Next week marks Computer Science Education Week. During the week of December 5 -11, 2016, teachers and students around the world will participate in the Hour of Code and take part in a one-hour introduction to coding "designed to demystify computer science and show that anybody can learn the basics.” Coding allows students to develop 21st century competencies and learning skills, promotes an innovative mindset and empowers students to create their own content while building computational thinking skills. Below you will find a sketch by Sylvia Duckworth that summarizes the benefits of teaching students to code according to Brian Aspinall, an Ontario educator and a renown advocate of coding in the classroom.
This year, I will be participating in the Hour of Code with some of my FSL classes since it is quite easy to switch the language on Code.org to French. I have already been practising with my grade 2/3 class by physically coding students and giving them directions as they move across the classroom floor tiles towards a designated goal, using commands such as, avancer de..., tourner à gauche and tourner à droite. It is very simple but a great starting point since none of my primary students have ever attempted coding. I am planning to lead them through the new Minecraft Adventurer tutorial, which is fairly straightforward.
In the new year, I hope to start up a lunch hour coding club at our school. I have obtained a teacher account on Scratch and am looking at some project ideas. One project that caught my eye is called "Animate Your Name." I wanted to test it out myself and had so much fun animating my last name. Given that I love playing the piano, I chose to add piano sounds to each letter of my last name starting with middle C to B. While it is not quite a full scale, you can still play simple songs such as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and "Jingle Bells." I also added simple code that will change the colour of each letter and make their size bigger when clicked. It is a fun way to express my personality and interests, and as such would be a great introductory project for our coding club. I have embedded my project below so you can try it out for yourself.
If you want to view the script for my first project, head on over to My Animated Name in the Key of C Major. And happy coding!