Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Pigeon Gets a Dad by Wyat Sheane

Another one of our Pigeon Project stories is ready!  Wyat's story is available to flip through here or you can watch the version below!

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Kids Who Code Code-a-thon

On Friday, December 12th our class co-hosted the Kids Who Code Code-a-thon with Mrs. Caldwell's Kindergarten class at Oak Lake Community School.  After preparing for this event over the last few weeks, my Grade 2s were very excited to lead their coding activities and share their coding expertise.  I was incredibly proud of the Grade 2s as I watched them teach other (younger and older) students and community members about coding.  Each group of 2-3 students from our class ran a station for the event, which featured tools such as Tynker, Code Monkey, Kodable, Hopscotch, Daisy the Dinosaur, Lightbot , Kodu & Scratch Jr

Over 150 students were involved in the event, yet the OLCS gym was often quiet as engaged learners tackled computer programming challenges using a variety of kid-friendly coding tools. Cheers of "I got it" and comments such as "this is cool" were reassurance that coders were having an exciting and positive experience despite the quiet, focused atmosphere. 

We had great support from our communities, which is much appreciated.  Several special guests, including representatives from Park West School Division, Fort La Bosse School Division, RM and Town of Hamiota, RM of Woodworth and the Virden Oil Capitals Jr. Hockey team were in attendance.  Microsoft in Education Canada also supported us as Expert Educator Fellows.  We are really excited about the success of this inaugural event and we've already starting talking about what's next...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Kids Who Code: Preparing for our Code-a-thon

Our preparation for the Code-a-thon has focused on becoming coding experts so we can help others during the event.  Students submitted their top choices for coding tools they'd like to focus on and from there we created teams to "specialize" in each coding tool.  Students were in charge of exploring the app and becoming familiar with how to code using the specific tool.  Each team also created a set of instructions with text and screenshots.  I'm really proud of my students' work and I wanted to share their instructions for each coding tool in case other classes find them helpful.  Click here to see our instructions for Kodable, Tynker, Hopscotch, Code Monkey, Lightbot, Scratch Jr and Daisy the Dinosaur!

We are so excited for our Code-a-thon at Oak Lake Community School tomorrow!  It's going to be a great learning experience!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Kids Who Code: Meeting Other Coders

As we build momentum for our Hour of Code event, we continue to learn more about coding and computer science!  Thanks to Skype in the Classroom, today we had an exciting four-classroom Skype conference call about coding.  Our Kindergarten friends in Mrs. Caldwell's class were on the call and we met students from Ms. Page's class at Forest Hills Elementary in Wilmington, NC and from Mrs. Lowe's Class in Winnipeg, MB.  Each class shared some of their experiences with coding and students had the opportunity to share some of the coding tools they've been using. 

During the call, Ms. Page's class showed us The Foos  - a coding tool that we'd never seen before.  They explained how much they enjoyed  the app and even gave us a quick demonstration of how it works. As soon as we concluded our call, my students were asking to try out The Foos, as recommended by Ms. Page's class.     Since we were so excited to try it out, we downloaded it this morning and spent our coding time this afternoon exploring this new tool.  I was impressed at my students' ability to work with a brand new tool so confidently - they really are becoming coding experts (not to mention great problem solvers and critical thinkers -wow!)  I watched and listened as students tackled new programming tasks and worked with peers to overcome challenges.  It is very evident that students are building their skills as young coders!

As we have done with other coding tools we've tried, we took time after our initial exploration to rate the app.  It was quite popular with many students.  I noticed it was very easy for them to get started, yet challenging enough content-wise. I think The Foos are here to stay...