Visit to Trillium Lakelands DSB

TLDSB-GoodI finish out the week with my third visit in a row with a drive to Lindsay to visit Trillium Lakelands DSB for a day of learning around coding. This is the second of four sessions for the 38 teachers involved in the Learning Connections project (funding is combined with their Teaching and Learning Technology Fund).  Most of the teachers were from the junior division with a couple of primary and intermediate teachers to build capacity in other divisions.  Their LC project is focussing on the inquiry question:

Would learning to program with block coding help junior students feel more confident with their problem solving skills?

At the start of the day, Ryan lead the group in a survey using Peardeck  (pretty cool survey tool) to determine the comfort level of the teachers and some feedback regarding the project. Here are some of the results:Responses to Q1Responses to Q2

  • Since their last meeting in January:
    • most teachers were able to practice coding 2-3 times a week
    • most students were able to practice coding 2-3 times a week
    • most teachers were able to try tutorials on their own and with students
    • some ventured to use scratch, but not as many

Within the survey, they also asked the teachers their goal for the project:

  • To help students see beyond playing the game and become the creators of the game.
  • The goal in education is always to help students move from passive to involved to creators, communicators, collaborators.
  • My goal is still to increase perseverance and problem solving independence.
IMG_1894In the first session, they spent time exploring, but today was about learning Scratch –  SO FUN!  Ryan lead the group through a series of activities to learn Scratch.  He modelled how this could be done in the classroom by combining mini lessons with challenges to create your own Scratch project and scaffolded the challenges to become increasingly difficult.  Here is my first Scratch project – not that impressive, but fun to create.
They also had some time to share some of the work that teacher were already doing in their classroom:
  • Grade 8 students: introduced the activity as a challenge with little or no guidance from teacher by showing the students an intro video and let students go
  • Grade 5-8 class:  advice from students around coding – read/watch the tutorials and test often (press play, reset, fix mistakes and play)
  • Grade 4: used the learning carpet (10×10 grid) DSC_0169and made cards that looked like codes (move straight, rotate 90 degrees, repeat..) to create kinaesthetic coding activities on the floor mat to get students to use code to move and make shapes on the mat
  • Students are creating video games already – used Scratch 4 or 5 times.  Using coordinates in Scratch to help increase spatial sense, but still looking for more curriculum ties
  • Grade 4/5:  Starting to work in Scratch and relating coding to everyday stuff.  For example: have to tell Scratch all the lines of code to get him do something relates to math because you can’t get to the answer without showing all the steps.

To help support the teachers using Scratch in the classroom, Ryan has created a series of challenge activities for students with mini tutorials.  When students complete their challenges, they share it on Scratch with the tag TLDSBcode so consultants can track the work being done in the board.  So far, they have 10 different challenges posted in the Google Community!

 At the end of the day, the group divided into smaller groups to brainstorm curriculum ties for coding.  Here are some of the results:
IMG_1938 IMG_1939
This was an awesome day at TLDSB and I had a great time learning to code with their team (I almost forgot to take notes and photos).  Thanks for including me during your day!
One the drive out, I filled up just before the Cintas convention happened at the Ultramir.  There were actually 5 trucks there!IMG_1400

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