Saturday, September 26, 2015

Sphero Chariot Challenge

Last year, I pulled some small groups of 4th grade students and gave them a challenge using the Sphero, GoPro and some Legos.  I didn't have a lot of structure to the challenge.  I was really just curious to see what they would create.  They were amazing and didn't disappoint.
So, this year, I am going to make this a part of our coding club too!  I created a document with the basic structure and three different challenge levels.
I can't wait to see what they design. 
 These creative minds always amaze me!

Energy Explosion!

I have been working on activities to offer during my coding club, other than coding.  My club started with just coding and has quickly evolved to anything that includes THINKING!  I tried this with a 4th grade class yesterday.  They struggled.  It was good!  We ran out of time before anyone got anything going.  They were asking for more!  I can't wait to pull this out in two weeks at club.  I think we will have some amazing explosions going on!  Transparent learning about energy.  Problem solving and thinking, a bonus!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Let the Computer Science and Coding Begin!

This year at Brooklyn Elementary, I will be put into the specials schedule on Fridays to teach 3rd and 4th graders computer science.  This is a "pilot" of sorts and I have high hopes for something like this to spread to the other elementary buildings and up through our 12th grade.

I am also working with the Advanced Learners this year at Brooklyn on Thursday mornings.  I will see a small group of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders and work with them on coding and computational thinking.

The 2nd graders logged into their chromebooks for the first time on Thursday and they were very excited!  I will have them start by logging into next time and beginning Course 2.

The 3rd graders began the Storytelling theme in CS-First.  The first lesson is an introduction on how to work between the two tabs, CS-First and Scratch, and take a survey about what they know.

The 4th graders started the Art theme in CS-First and they were very excited to get going as they did a bit of CS-First last year!

On Friday, I saw one 3rd grade class and one 4th grade class.  Both classes got logged into the network computers and then logged into Google Classroom.  This is new learning for them, as they are used to just logging into Chromebooks.  2-step verification is a bit different and challenging since they have to type their email address and then again type their username and password.

Once they got in, we went to and got logged in.  I started the 3rd graders on Course 3 and the 4th graders began the Accelerated Course.

The current 4th graders had exposure to coding last year and I am confident they are ready to take on a faster paced course.  There are always exceptions, and I am open to students moving to course 4 if they feel it's a better fit for them.

During Computer Science, I also hope to introduce some of the items we use during Coding Club, which will be starting in October. (More on that later.)
This time, I introduced the students to the Sphero balls that we have.  Our generous PTO donated a class set for use to use (12) last year.  We discussed the difference between Bluetooth and infrared technologies and then I demonstrated how to pair the Sphero with the iPad.  I took this time to lay out my expectations for this device.  The 3rd graders should all get a chance to drive the Sphero around, check out it's capabilities, play tag, and just discover.  The 4th graders should be moving from the driving (tag) apps to the coding apps since they had last year to discover the basics.   Tickle and SPRK are the apps we will begin to explore.  These apps are fairly new and allow students to code the path for their Sphero.   They also use Blockly coding, which is what and Scratch use, so the format should be familiar to them.

I am excited to work with the students and watch them discover, play, and problem solve this year!
Rock the Code!


In the past 9 months, my school has been fortunate enough to gain access to many different tools and opportunities including  Sphero balls, ...