In case you didn't hear, last week was the Hour of Code. At our school we did a Week of Code at lunch. There were 5 sessions that took place at lunch. I had never coded before or previously tried any activities. I saw an ad for the week, and saw that my department chair was running it in his class, so I made my decision to take part every day. Here is a brief list of what we did!
I must admit, I had a lot of fun with each of these. On three of them I spent an extra hour or so after school to perfect my creations. I am planning on using the Code Monkey game next year to go along with some Growth Mindset material. My approach to that one was that I would only try to finish each puzzle one piece at a time... get the first portion right, then try the second, then try the third. Of course I would really hope that I could magically get it right on the first time... but that was not the expectation. Take a shot, figure out what needs to be re-worked and fix it. This is the mindset that I need to instill in my students. Don't assume that your first try will always be perfect. Don't expect to solve every problem on the first or second try. Talk about it, reflect, and make adjustments. Isn't that how our approach to teaching (or life) should be?
Of course the best part of all this is that my department chair has now joined the Twitter-verse! He saw my tweets on the school website and he saw the Assistant Superintendent tweeting about his classrooom visits. This inspired him to start up his own twitter account and post pictures of the progress that he has made towards his 50 classroom visititations. So give him a follow!( twitter.com/SimiCodeSquad ) And if you are a Simi Elementary Teacher, send him a request to visit your class!
So there you have it! Last week I learned a lot about coding, and by writing this blog I got a bunch of practice with Snagit, Youtube, and embedding videos into a blog! The learning never stops. Check out Code.org for plenty more coding games and applications.
Have you tried Coding in your class? Let me know in the comments about what you did!
If Santa could bring me something to make my classroom better, what would I ask for?
After the last week, I would LOVE to have a seperate A/C unit that I could control myself! I would also LOVE to have an extra four or five feet added to the sides of my classroom. However, while those things would definitely make myself more comfortable and (maybe) help the learning environment, they wouldn't necessarily help me accomplish my long term goals...
Going into this year, my primary goal was to start integrating the regular use of technology in my class. My second goal was to increase writing and discussion. Thanks to my PLN I have a gameplan to get my students writing. However, discussion and debate is "out of my comfort zone", and not something I feel confident instilling in others when it is a source of discomfort for myself. So what I would like to ask Santa for is A Golden Soapbox ! A magical platform that I could put at the front of my classroom, where students would feel comfortable sharing their process and could offer others constructive criticism and would freely offer reasons why they agree or disagree. I know that progress is a long and windy road. And I know it takes a while to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing. But if I could wake up on the first day of class next year, and instantly have 38 students ready, willing, and comfortable sharing, it would be UH-mazing!