Coding with Kindergarten

Welcome to the next installment of our Guest Blogging Series!  This post comes from Jenna Clarke a kindergarten teacher at Stocklmeir Elementary.

Why yes, you can have fun coding, even a kindergartener can code. Even I can teach kindergarteners to code, with help of course.  When I first heard about the “Hour of Code” I decided to step out of my comfort zone and give it a try.  After all, what is coding?  How does it work?  I asked our tech team for a volunteer to teach my class for the worldwide hour of code phenomenon that I had read about, and waited.  I was fortunate and Audrey Prouse – our Assistant Principal – offered to teach my class.  She came into our classroom and explained very well what coding was, it’s part of technology, and how it is like putting the pieces of a puzzle together. One step, or one piece at a time.

In kindergarten, the first part of the technology piece is learning to use the mouse. We used the mouse to learn directions, left, right, up, and down. Then we used the mouse to navigate the internet browser to find the website code.org.  We were using technology to code by putting the puzzle pieces together and we were now part of the “hour of code” participants.

I was motivated to learn more, so when I received an email from a colleague about the hour of code seminar presented by Embark Labs, I signed up. I attended the seminar, dreamt of coding, and the next day took what I learned and presented it to my class. This is what coding beyond the hour of code looks like in a learner focused kindergarten classroom.

After presenting the 3×3 grid on our carpet, I explained the directions and the “one step at a time” concept.  After we defined the words position and orientation, I shared that the goal was to move the box to each X on the carpet to “light it up” with the least amount of steps. Students were called up to hold the box to determine if the directions called out were a change in position (moving forward out of the cell) or orientation (moving left or right within the cell.) The students were fully engaged and ready to code on their own.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 9.55.55 AM

We used the arrows as symbols when recording the codes on white boards

After the students were clear on the position and orientation concepts of coding they were assigned to groups to write out their own codes to “light up the X.” In small groups they were given a whiteboard, marker, and small dice to help with determining the movement on grids they drew on the whiteboard. Working together the students used the arrow symbols to record each step of the code. Once they had written down the code, they checked their work on the main grid on the carpet.

This was a great learning tool in the classroom to help the students really understand the basics of coding. They were having fun and fully engaged the entire time.

On our next visit to the computer lab, the students were ready to go beyond the hour of code and try some more advanced coding.  At code.org we used our mouse to navigate to find the Lightbot application. Working together and independently the students moved the robot using the arrows that indicated right, left, move forward, and jump. When they had completed the steps they were able to self check to see if their robot was able to light up the cubes. When they completed the task successfully, they were really excited. “We are coding!”

Coding in Kindergarten, why yes, they can!  Watching my students go from learning how to use a mouse, start the computer, navigate google, finding the website, use the applications to code, and properly log out of the computer, was a wonderful experience.

Advertisements

Hour of Code

The Hour of Code begins next Monday, December 8th!  The ‘Hour of Code’ is a nationwide initiative by CSEdWeek and code.org to introduce computer programming to 10 million students around the globe.

Why the Hour of Code?  Well that is an easy answer, exposure.  This hour is meant to spark interested in computer science and programming for our young students.  From the 2010 – 2012 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, across all industries there are 136,620 jobs per year be added to the computing field.  According the the National Science Foundation, there is just not enough students enrolling into Computer Science Undergraduate Programs.  Leaving approximately one million jobs available and not enough people qualified to fulfill them. *information taken from code.org

Check out even more statistics in this infographic

There are many tools out there now that offer introductory courses to both children and adults.  To narrow down the process we have provided a list of tools we like best.  You can find them here!

Check back soon to see student projects that will be created next week.  Happy coding!

Code Your Own Monster

Halloween is tomorrow!  Check out this fun little activity that allows students (and teachers) to Create their own Monster with Code.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 9.19.33 AM

The program offers an easy “drag and snap” option to create your code, and will point out what you can change to customize your monster.  You can see my Yeti Here!  I wanted to make my Yeti Giants colors, but I can’t believe they didn’t have Orange or Black as an option.

Keep in mind that Hour of Code is coming up December 8th!  Stay tuned for more details on how teachers can incorporate this into their classroom.

Hour of Code Success in Cupertino

As the new year has started, we are getting more and more great stories of students engaged in Hour of Code in December.  In fact, many students are inspired to continue the lessons and create new ideas.  We thought we would share a few of the stories that we’ve heard that have made Hour of Code a success.

During Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 9-15), history was made when over 10 million people around the globe were recruited to join in and participate in the Hour of Code (http://code.org/). The Hour of Code is an opportunity for every student to try computer science for one hour. Students would have the experience of writing code through a series of exercises.

