Thursday, May 5, 2016

Coding Club: Computer Science Education Week

This post is part of a series of entries documenting the startup of our Kids Who Code Coding Club at Hamiota Elementary.  

During Computer Science Education Week, I explained the Hour of Code movement to coding club students and introduced them to the tutorials.  Since we have so many members (and only one of me!) I had to get creative in order to effectively share the tutorials with students.  I wanted to make sure that students got to spend most of the time actually engaged in coding and not struggling to get started or waiting for me to help them.  Luckily, my grade 1s had already done some work that would come in handy… 

As a part of our text-type study on procedural texts, my grade 1s had written instructions for how to access the tutorials.  The instructions were designed to be used by guests at the Kids Who Code Code-a-thon which my grade 1s organized to celebrate Hour of Code. Using the instructions at coding club was a great way to help students more independently access the tutorials (thus keeping me sane and ensuring that students were making good use of their time).   

The code-a-thon event we hosted was another opportunity for coding club members to experience some new coding tools.  Many of the classes in our school attended the event and had the chance to briefly try out 1 or 2 coding tools at the stations run by my grade 1 coders.  The following week, I gave all club members the choice to code with any tool they’d tried.  Many students chose to work with a tool they’d tried out at the code-a-thon, others worked on the tutorials again and some picked a favourite tool that they’d learned during previous meetings.  I believe that choice is important for students and also very engaging… 50 children coding (relatively) quietly in small groups with their peers on the last Wednesday before Christmas break is pretty solid proof for me that learners are engaged.   

I have found (just as I have found in my classroom) that even if only a few students have experience with a particular coding tool, they will work together to teach each other and support each other when they run into challenges. 


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