Saturday, January 3, 2015

Why Hour of Code Matters

Last year a group of fourth grade moms brought Hour of Code to my attention and asked if they could help me facilitate sessions for the fourth grade classes in the library. I said yes without knowing much about what coding was much less what I would have to do to make this happen. Thank goodness for code.org and the step by step lessons that made "teaching" this to those students so easy!

So when our district technology department encouraged all schools to participate in Hour of Code this year in some way, I immediately started working on a schedule for our third, fourth, and fifth grade classes. Other than having to do some "offline" lessons with my first group while Code.org got their website ready for millions of students, all went well and sparked excitement that continued into the following weeks before our Winter Break.

Fourth Grade tried Tynker.com





Third Grade worked on Code.org:


Fifth graders built on their Fourth Grade experience from last year and tackled several lessons:

Some first and second graders tried Tynker too!


And then a fourth grader shared with me his independent work on Scratch:

video

video


Hearing the cheers of students as they successfully complete a puzzle, seeing them help one another, and unlikely leaders emerging were just some of the benefits I witnessed while "instructing" students on coding during the week of December 8-12 in the library. The teachers who came with their classes were impressed with the skills the students needed to use in order to problem-solve and program their computers. All of the teachers told their classes that this would be something they would be allowed to work on again in their classrooms, which was met by cheers of "yes!" from students who were not quite ready to stop when they had to leave for the day.

Coding is one of the languages that our students will have to have some knowledge of as they become the leaders and developers of the future. I can't wait to see what my Kinder, First, and Second graders can do in January as our coding continues!



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