February 26, 2016 by treyw97
I’ve been intrigued with coding for a while now. It is a foreign language that fascinates and confounds me. I’ve always wondering why this app works or how GPS really knows where I am. I went to an Edcamp outside of Fort Worth last Fall and an individual shared many resources that I fell in love with. He talked about www.code.org, www.playcodemonkey.com, and www.lightbots.com/hocflash.html. He presented these resources in a way that made sense to me and gave the “How” to leverage coding with kids. I spoke it into life on announcements. “I want to learn to write code.” I say one morning to 439 accountability partners. The dye is cast.
Fast forward to December and I’ve signed up for the #hourofcode through http://www.code.org. On two Tuesdays a week apart I grab entire grade levels of kids to make some code. 3rd grade comes first and I introduce http://www.playcodemonkey.com to them. I offer up keychain monkeys and stuffed monkeys to the tops coders. In less than an hour I have 10 3rd grade coders passed Level 20 and I know I am on to something. Third graders reluctantly head back to class begging for the web address which I readily hand over. I receive emails that evening from parents loving the work their kids are doing. A week later 4th graders join me in the library. An amazing Wildcat Dad shares how he utilizes code at Accenture. I show them www.code.org/learn. We look into the Star Wars and Minecraft resources and they are off and running! A vast majority are Minecrafting away but my Jedi are not far behind. I literally have to pry hands off of laptops and push them out the door and back to class. 5th grade arrives and they are off and running as well. An hour passes in an instant and again kids are desperate for the link ensuring it will work at home. A colleague tweets a picture of her daughter coding away that evening. Kids want to learn code! They want to master this language and create with technology! Check out this link for the media piece that was created around our #Hourofcode! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkNfWvRIr34
What’s the next logical step in the evolution of Eddins Elementary coding? An after school club of course. Again one morning on announcements I spoke it into being. “I’m going to start an After School Coding Club and I want you to join me.” A Google Form is created and shared via email, facebook, and Twitter. I think to myself if I get 15 sign up I’ll be ever so happy. 40 kids later…FORTY KIDS later I am having to turn away coders due to only having 40 computers in the library and lab! I’ve got a wait list for crying out loud.
Kids want to learn how to code.
We met for the first time on Thursday after school. Thankfully Kari, Shawn, Mrs. Fisher, and Dr, Smalkas showed up to lend a hand! 38 eager coders were ready to learn. We’re using Google’s www.cs-first.com resources which include www.scratch.mit.com logins! I love Scratch so I knew it would be a hit. We got them all logged in and passworded up. They were a little confused by the format of video tutorial and Scratch creation back and forth. Many just got into Scratch and started playing. These are my people. Others studiously watch the videos and applied their learn. An hour flew by in an instant. After reflecting a bit our next session may need to be a little more structured. Luckily I stumbled upon a former Columbia University adjunct professor and researcher who now works for Google. Thanks Nikki Jo! He’s agreed to speak at our next club meeting and after that I’ll lead a how-to for my coders and then let them run with it. I am really looking forward to next Thursday and our next coding club meeting.
Kids want to learn how to code!