Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Reflecting on the Hour of Code at Murphy Creek K8

The following reflection was submitted by guest blogger, Patty McCool, who teaches technology at Murphy Creek K8.

The participation of Murphy Creek P-8 in the Hour of Code Week in December of 2014 was exciting, challenging and tons of fun. The students in grades K-8 spent at least one hour that week in coding sites that challenged them and encouraged them to participate with peers. We involved approximately 550 students in the school during that week using 5 different coding sites:  Code.org, Tynker, Scalable Game Design, Kodable and Hour of Python. 

The most successful accomplishment of the week was the amount of collaborative work among the students. All were willing to share and assist others. Some of the comments heard were:  “I did it! Here let me help you.”  “Wow! That one was really hard. Want me to help you?”  “This is really fun, can we do this tomorrow, too?”  “How can I do this at home?” “ I can’t wait to show my little brother!” “I know what I’m going to do when I grow up!”  The confidence level of many students went sky-rocketing and the elation they felt upon leaving class was palpable. For many students who may not achieve success in certain academic areas, coding provided a plethora of activities in which they experienced amazing, immediate success.

Because I see most of the students in the school, I took several weeks to prepare them to succeed in the coding sites. Some classes worked together and some classes worked individually and assisted colleagues. One change that will make this week more successful is to print a certificate for each child and frame the most accomplished 5 for each grade. Another idea that occurred to me was to plan a “Calling All Coders” evening at the school so that parents and teachers could participate in the success that the students are experiencing.

Most recently, the students began a math activity in Logo Paths. Because of the coding experience, we are moving more quickly than in past years. The computational thinking pattern activities (coding) prepare our students for more complex and challenging math and science programs. What has been most inspirational is the fact that many of our girls were very accomplished and were surprised at how well they did.

This was an amazing week that brought many of or our students together to face exhilarating challenges. Many thanks to all of the programmers who made this success possible.

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