Earlier in December one of my fellow Vanguard group members, Kati Searcy, posted about her students participating in the Hour of Code challenge. I had recently been introduced to Scratch and had shared the website with two groups of 5th graders. My students really enjoyed it, and one student used it to create his final product for another class.
I did some internet research and then sent the challenge onto my staff at school. I knew staff would be hesitant and many would deem it too difficult (for the students or perhaps the teacher). I included information on the tutorial which utilizes familiar Angry Birds characters.
I also let my own students participate in the challenge. Due to a social studies event - 1920s Day - we completed the hour the week following the challenge week. We still had a great time. Students were completely engaged. Students are able to move on to higher levels once the code they write successfully captures the pig. The extra challenge comes in using the correct number of blocks. Students persevered in attempting the level, rather than moving on. The motivation and engagement I saw during the hour was incredible.
I was also really excited to hear about THREE teachers who attempted the task! Not only did I manage to get three teachers to try something new right before the winter break, but two of the teachers work with very young students! Kim Richards teachers fifth grade, Kelly Keller is a first grade teacher, and Maureen Scheuch is a kindergarten teacher. What was even more exciting to hear was that Mrs. Scheuch's students continued the challenge at home, when she sent the information to parents through her newsletter.
For some other great basic tutorials, visit the following link shared by Ms. Richards.
I am so curious to hear and see what else students are inspired to create and learn! Please share your experiences or resources!
Every December panic hits as I realize I need to think of something for my students and parents. In younger grades, we would create student made cards and gifts to take home and post on the fridge. Thanks to pinterest, teachers have an endless list of ideas which were no doubt created by adults. The final products, in my experience at least, never quite turn out the same way.
A few years ago I came upon an idea which I have hung to since then. A co-worker was taking a class picture with the students holding up letters to spell out "HAPPY HOLIDAYS!" Not only is the picture a nice memory from the year, but it meets my three criteria: fast, easy, and inexpensive. Thanks to same day printing, I can order prints or cards with the student photo.
This year was no different. These were printed at Walgreens. Thanks to a holiday 40% off coupon, the cards were a great deal!
I have used the same concept for Thank You cards for room moms and other classroom helpers.
Based in Doha currently, I am a technology-advocating learning junkie.