Tag Archives: coding

Summer of Code

It’s Summer of Code at our house…

Phase 1 (Group)

Everyone works through Course 2, Course 3, and Course 4 at Code.org to ensure that we have basic conceptual understanding of key terms and ideas. I have a teacher account and can print certificates of completion!

Phase 2 (Individualized)


My youngest (5th grade) is diving back into Scratch, taking on more complex tasks and trying to create more challenging games (including, apparently, making Wack-A-Demon!). He likes to make his own board games so we may also try to figure out how to integrate our Makey Makey into his next one. If that works, maybe I’ll borrow my agency’s Hummingbird Robotics kit and see if we can go even further.

My two high school kids are learning Python. Here are some resources that we’re using:

We also found some additional Python suggestions from Carl Cheo:

What else should we be doing? Want to join us? Share what you’re up to in the comments!

Is an hour really that subversive?

Audrey Watters said:

we’re seeing calls for an hour: “A Genius Hour.” “An Hour of Code.” An hour.

Is that hour really that subversive? What does it mean that schools are applauded when students are sanctioned – for one hour – to follow their passions? What message does that send them about the rest of their day and week at school? Does an hour even count as incremental change?

Are these efforts transformative? And are they sustainable? Will these hours or days remain in place? Or will they face the same fate of Google’s policy, and be quickly set aside when schools’ goals trump students’ interests?

Don’t we need to think about how to re-evaluate 100% of time in order to make school more student-centered, not simply fiddle with a fraction of it?

via http://hackeducation.com/2015/02/14/genius-hour

Notes from Code Studio elementary coding training

My notes from yesterday’s Code.org elementary coding workshop…


  • Code.org’s elementary school courses overview [VIDEO]
  • In fifteen years we’ll be teaching programming just like reading and writing… and wondering why we didn’t do it sooner. – Mark Zuckerberg
  • The average car has 15 computer chips in it. The average high-end car has almost 100 computer chips in it.
  • Very few students are taking AP Computer Science. And of that small sliver, only 15% are girls and only 8% are not White or Asian.
  • Code.org is a public nonprofit dedicated to bringing computer science to every school and to increasing participation by women and underrepresented student populations. Organizer of the Hour of Code campaign. Computer science PD partner for 30 of the largest districts nationwide, including New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Producer of online courses in 30,000 classrooms.
  • Code.org elementary curriculum was created in conjunction with Cal-Berkeley.
  • Short 20-hour courses for elementary school
    • Course 1 – for early readers, ages 4-6, grades K-1
    • Course 2 – for beginners, ages 6+, grades 2-5 (can skip Course 1)
    • Course 3 – for ages 6+, grades 2-5, kids who have completed Course 2
    • Course 4 (beta) – for grades 4-8, kids who have completed Course 3
    • Each course is about 20 lessons, about 40 minutes each
    • Can reinforce existing math, science, and English/language arts standards
    • Any PC, tablet, and also ‘unplugged’
  • Code.org Teacher Dashboard
  • Code.org YouTube channel
  • Each lesson usually has a couple of videos, one for the teacher (lesson video in the lesson plan) and one for the participating students
  • Getting loopy, Course 1, Stage 12 (an unplugged activity)
  • Maze:Loops, Course 1, Stage 13
  • Code.org’s Pair Programming video is an excellent conversation starter for teachers and students
    • Pair programming leads to fewer errors and fewer dumb errors
    • Consider having kids do all the exercises on one kid’s account, then going back and doing them again on the other kid’s account – solidifies learning, helps them understand better (sometimes they just get lucky), fosters more creative solutions the second time through, etc.
  • Often students get the problem right but they don’t understand why or can’t explain why
  • In Code.org, students can’t break anything – “let’s try it and find out together”
  • Group breakouts
  • What’s the difference between a conditional and an event?
    • Event = WHEN = continually asking ‘Is it now? Is it now? Is it now?’
    • Conditional = IF = only asking ‘Is it now?’ if particular circumstances are present
  • Try to create a story and/or program Flappy Bird
  • Challenges we’ll face when attempting to implement these courses
    • Lack of a formal, articulated, vertical set of curricular/extracurricular experiences for students across K-12 grade levels
    • Time
    • Professional learning
    • Concerns about students already spending too much time in front of a screen
  • Somebody somewhere has to start the ball rolling!
  • Get contact name(s) for each Iowa AEA that Ben has been working with
Pair Programming 

Countdown to ISTE 11: Computer science / coding education blogs (aka THE PUSH 2014)

The Push 2014If you were asked to nominate a very short list of blogs for computer science educators to read / subscribe to, what would you share? Please submit to the list! (there’s a form at the end of this post)

What are some excellent computer science / coding blogs that P-12 computer science educators should be reading? We need both elementary and secondary examples. Please contribute, see the responses, AND share this post with others so that we can get the best list possible.

What computer science/coding blogs would u recommend? http://bit.ly/1qxUB1O Please share w/ others so we get a great list! #ece #edtech

Thanks in advance for helping with this initiative. If we all contribute, we should have a bevy of excellent subject-specific blogs to which we all can point. Please spread the word about THE PUSH!

[Next up: Drama / theater]


What is THE PUSH?

Every day between now and the ISTE conference, we work together to identify excellent subject-specific blogs that are useful to P-12 teachers. Why? Several reasons…

  • To identify blogs that P-12 teachers can use to initially seed (or expand) their RSS readers (e.g., Feedly, FlipboardReeder, Pulse)
  • To facilitate the creation of online, global (not just local) communities of practice by connecting role-alike peers
  • To create a single location where P-12 educators can go to see excellent subject-oriented educational blogging
  • To highlight excellent disciplinary blogging that deserves larger audiences
  • To learn from disciplines other than our own and get ideas about our own teaching and/or blogging

We are looking for blogs with RSS feeds – particularly from P-12 educators – not sites to which we can’t subscribe. This is an effort to update the awesome but now heavily-spammed list we made 5 years ago!