At Montclair, Krissy Cabot teachers talked about her students:

I am sure this was happening at other school sites but I wanted to let you know about something cool that happened in several classrooms at Montclaire last week.  We partook in a program called “Hour of Code”. Several months ago a woman by the name of Hadi Partovi came up with a dream of having 10 million kids try one hour of computer science.  Her dream came true and over 10 million students participated.  Here is a link to a promotion video: http://code.org/.

All of our fifth grade classes at Montclaire participated on laptops we had some lower grade classes working on iPads. Parents came in to the classrooms and helped, which was great for me because I had never learned to write code so we were all learning together.  The students loved it!  The students had to use the 4 C’s to work together in pairs to write the code for the tutorial they worked on. This led to so many great conversations in my class already about jobs for them and your dreams can come true, dare to dream big.  I know it will be a building block in many conversations for the rest of the year.

Also at Montclaire, Jen Auten worked with her first graders having them program, Daisy the Dinosaur.  They then progressed to programming with Tynker, Kodable and Hopscotch on the iPad.

Kathy Young at Blue Hills had students working through the Code.org.  Several of the students were able to progress through the entire series of activities and earn a rewards card.  She reports:

We met in the computer lab to allow a 1-1 ratio of students to devices.  We watched the introductory video together and discussed the basic “howtos” of getting into the site.  We used our lab’s desktop computers.  Each student created and logged into their account.  Then they worked individually to complete as many activities as allowed in the ~30 minutes remaining.  It was probably the quietest and most-focused class we’ve ever had.  From that day, students have continued to ask to use an iPad during class time to continue their Hour of Code activities.  Many have spent many hours at home completing activities as well.

Kathy’s students feedback include:

Nimitz: Hour Of Code

Blue Hills Elementary School: Hour Of Code

Giulio: Today I will tell you why I think Hour of Code is helpful  I think Hour of Code is helpful because int he future there is probably going to be robots.  Well, you might say, if there is going to be robots, then why do we need to know how to function computers?  Well, because how do we make robots, movies, games, toys, and some machines?  We make all those by computer, and in the future, there will be eve more of those, so that means when my classmates and I grow up, all jobs will be with computers.  An Hour of Code gives you a good idea of how computers work, and you can see how they can be improved.  Well, I hope you liked my paragraph and good luck.
Amy:  Hour of Code is a very scientific game for children who like technology.  I like how the founders of Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and Twitter use Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombie to teach how to program in such a fun, awesome, and fantastic way.  I would give this website 5 starts!  For the whole game, the main blocks are move forward, turn left, turn right, and the repeat block.  I learned how to make a game with a computer with just only a few lines of code.  I want to grow up to invent something electronic like a high-tech engineer as my interest from my dad as a computer science person.
Teja:  I think Code was a helpful site.  It just gave me a head start on computer coding.  Now, I can make codes, after codes, after codes!  Thnks to Code, I have a headstart on computer engineering.  Now let’s talk about what I Code.  Code’s full title is the Hour of Code.  There are mazes you have to figure out, but you have to use the blocks in the slot and you figure out the code.  Each maze gets harder and harder, but you get used to it.  I really hope you get on your computer and try the Hour of Code.  The funny trick is that you finish 20 mazes in an hour!
Keshav: Hour of Code is awesome.  It is computer science.  First, there are stages.  Each stage is different.  Whatyou need to do is that on the computer or on a laptop, you need to make the trace of the drawing or where you have to go.  Second, in Hour of Code, I learned that if you use the counter block 20-100 by 10 and inside you say that make a square and jump forward, it will create 8 squares.  My favorite part of Hour of Code was the last stage.  Now, I told what I learned from Hour of Code.

Rita Cole had her students work on the Code.org as well, and then one of her students took it a step further and created a math app for the iPad and publish it on iTunes. My-ath: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-ath/id689802288?mt=8 Download it now – its free and fun!!

Rohini Tambe from Eaton shared out some of the activities at her school including ways to teach programming without using technology.

Stocklmeir Students Coding

Stocklmeir Students Coding

Over 400 Stocklmeir Elementary students, in 17 classrooms grades 1-5, were a part of this exciting movement whose numbers to date has reached 21 million participants. Students caught on fast and excelled at the activity. Not uncommon, they were able to go far beyond the expectations of the adults involved. Excitement and enthusiasm were in the air while learning a new side to technology. The activity is hopefully just the first step on a journey to learn more about how technology works and possibly find a real passion in programming.

code1

Stocklmeir Students Coding