Thoughts on Hour of Code: December 8-12, 2014

At Aurora Quest K8, Brandy Bixler and I collaborated to involve every student in some way doing programming. In our regular K-5 classes we used age appropriate site from hourofcode.com. We used Tynker, Scratch, and AgentCubes. Brandy and I saw each class once for an hour. Middle school chooses from a variety of electives, but thee specials team agreed to bring all middle school students to computers on Friday, the 12th during their electives. Art used Chromebooks in the art room. Music joined Ms Bixler. PE came to the library where they used a laptop cart. Everyone did AgentCubes tutorial from hourofcode.com. So there were over 600 students who participated in Hour of Code,
We also held an after school Open House for parents to see what their students had been doing in computer classes such as Scalable Game Design or Minecraft. University of Colorado provided funding for food and as it turned out Google was in the building to record students and their interactions with AgentSheets and AgentCubes. It's always good to get parents informed.
I thought combining the middle school electives worked well. It gave those students who only choose art or music or PE to experience success at basic programming.
I wouldn't do much differently.
I've been pretty involved in the Scalable Game Design piece for middle school. It's been successful every quarter with total engagement on the students' part. I look forward to continuing that. I've also introduced Scratch to younger students and look forward to continuing that. It would help to have a pacing guide of sorts to have a framework of skills students should have at each grade level. It's difficult to balance computer programming instruction, information literacy, digital citizenship, and even basic skills like using a Googledoc or typing.

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