This week our kindergarten through fifth grade students participated in Hour of Code. This is the second year we've set aside time to introduce students to computer coding, shared information on why coding is useful, as well as potential careers that include computer programming. Some teachers also showed the following video to set the stage for the Hour of Code.
To facilitate the computer code learning we used Code.org's studio. This website uses student friendly characters including Frozen's Elsa and Anna, Angry Birds, and Flappy Bird, videos, and step by step directions to teach coding. I was extremely impressed with the perseverance and collaboration of our students as they completed each puzzle. We even had a few students go home that night and continue their coding journey, only to come to school the next day thrilled to tell us they earned their Hour of Code Certificate of Completion! Not to be one to miss out on a learning opportunity, I decided to model the problem solving and coding skills I wanted students to employ, and earned my own certificate as well.
While taking a small portion of a day or week to introduce our students to coding doesn't guarantee they will become the next Steve Jobs or MIT graduate, it is a learning experience. As one of my favorite authors, Dave Burgess, says "The lessons they'll forget, but experiences they'll remember forever."
4th and 5th Grade Students Learn to Code!
As part of Computer Science Education Week our 4th and 5th grade students participated in the Hour of Code. We chose Khan Academy's Hour of Code website because we liked the video tutorials, and felt that the easy to use interface would be best for our students. As the name implies, during this hour our students learned basic computer coding through videos and challenges. The response from students was mixed, some were glued to their screens and did not want to stop, others were quickly frustrated. For those who enjoyed the experience, they learned basic coding, and a few went on to Kahn Academy's advanced coding lessons. One student moved on to using Scratch and even creating his own 3D dog catcher game through AgentCubes! Whether you have one student, or an entire class that are interested in computers, I highly recommend you explore the free coding resources available, and introduce them computer coding!