Belle performed on cue. “The part in the movie in the beginning where the dog comes out of the lady’s arms and comes over towards me and I pick her up — they actually put some dog treats, I can’t remember if it was on my boots or right next to my boot. So the dog would come over and start nibbling on that and I would pick her up. She actually really did what she was told to do.”
In the film, Elliot and Phoebe can tell right away that Dani is not to be trusted. I asked Jet how they figured it out. “Kids can kind of like see that from like a mile away. We could tell she didn’t care about us – she just cares about our dad. So basically when that happens they are just like…’Okay, this is war.'”
He enjoyed hanging out with the other kids in the cast between film set-ups. “We hang, we tell jokes. In the trailer all the kids had we had bunk beds. Four kids so four bunk beds. So me and my friend Connor we got the top bunks then the girls were on the bottom ones but we every so often, we’d go on everybody else bed. Ee just laughed and had fun. Everybody on the set knew right away ‘This set is going to be really fun. That’s what this is.'”
When he’s not working or in school, Jet likes movies about basketball and soccer. He enjoys the baseball classic “The Sandlot,” too. He likes books about sports as well, and recently read a book about Satchel Paige. He really enjoys acting, but his favorite thing about making a movie is asking questions about pretty much everything. “Why are you putting this right here?” “What’s this lens going to do?” He also enjoyed “hanging with Dean and Kristy” and being reunited with Connor Berry and Avary J. Anderson, who play his friends in the film, and have appeared with him before. “Every time I would see Dean he would always do this trick. It’s that trick which where he is like ‘Oh is that something on your shirt?’ and then he would bang you on the nose and even till this day he will do it to me like three times when I see him. Every single time I will fall for it. I need to have a buzzer that says, ‘Don’t do it!’ but every time I’m like ‘urrrh!’ He’s hilarious.”
And Jet says the best advice he ever got about acting is “just don’t worry about it if you make mistakes. Just have fun with it and go with the flow and if you feel something, go with it and do it.”
Get ready for Halloween with Scholastic’s “Day of the Dead” DVD, featuring four spooky (but not too scary) tales. In the title story, by Bob Barner and narrated by Rita Moreno, two children celebrate their ancestors on this Latin American holiday. A kitten has a wild adventure in “Kitten’s First Moon,” by Kevin Henkes. “Fletcher and the Falling Leaves,” by Tiphanie Beeke, celebrates autumn. And in “The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything,” by Linda Williams, some creepy noises give the title character the first scare of her life.
I have one copy to give away! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with Halloween in the subject line and tell me your favorite thing about this time of year. Don’t forget your address! (US addresses only.) I’ll pick a winner at random on October 21, 2014. Good luck!
I’m delighted to present a clip from the cute new holiday film, The Naughty List. Two young elves, Winter and Snowflake, have a hard time following the rules and are prone to sneaking off for some good elf playtime. But after wrecking the North Pole’s official Christmas tree, the two elf brothers along with a rebellious reindeer named Sparkle find themselves on the dreaded Naughty List. They are forced to do mundane horrible tasks like washing windows, cleaning bathrooms and more but seem to always make a bigger mess than they had to begin with. After the group is regulated to kitchen duty, they somehow manage to give the whole North Pole food poisoning including Santa! Now with only hours to go before Christmas, they are the only ones left to help save Christmas.
Fashion savvy models with Down syndrome are auditioning on March 15 to star in the Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s (GDSF) May 8thBe Beautiful Be Yourself Gala, a high-style fashion show and fundraiser taking place at the Ritz Carlton in D.C. with celebrities, a well-known musical act, and members of Congress. The gala is designed to raise awareness about the chromosomal disorder affecting one in 691 babies and will honor Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Rep. Chris Van Hollen for their support of those with disabilities.
The auditions are taking place Friday, March 15, 2013, 6:00-8:30pm at George Washington University’s Marvin Center. It is great to see opportunities for a wider variety of models to remind us how much beauty is around us.