Doing the Unthinkable
This was my initial reaction when I received the invitation to participate in the "Hour of Code".
I would like to share what occurred over the past three weeks, from planning to deploying the Hour of Code:
Hour of Code Prep
I signed up for an account and set up my classes (6th-12th grade)
I then created an assignment on Edmodo and posted the instructions along with the class code for easy student access.
Promote: Parent, School and Community Involvement
I made modifications to accommodate our particular needs and sent them out to parents, teachers and our communications department.
1. Inspire Students
To kick off the HoC and get the students excited, we watched these two videos:
The Hour of Code is Here and What Most Schools Don't Teach
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I absolutely love the quote “Learning to program is like learning a new language; you won’t be fluent right away.“
This hit home to every single one of our students. We are an international school located in Brazil and every student has learned or is in the process of learning a new language.
3. Provide Clear Directions
When students come across difficulties
- “Ask 3 then me.” Ask 3 classmates, and if they don’t have the answer, then ask the teacher.
- Encourage students and offer positive reinforcement: “You’re doing great, so keep trying.”
- It’s okay to respond: “I don’t know. Let’s figure this out together.” If you can’t figure out a problem, use it as a good learning lesson for the class: “Technology doesn’t always work out the way we want. Together, we’re a community of learners.”
Unleash your students for an amazing experience in code.
Our 4th grade teacher of Brazilian History and Geography, Mr. Fabio Cruz, jumped on board and had his students participate in the Hour of Code.
When the bell rang announcing the end of class, the students cried out "Already?!". We had students coding on their iPads as they walked out the door.
Future Plans: Beyond an Hour of Code
- Improved Tech Curriculum
Saying that the Hour of Code was a success is a huge understatement. My initial fear of teaching coding is completely gone and I am now in the process of developing a unit of Computer Programming within my tech curriculum (to teach during 4th quarter this year) with the intention of transforming it into a full year course in the upcoming school year. I know this will not be an easy task, but I am developing partnerships with experts from within our school community to help support this initiative.
- Technology and Mathematics Collaboration
As I worked through the lessons, I realized how closely related to Math coding actually is. The logical reasoning and order of events made me appreciate the beauty of Mathematics even more. I decided that this would be a perfect opportunity to collaborate with the math department and enrich the learning experience of our students. I have already discussed this idea with one of our math instructors and he has enthusiastically agreed to collaborate. I believe that this partnership will be transformative for student learning.