Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Hour of Code Morphs into Two Coding Clubs

This December the technology teacher and I ran the Hour of Code program for all our students grades K-5. Rather than just doing coding for one week like most schools we allowed our students to explore computer coding for a whole month. So what is coding anyway? Well, according to Code.org, its a superpower! Coding is basically giving a computer a set of commands that the computer understands and uses to perform tasks. These tasks could be moving an item across the screen, making an item appear, creating a drawing, or many other things. In my opinion, this video pretty well captures what coding is and why it is important.

Some students quickly got bored with coding. These students were very happy when they returned from Winter Break to learn that we were moving on to other lessons. There were a number of students, however, that were very bummed out that we would no longer be coding. While we were doing the Hour of Code throughout December, I got feedback from the parents of these kiddos that their children were enamored with learning these new coding skills. As I watched the students working together to get through the puzzles on Code.org, I saw students that regularly struggled to just sit still in class becoming successful collaborators on a project. I saw students that struggled to find any success in school build a glow of confidence in their new-found talents. For this reason, I decided that coding needed to be continued in some way with these children.

One of the things that I most enjoy as a Media Specialist is being able to provide children a place in the school where they can be successful even when they feel left behind in other subjects. This was the main reason I decided to start a before school coding club. The students who enjoyed coding and found that they were successful at something in school are now able to continue building skills and confidence that could lead to rewarding careers in the future. I am very excited to announce that we will be starting two coding clubs in February! Our 2nd-3rd Grade Coding Club will start on February 3rd and our 4th and 5th Grade Coding Club will begin on February 10th! We hope to see you there!