Hour of Code Week

hour-of-code-logo

My favorite week in December is Hour of Code week. Hour of Code is really supposed to be an hour of coding. However, in the library I extend it to an entire week, so all of my classes can experience coding.

mark-z

Hour of Code is a week-long introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts. Check out the tutorials and activities.

hour-of-code-map

This grassroots campaign is supported by over 400 partners and 200,000 educators worldwide, including our school! We are one of those teeny dots on the world map. All of our K-5 classes participated this year. In primary we focused on the Moana tutorial.

moana

According to the website, since 2014, The Walt Disney Company has worked with Code.org to build Hour of Code tutorials featuring Disney characters that inspire kids of all ages to try coding. “The new Disney Hour of Code tutorial uses a visual programming language using blocks where students simply drag and drop visual blocks to write code.

code-formoana

Visual programming is a fun and easily understood way to teach the logic of coding. Exposure to visual programming lays the foundation for text-based programming, a more complex activity. The tutorial is targeted for kids ages 8+ and those trying coding for the first time.

img_2260

We have a significant number of students whose first language is not English. One of the significant strength of the Hour of Code tutorials is that they are available in 23 different languages. On Friday afternoon, we had students coding in English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Russian. Seeing the smiles on their faces when they could read their own language was priceless.

img_2322

 

All week long I repeatedly heard students cheering  “I did it!” as they successfully figured out a command sequence. Remember, it’s not limited to school. Try coding at home too!  Visit the Hour of Code website and try any of the tutorials at home.

The intermediate classes tried something completely different. I know the majority of these students have some coding experience, so I took their computer science exposure to a different level. With the Windows 10 app, Lifeliqe, we entered the world of virtual reality! Lifeliqe has over 1,000 3D interactive models of K-12 aligned with common core curriculum. Lifeliqe makes deep-learning fun!

img_2277

img_2254

 

In January, we will be combining the Lifeliqe models with database research to create an interactive, research project! I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Lifeliqe this year and experiment with how elementary aged students can benefit from learning with virtual reality 3D models.

During Hour of Code week it was fun to see students throughout the school participating. In music the students learned that a musical score, is much like computer coding.

img_2297

The kindies learned that you don’t have to have a computer to learn coding basics. They did some unplugged learning with a parent volunteer!

carroll

Some FAQs about computer science:

Every student should have the opportunity to learn computer science. It helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. By starting early, students will have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path. See more stats here.

Launched in 2013, Code.org® is a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Code.org’s vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science. Code.org believes computer science should be part of core curriculum, alongside other courses such as biology, chemistry or algebra.

*All background facts are from the Hour of Code website.

 

Print Friendly

Hour of Code Week

We just finished 5 days of Hour of Code week. Many of the teachers used the Hour of Code website and tutorials like Minecraft, Star Wars, Angry Birds, Ice Skating to promote in our school. I had countless questions about whether kids could do this at home too! Yes! Hour of Code doesn’t have to be something you do at school. You can experiment with the games at home too. Go to https://code.org/learn for lot of options.

Here’s a short video that Josh Moore, one of our district Tech TOSA, created about our Hour of Code activities.

Hour of Code 2015 from Tech Tosa on Vimeo.

 

In grades K-3 we focused on Robotics with our new Bee-Bots. A Bee-bot is an exciting new tool to teach robotics, sequencing, critical thinking, problem solving while having lots of fun! The children use directional keys to enter a sequence of commands, push GO! and send Bee-Bot on its path. The robot eyes light up and flash when it has finished its program. As the children became used to the commands, simple sequences became more and more complex as they guided Bee-Bot around the mats. The children learned programming skills and had a blast in the process.

hourofcode26

bee-bots
IMG_7360

The Bee-bots are made in the UK and brought to the US by Terrapin Tools for Thinking which is, according to their website, one of the oldest and most experienced educational software companies. A huge shout out to Donor’s Choose and the Chevron Corporation for funding my grant!

hourofcode14

In the intermediate grades, we worked with the games on  https://code.org/learn.  Mr. Larry Golding, a Microsoft programmer and his wife helped us with the Minecraft, Star Wars and other games on the Hour of Code website.

hourofcode15

hourofcode12

In the 5th grade classes we did some beta testing  with the BBC micro:bit devices. The BBC micro:bit is a very simple computer. It is programmed using another device like a computer, smart phone, tablet, etc to write the program, which is then compiled and downloaded onto the BBC micro:bit. The device has a display made up of 25 LED lights which light up when it runs the program.

hourofcode30

hourofcode32

The purpose of the BBC micro:bit is to offer a gentle introduction to programming. It’s designed to be a starting point to get students interested in coding so they can move on to other, more sophisticated devices in the future.

hourofcode34

The BBC micro:bit is supported by Microsoft and we were very fortunate to have one of the programmers on the program, Michael Braun, bring the devices to our school as part of their beta testing. Michael and I know each other from the Microsoft Expert Educator program and it was so much fun to experiment with a device that isn’t even available to the open market yet.

hourofcode37

Our Hour of Code was a week-long introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics. All week long I repeatedly heard students cheering  “I did it!” as they successfully figured out a command sequence. Remember, it’s not limited to school. Try coding at home too!

hourofcode42

(Information obtained from  BBC micro:bits handout, Hour of Code, and Bee-bots websites.)

Print Friendly

Showcasing Creativity

 

I’d like to end the 2014 school year on a super high note by showcasing three students who have been doing some incredibly creative activities at home. It’s one thing to learn how to use a tool. It’s another to take that skill and push the boundaries to make something new and different. These students show creativity, innovation and dedication to their craft.
Meet Kayla

Kayla began coding two weeks ago with the Hour of Code week. She worked through the ice-skating with Anna and Elsa activities on code.org  first.

kayla example

Next she figured out how to create these drawings. Talk about incredible! What impresses me about these pieces is the colorful patterning. They are works of art!

IMG_3963

Meet Kaito
Many of our students participated in the PTSA sponsored art contest this year. The theme was “The world would be a better place if….. ” Kaito decided the world would be a better place if we had a clean earth. Using his Legos, iPad and the Lego stop-motion movie making app, he wrote, set up and filmed this movie. He inspired other students at our school to try creating a stop motion movie too.  Here’s a Clean Earth:

Meet Logan
The last student I would like to feature is the Rubics Cube King. Logan can solve a Rubics cube in record time. Hand him one and before you can say, “How did you do that?” – he is finished and the puzzle is solved. I just found out that he helps other people solve these puzzles by making videos. Thanks Logan for making this understandable!

If you know someone at school that I need to feature because they are doing something on their own time that uses technology or literacy (books), please let me know in a comment! Absolutely NO LAST NAMES!
Happy Holidays! See you in 2015!

Print Friendly

Celebrate Coding!

 

1csweek

This week is computer science education week and for the very first time, the Bulldog Readers are going to participate in the Hour of Code.

2hour-of-code-logo

What is Hour of Code? It’s an opportunity for you to try coding for yourself to realize that anyone can learn how to code!

3hour of code

A lot of people think that coding is something that other people do. They think it’s too hard, but really it’s not. It’s all about problem-solving and logic – really important skills that you can use anywhere. So join in at home!  Go to Hour of Code and try the tutorials. You can also go to the Bulldog Reader Online Catalog and view the coding games there. Earn a certificate and joins the tens of millions of students around the globe who are part of the largest learning event in history!  Here is President Obama kicking off the 2014 event!

Please also remember that we are a finalist in the Best Library Blog category in the Edublog Awards. Voting closes December 15th. Click on this link and give us a thumbs up!

 

Print Friendly