Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hour of Code


Last week I had the pleasure of introducing the wonderful world of coding to several fifth grade classes. Oh, the JOY! If coding is something new to you, jump right now to http://code.org/starwars and you can experience the exact same lesson I shared with my students!

Coding is not a new concept, but one that is quickly gaining global exposure as a much needed skill for hundreds of industries looking to hire smart, creative, self-directed learners. As educators, we often say, "We need to prepare our students for success in an ever-changing world"; coding activities do just that! The code.org website is excellent for taking learners of all ages from beginner to expert with easy-to-understand directions and videos from leading specialists in the field. The Star Wars module is fantastic with actual movie producers illustrating how computer animation is created from JavaScript code.

In a matter of minutes, students quickly discover that they can use basic prompts to program a computer animated figure to move and collect items, advancing to the next coding challenge. After completing 12 or more activities, students are rewarded with an open space to create their own coding adventure, complete with self-selected rules, scores, characters and more. This is where the REAL fun begins!


Pondering the next layer of code.


Great collaboration!
An example of free-choice code.

Half the fun is sharing your success with a friend!
     
"Mrs. Letter! Come here! You've got to play the game I made!" Within minutes students were sharing their headsets with me, eager to showcase all they had learned. How could you resist such an opportunity to engage with your students during a lesson?

 
"You've got to see this!"
"Whoa! Look what happened!

Another in-depth free-choice coding game.

"I did it! I made it through the game!"


Best of all, I came home to discover my 12 year old son deep in concentration doing his OWN coding activity, inspired by the Hour of Code he completed in middle school. Check out this video to see what he created (a computer graphic of his face, made from blocks!)

If you don't think your students are creative - spend an hour with me in our laptop lab. You will leave inspired by just how awesome and amazing our students can be! The Hour of Code will continue all this week as more students discover the joy of computer programming. We are bringing JOY to learning, one block of code at a time!

Ms. Miller joins in the coding fun.

We completed an Hour of Code!

For more information about coding, search #HourOfCode on Twitter or visit http://code.org.