"I honestly forgot about scratch. But when I looked at it, it was amazing and I don't have time to spend on it because of the amount of homework in 6th grade and in the weekends my dad takes us off the computer sometimes so i have little time to use scratch."
When I read this I told myself that I needed to do something to make time for kids to code, at home or at school, whenever. My feelings were confirmed when I walked into a 6th grade classroom this year that had several of my coding kids from last year. As I spoke to the teacher I heard whispering and comments like, "There she is!" "That's the lady we got to use Hopscotch with last year". One student came up to me and asked if we could do the project again this year. I talked with several of the students and asked them about heir experience. They talked about how fun the project was and that it was hard, especially at first, to learn but that they wanted to do it again. There was a real sense of accomplishment in these students.
You can read more about our 5th Grade Code In Project 2013 here
This year I am encouraging teachers in my school district to code with every student. I believe programming and computer science courses should be a requirement, not an elective. Anyone can AND SHOULD know how to code. It is the universal language of our digital future.
I am using the Hour of Code as a kicking off point for coding in our schools. During Computer Science Education Week, December 9-15, 2013, I am hoping all students will get the opportunity to participate in an hour of coding in their classrooms. Prior to the event I am sending out information and videos that teachers can share with their students to get them excited about the Hour of Code. Below is a 60 second teaser to get students and teachers interested.
This video with James Gwertzman from code.org walks teachers through the Hour of Code event and shows them how to sign up and get their classes involved.
Most teachers are not coders, but this is not a reason to keep kids from coding. The Hour of Code is an opportunity for everyone to get a little exposure to coding. The tutorials being offered are fun and build self confidence. Teachers can learn WITH their students and share that experience together. I completed the tutorial: Write Your First Computer Program. It took me less than an hour and I had a blast programming my Angry Bird to get all the piggies! I even earned this certificate.
There are a variety of tutorials to introduce you and your students to coding. You can even learn to code with no computers using the "unplugged" activity, My Robotic friends. You can check out all of the tutorials here. I encourage all teachers to take one hour and explore coding with their students. Projects like these can inspire students to pursue STEM fields and allows all students to experience success in completing a critical thinking task.
Take a look at the information I sent to teachers to support them in hosting an Hour of Code in their classrooms.
|Click here to go to this Google Doc|
I would love to hear how others are coding in their classrooms and schools. If you have ideas please share in the comments.
- “Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer
because it teaches you how to think.”
— STEVE JOBS, THE LOST INTERVIEW