During a meeting with Technology Integration Specialist Kathy Santilli we were discussing the challenges with getting in to get more coding opportunities to our students. Especially for our younger learners first starting out, getting started requires time, exposure, coaching, and a chance to “play” with code. We finally decided that rather than trying to find a time we’d make time!
This is how our AM Drop-In coding sessions came to exist. We have enjoyed 3 sessions so far and (as the adults) are learning from each experience. Our first day had a significantly larger turn out than we were expecting (see ~50 as compared to our expected 15!) causing us to think on our feet while dealing with some wifi glitches. Each time Kathy and I have met to revise, reconsider, and plan how we are going to continue to engage the community in this work. What originated as a chance to participate in #HourofCode has turned into an ongoing offering for all our Barrows students.
I have found joy in watching the process of discovery – a written code, a mistake, trial & error, and then success! The whoops of excitement that come from groups that figure it out are contagious, leading others to inquire about what they did. This process has fostered communication, flexible thinking, collaboration, applying skills to an unknown context, learning from mistakes, organization, and planning strategies. Those skills are some of the many bonuses we’re observing, in addition to the learning gained from the growing coding skills our students are developing.
Teachers and staff do an awesome job every day ensuring they are meeting the state standards, teaching key skills and content, while fostering the well-being of every child through social emotional learning. Students often get a chance to try coding during their library/media time or during special events (like #HourofCode day), but it hasn’t yet made its way fully into daily instruction. I suspect that opportunities to code will continue to grow as we see more and more of our future careers and college experiences requiring this skill.
I hope more of our Shining Stars will join us! Watch in our Starburst Newsletter and our Twitter page (@BarrowsSchool) for dates. We plan to offer more drop-in sessions Monday mornings at 7:45am!
Want to read more?
- Code.Org: https://code.org/
- Kodable: https://www.kodable.com/
- Check out this great blog by Tynker about why coding: https://www.tynker.com/content/why-coding
- Article: Why Learning Code is Important: http://www.theedadvocate.org/why-learning-to-code-is-so-important-for-children/
- Hour of Code: https://hourofcode.com/us
- Scratch: https://scratch.mit.edu/