In addition, teachers signed up to bring their classes to the JCHS Library Harvard Room to participate in more Hour of Code activities. It was during these times that I stepped out on to that professional ledge of being willing to learn TOGETHER with the students as the impressive array of activities this year rivaled that of years past.
One of my favorite features this year was the ability to filter differently than in past years. Instead of defaulting to the new block coding activity for the year I went out on a ledge and walked through the filtering process with students so that they could see what we were doing was age and subject appropriate. Then we tackled these more complex coding activities together, emphasizing the need to collaborate and trouble shoot together.
Personally, my favorite activity was with our Special Education Self Contained students. We created a graph on the floor of the Harvard Room using painter's tape and printed out START, END, TREATS, and MONSTER cards. Ms. Jefferson was our robot. DD students had to program Robot Jefferson using BeeBot direction cards to "write the code" that would get her from START to END, collect all the TREATS, and avoid all the MONSTERS.
So what are my tips and tricks for a successful Hour of Code at your school?
Second, have a backup plan. The first year I attempted to do Hour of Code was also the year many others got aboard and started doing Hour of Code as well. This overloaded the Hour of Code website and caused many to be left stranded without access to the websites block coding activities. This is when having an unplugged activity ready is key. I'll admit that I was flying by the seat of my pants that first year and had no unplugged activity planned. Sitting in a classroom filled with sixth graders when I realized the online activity planned was not going to work, I asked the kids for a dance they knew. They had just learned Cotton Eyed Joe in PE so we decided to write out code a robot could follow to successfully complete the dance. Several students volunteered to be our robots so we could catch the "bugs" in our code and correct them. In the end, our robots were having an awesome time dancing! We did a similar thing with PreK but used the Hokey Pokey as our dance.
Third, share your experience with others. Sharing our experiences through social media, blogs, etc help us all learn and grow together through our collective experiences, PLUS it gives us an opportunity to celebrate the amazing learning going on in our schools and libraries. Sharing isn't bragging; it's giving.
To see more from our Hour of Code 2016 click HERE to access our Google Photos Album.
I am also thrilled beyond belief to be headlining with the founder of Hour of Code, Hadi Partovi, at the Texas Library Association's Tech Camp in April 2017!