Friday, December 13, 2013

Community Building Through Hour of Code

We are more than halfway through the week for Hour of Code.  Virtually every class in my school has signed on to participate - including our principal.  My students have been helping out kindergarten classes throughout the week to help them navigate through the levels, distinguish between right and left, and manipulate their mouse.  It was amazing to listen to some of the strategies they were using with the kindergarten students.  I heard modeling (pretended to be the 'Angry Bird'), use of visualization (pointing to the screen), questioning, mnemonic devices (how to remember left and right), scaffolding (providing the first one or two blocks to help get them started), providing a familiar point of reference (likening Blockly to Scratch), and use of non-examples to show them the 'right' way to go.  Wow!  They also expressed how difficult my job must be and appreciate the difference between knowing how to do something yourself vs. helping someone else do it.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Happy Birthday, Amazing Grace!

As we begin the kickoff to Computer Science EdWeek, I took some time to look back in time at the history of computer science.  Today's Google doodle focuses on her and so did we - Admiral Grace Hopper.


We read the following article and watched the "60 minutes Overtime" segment on Grace Hopper.

Great way to integrate non-fiction text, a bit of history, math, and making connections to coding and technology today.  Followed up with students weaving in writing skills as they summarized what they learned about Grace Hopper in a well-organized paragraph.

Hour of Code is here

Hour of Code kicked off today and my class is on the video here shouting out "hour of code." has tutorials and step-by-step videos, instructions and hints to guide even the youngest coder through navigating mazes and other challenges.

"I like the hour of code because it is challenging, but once you get the hang of it, it gets easier.  You not only have to get the correct blocks, you have to put them in the right order.  It gets tricky when you go to the last levels because then you have to use more blocks."

"Do you know about the Hour of Code?  There are 19 stages where you have an inventory of blocks.  You pass the levels and you move onto the next level.  For example, if you are on the artist, you can make colorful artwork with just blocks.  I love the hour of code!"

"I like Hour of Code because you are guided through stuff and not just making things not knowing.  I learned that you need to have a lot of patience to make things."