It is always fun to visit the team in Trillium Lakelands DSB. Not only are the people great, but we get to code and have fun! Their project has been focussed on coding in the Junior classroom and some of the outcomes from the teachers work with students were surprising. You can read more about their project on their LC Project Page or watch the video below:
We started the day on the move with some “Algorithm Action”! Slides were shown on the screen with Scratch coding that the participants had to act out while following the sequence of coding. Have a look here for some pre-made Smart Notebook examples. Can you imagine combining coding with DPA? I can now!
The group then embarked on some creative coding with a 10 block challenge: we were provided 10 blocks of code; we had to use every block at least once (but could be more than once) to create a project. That was it, no more instructions, just the 10 blocks and go! Not so easy, but some of the results were incredibly creative – not mine… Check out the “studio”: https://scratch.mit.edu/studios/2008049/ It is awesome to have the opportunity in a safe environment to experience activities that the teachers can do with their students the next day.
We then had some time to work on Scratch Junior on iPads. A great way to introduce coding that requires very little or no instruction. Have a look at some of the resources for Scratch Jr. (look under the “teach” tab) at https://www.scratchjr.org.
In the afternoon, some of the teachers shared their learning with the group.
- wide range of students – some good with computers and some are special needs (non-verbal)
- to introduce coding, the teacher pretended he was a robot and students had to direct him around a box
- students learned that the instructions for directions had to be very specific
- the teacher tied this to procedural writing
- then students used Dash and Dot in the classroom and learned how to move Dash – they did this very well!
- teacher found that lower academic students were more successful because they were used to trial and error. Gifted students felt that they knew the answer and weren’t used to failure
- teacher also created a game with Scratch and Makey Makey: Site words were displayed on the screen with colour coded boxes, there were signs on the floor with the same colours, game says the word and student has to hit the appropriate colour on the floor. Lots of movement and energy to learn the words and hit appropriate signs.
- had a surprising result of students learning coding language
- the teacher has been able to use scratch coding language to help students empathize when misunderstandings happened between one and other
- he got students to understand situations through the language of coding (if…then statements, repeat, goto…)
- used the challenges that were produced by the district team
- started with students working at their own pace, but that didn’t work for everyone
- went to the method that they played part of video in front of whole class, teacher did code with the students and if any students finished the step, they would help others in the class and become the experts
- the class working together on each step meant that someone has a solution at any time