Saturday, 10 January 2015

Beyond the Hour of Code

“With coding you can do anything your mind wants to do”
~SCDSB Grade 6 Student

Many students in SCDSB participated in the Hour of Code and were exposed to coding. 

Now what? 

Here are a few ideas for moving beyond the Hour of Code and integrating coding into your classroom and school:

1) Beyond One Hour of Code with
  • Code Studio offers four 20 hour courses for beginners that uses a variety of unplugged and online activities. Designed for K-8 students, the courses use block programming to create interactive games, stories and art. Teachers can sign up for a free account to track student progress and access lessons and resources. Ensure students have permission from their parents and review online safety criteria before students create their account.
  • CS in Science uses modelling and simulation to teach programing through modules on water as a shared resource, ecosystems and chemical reactions.
  • CS in Math offers 9 units designed to teach algebraic and geometric concepts through video game design. Students solve word problems and learn about concepts like order of operations and function composition through a real world and hands on approach. 

2) Engage in a Coding Inquiry
Extend learning and excitement sparked by the Hour of Code through a coding inquiry. Explore questions such as: How does your computer think? How can Coding help you? What are the benefits for learning to code?  What skills are developed through learning to code? What do computer programmers do? Is coding only for computer programmers? How do I learn more about coding/computer programing? Research online, search this blog for ideas using the Why Learn to Code tab or ask a SCDSB programmer your questions

3) Making our Thinking Visible through Sharing
  • Create a class Twitter account and summarizing learning in 140 characters or less. Follow us @SCDSBcodes and tweet us what you’re learning about.  
  • Commenting on a post on our CodeBox blog or write a post for our blog. Your post could be a paragraph or an example of something you have created. Contact us if you’re interested.  
  • Students can create a blog to share video reflections about their learning with tips for others or a series of tutorials that can be shared on YouTube. Students can create their learning videos using the Google extension Screencastify to record their activity in Chrome.
  • Connect with another classroom in your school, another SCDSB school or a classroom around the world. A connection is a great opportunity for sharing learning, asking questions, learning from each other and teaching each other. It provides an authentic audience for students that is more than just the teacher and can be a great way to learn about giving and applying feedback. I saw an example of a classroom the other day where kindergarten students were sharing how they learned to code with grade 5 students. It was amazing to watch the interactions, conversations and learning that was happening. 

4) Create and Make your Thinking Visible with Scratch
Students can express their ideas using Scratch and show their creative side making interactive stories, games and animations. Read our blog posts for ideas about Learning How to Program with Scratch.

5) Start a Coding Club with Google CS First
CS First is a program that teachers can use to create a coding club in their school. The materials are free, available online through your GAFE account, targeted at students in junior and intermediate grades, are adaptable and flexible, and use block based coding with Scratch. To access the materials, click the blue sign in button at the top of the program overview page.  

Thursday, 8 January 2015

SCDSB Students are Coders!

Thank you for participating in the Hour of Code with us SCDSB!  We are excited to share, (based on the numbers submitted by teachers on the Google Participation Form) that the total number of students in the Simcoe County District School Board who participated in the Hour of Code was 4 030! Our participation numbers have been reported to Congratulations on giving your students this valuable learning opportunity!

This blog, created to share resources for the Hour of Code has had over 4 000 views, which is an indication of the interest teachers have in participating as well as the success of our coding workshops. The Hour of Code resources on this blog were curated and created by a team of “Coding Collaborators”: Nathan Fisher, Billy Miller, Michele McGuire, Becky Kennedy, Andrew Dold, Tim Hasiuk, Tyler Cave, Anna-Marie Boulding, Marie Swift and Marci Duncan.

As we continue to learn and grow, we would like to use this blog to share the next steps in our journey. Coding is a great way for students to express their thinking and creativity. It helps to build skills in collaboration, computational thinking and perseverance. You can check out the Beyond One Hour resources for ideas and next steps. Also, we welcome the participation of teachers and students to share how they are coding in the classroom! Teachers can share a reflection on what they have learned, how they are taking the next steps after the hour of code or innovative ways they are embedding coding into the classroom. Students may like to reflect on the skills they have learned while coding or share something they have created. If you would like to share your learning on this blog, Tweet us @SCDSBcodes, join or Google+ Community or contact by email.