Friday, 11 December 2015

Coding at Couchiching Heights

Dash the Robot
by Connor

This is the story about how I use dash.

Dash came into my life two weeks ago. I was soo happy.  Ms. Duncan came to visit us and was the one who brought in the robots.. At the beginning  I took  him for a walk around the school because I get stressed out a lot at school.  Taking Dash for a walk helps me feel better.  I used the app ‘Go’ in the beginning.  It is like a remote control for Dash.  Now I use Blockly to drive it.  I have to program Dash in Blockly.  It was hard, but I am getting better at it.  I will be sad when Ms. Duncan needs her robots back and Dash has to go.  

I think that Dash will be helpful in all schools, and for old people/cleaning homes, but mostly for learning.

*Note* This past week Connor has extended himself and became a teacher to the students in our ASD class.  He took Dash to meet the students, and showed them how they could code Dash to move around and make noises.  The students in Ms. Tremain’s ASD class loved Dash and really appreciated Connor’s time and newly developed expertise.  Connor stated after teaching the students for a ½ hour, ‘I’m tired.  Teaching is hard!  How do you do it all day?!’  He was more than eager to go back for a second session though.  

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

CBC + The Hour of Code

CBC has written a lot about the Hour of Code and why kids should learn to code. Here are two activities they shared for learning to code: 

Code a secret message with Trinket and SPYnet. They introduce a tool called Trinket that you can use to introduce HTML to your students. HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and is a computer language used to make websites. The getting started activity challenges students to decode some HTML and create their own secret message (see my creation here). Trinket lets you learn to write code in any browser, on any device (Laptop, Chromebook, iPad).

The CBC created a Scratch activity called The Adventures of Napkin Man. Students open the activity in Scratch and follow the tutorial instructions. Start the activity here.

Trinket also offers free lessons and activities to learn an Hour of Python. Python is a popular programming language for creating and deploying web apps.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Hour of Code 2015

Organize an Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week December 7-13, 2015

Step 1: Learn about the Hour of Code

Step 2: Share your participation in the Hour of Code

Step 3: Determine your technology needs - Computers are Optional
  • Will you have access to computers? Chromebooks? iPads? BYOD? The activities below are sorted by device to help determine what will work in your classroom.
  • Do you have enough for 1:1? If not, use pair programming. When students partner up, they help each other and see that computer science is social and collaborative.
  • If you don’t have access to devices, try the offline unplugged activities.

Step 4: Select your Activity to try one hour of coding
  • Try the activity before the Hour of Code. This will give you an idea of what students will experience and help you to answer questions during the activity.

Step 5: Do an Hour of Code
Inspire students and explain what “coding” is with a video:

Direct Students to the chosen activity.
  • If your students run into difficulties try these strategies from
    • Tell students, “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.” And: “Learning to program is like learning a new language; you won’t be fluent right away.“

If students finish early challenge them to:

Step 6: Celebrate and Share your Learning