Saturday, December 26, 2015

#HourOfCode 2015

Hour of Code!! One of my favorite weeks of the year! We work in my classroom to encourage others in our community to join us for #HourOfCode during Computer Science Education Week in December. Each year my goal is to take another step to inspire more people to try to code and each year I search for ways to provide new engaging ways for my students to code. This year, Hour of Code was even more exciting since we have a Code Club! 
Code Club Coaches celebrate Hour of Code
Coding is so engaging and provides an opportunity for students (and grown ups!) to try our programming and get excited for computer science. Coding provides opportunities for collaboration and communication as students work together to solve problems. To be successful in coding you have to use perseverence as you have to try, fail, try, fail, learn, try again, suceed, repeat. Coding is interesting and uses creativity and logic to complete tasks. In a Twitter chat, @VisionsByVicky said 'First you learn to code, then you code to learn' and I LOVE that!

Last spring I was fortunate to complete training with and have the Unplugged Activities and curriculum. This fall, I began a Code Club at our school. I'm a big fan of coding and what it brings to students. Check out my previous journey with Hour of Code here

Before Hour of Code began this year, I offered a time after school to share what I know with other educators. I shared my updated presentation with the staff so they could have the information, as well. I was thrilled that educators other than classroom teachers attended. They were curious and wanted to know about coding, too! My advice was to do one more thing than you did last year. If you had not participated yet, have students try an app. If last year you did apps and sites, this year add an unplugged activity. I provided a cheatsheet to the staff so they could just print and hang the information and let their students take it from there. Our admin provided an hour for our entire school to participate in Hour of Code. All they had to do was allow students to try it out. I later learned from our admin that we had 100% participation! WOOHOO!

Our Code Club worked together to write a script to speak on KSTAR (our schoolwide morning show) to encourage students and get them excited for Hour of Code. We had a countdown on my door and hung motivational posters provided by Our Code Club members worked each week to test and try out sites, apps and unplugged activities to provide expertese in their classrooms during Hour of Code. 

Our entire school spent Monday morning from 8-9am participating in Hour of Code. Since we have some coding experience in our classroom, I expected my students to spend some time testing a new app (or a few) and completing an app review (we use these to test the purpose of apps for learning tools in our digital classroom; see pic below) plus they had to complete an unplugged activity and try a site. A bonus of having your teacher run Code Club is we have Dash in our room all the time (of course others are welcome to check him out of our room, but they didn't that week) Students worked to complete the Hour of Code challenge from Wonder Workshop and they succeeded! I provided more than one hour that week so students could complete these tasks.

Students enjoyed's Minecraft challenge this year as well as Kodable, ScratchJr, Fix the Factory, Box Island, Tynker, and creating their own games on Hopscotch and the Foos. They like and best for websites.

One of my favorite activities all week was a schoolwide unplugged activity provided by our Learning Liaison, Karen Sullivan. She gave several codes each day and we had to follow the program to create a picture. The first day, I made a mistake. We had to debug and try again. Throughout the week, our class kept up with the challenge and even got to share our progress on KSTAR. Students made predictions on what the result would be. We worked with our first grade buddy class each day to see if we were both on the right track. By the end of the week, we were able to confirm our predictions as we completed the task!

We were able to Google Hangout with Karl Tiedi, a programer for Google. He shared so much with us about his job at Google, his work and his hobbies (coding!) and was such an inspiration to so many students. We hope to stay in touch with Karl as we continue to code this year.

Code Club spent their time celebrating Hour of Code by working on their favorite websites, apps and unplugged activities. One Code Club member brought his Ozobot to share. We also worked with Dash to program him to complete tasks. We had a blast! 

My next goals include how to use coding to learn in class plus finding ways to incorporate Dash, Ozobot and Sphero in our classroom. How do you provide opportunities to code in your classroom? Please share below. :)

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