I visited Hidden River recently to help the local librarian there, Shauna Yusko, with some introduction to coding for sixth grade classes.
Shauna is an incredible Teacher-Librarian, Presenter and participant in various activities such as the Bureau of Education & Research and 2016 Excellence in Non-Fiction (YALSA) Award Committee. She had worked previously alongside a Technology expert at a previous school providing other technology activities and was excited to work together with me organizing some coding specific ones.
Her comments after the classes really speak to the success of the day:
I saw students that collaborated with their peers, advanced beyond the basic instructions, and were excited about learning this new skill. I heard more than one student say, “this was AWESOME!”
We had two classes, the first, around 35 students and the second with at least 40 during regular class periods. These classes were for those kids that were ahead and had completed all of their current coursework in class.
I’ve been having the students pair up. This gets them excited they are doing some “Extreme programming”, a key Software Engineering practice. This keeps the students more on task and means we need less computers for the class size. It’s fun to see the personalities come out and help them collaborate on the coding activities.
We spent only about 5 to 10 mins going over the class activity (pretty much the same content as my course videos) and then the kids are off and running! The activities are designed with Differentiated and Project Based Learning in mind which really allows them to go at their own pace and choose from some different activities within the coding concepts for the lesson.
The rest of my time was just spent observing and seeing if they get stuck or need more ideas on what they could do.
To keep this momentum going, Shauna mentioned that she is now looking to add more classes for coding into other library sessions they have at the school, such as, “Cyber Monday” or “Technology Tuesday”.