Hour of code

Is your class taking part in #Hourofcode this coming week?

The background: Coding is part of computer science which is involved in our digital technology curriculum. But many teachers shy away from this, so a global effort has been made to make it easier to join in coding in the classroom.

Computer science involves problem solving, creativity and logical thinking. So hour of code takes place during Computer Science Education Week (USA) and this year is 4-10 December. Find out more basic information here. This page explains the process and includes a video to watch. You can also print out certificates to give to the students who complete the hour of code activity.

I decided to help a teacher friend run an hour of code in her grade 1/2 classroom but could I find an activity that would be suitable? I checked out the Hour of Code one hour tutorials and found one for grade 2-5 relating to Elsa and Anna from Frozen.

Snowflake n.4 13-Feb-2017

Alexey Kljatov via Compfight

When I was in the classroom, I explained to the children they were going to help teach Elsa and Anna how to skate and make beautiful snowflake patterns. I worked with 4 children for the first hour or so and had them run the tutorial on their own. There were a few questions, some help given by me and some comments were:

This is too hard …… wow I did it!

Can you help me? … to the student sitting next to them

I’m up to puzzle 6 .. wow

How did you do that?

Why is it going over that way? I’ll change that number.

In the session after lunch, these four children became the experts and could wander around the lab if students had questions. When all students were in the computer lab, I worked through the first couple of puzzles to show students:

  • how to click blocks together
  • what happened using start over
  • reading instructions carefully

After seeing most were having a go at the puzzles using Repeat blocks, I gathered them together again to do some more explaining  about using repeat blocks and how to drag lots of connected blocks into a repeat block.

About 20 minutes before school finished, we went back to the classroom. Some students had completed to puzzle 6, others were on 10 and some had got to puzzle 20. Fantastic work for grade 1/2 students who had no idea of coding before that lesson.

Their teacher mentioned she had got to about level 6 and then had troubles working out the next level on her own so was glad someone was there to help her get to the next part of the game.

What had the students learnt from this lesson on coding?

  • how to ask great questions
  • perseverance
  • thinking logically
  • take a guess, test, make changes, test again
  • read instructions
  • working with a partner
  • feeling of accomplishment as they completed each level

Digital technology curriculum

Foundation to year 2: Digital Technologies processes and production skills

Follow, describe and represent a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithms) needed to solve simple problems

Teachers: Here is a great resource for incorporating digital technologies into your curriculum.

Readers: Have you taken part in #HourofCode with your students? Which activity did they do? What did they learn from it? What did you as their teacher learn from it?

Global Education Conference Day 1

As mentioned in my last post, one way to connect globally is to take part in the online Global Education Conference happening this week. Here is the Aussie time schedule (Hobart time of course).

As a volunteer at the conference, I get to go into the presentations and listen to some wonderful speakers. They all relate to something global and each session is recorded and archived here.

In a five hour period, I sat in on two different sessions:

Empowering Young Changemakers through Design Thinking

Mahika Halepete is the 15 year old presenter who has her own non profit organization called Ayana International. Check out this article about how she got started with social justice around the world. She also wrote and sang her own song called Walked Away. Just Google her name and you will be amazed at what she is doing.

KEYNOTE      Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom

Sylvia Martinez – Author, speaker, publisher 

If you are into tinkering and maker spaces at your school then this session has lots of ideas and resources you can use. A website co authored by Sylvia is about helping educators invent the future.

Another moderator was  impressed with a session co run by my friend Anne Mirtschin from Hawkesdale in Victoria. It was about the world peace music project. Listen to the recording here and see if you agree.

Connecting globally

He has the whole world on his head

Creative Commons License Michael Coghlan via Compfight

Part of the Australian curriculum relates to connecting both teachers and students globally. How do you do that?

When I first began blogging in 2007, I knew no-one from overseas. I asked my mentor Sue Waters from Edublogs how to find people for my students to connect with on their blogs. Sue sent out a tweet and, suddenly, I started to develop a global PLN (personal learning network).

My first three connections were Jan Smith from Vancouver Island, Canada, Inpi from Lisbon, Portugal and Paul Bogush from Connecticut, USA. I am still in contact with these three educators and have actually visited Jan and Paul on one of my trips to USA.

Do you have any overseas teachers or educators in your PLN ? How can you find them?

Join a global education network

With over 26,000 members in their global network, this conference always has some great presenters from many different countries of the world. Check out their online guide to their conference happening next week. Make sure you find the schedule for our time zone.

I will be there next week as a volunteer in some of the sessions.

Join twitter as an educator and or class

You will see a twitter guide in the links on the sidebar – everything you need to know about twitter. Twitter is my go to for personal learning.

  • Send out the URLs of student posts and see who replies on their blog posts. Include #17stubc and #comments4kids
  • Start a hashtag relating to a topic you are doing in class and pose questions on twitter for other classes to reply to – make sure you are following other class twitter accounts for this to work well
  • As you now have a blog, make sure you include the @edublogs whenever you tweet.
  • Take part in some Twitter chats – you can follow even if not a member but need to join Twitter to actually take part

Here is the information for using Twitter with students

Take part in the Global Read Aloud

This event takes place in October/November each year. Check out their website here and perhaps plan to take part in 2018.

Connect with other groups

Join the Global Oneness project – Lots of interesting stories and ways to curate collections of stories about global events and problems.

Connect with others via Skype or Edmodo

The Wonderment is a way for kids to do good in the world

 

Blogging at high school

You’ve heard or seen this great 21st century tool called ‘Blogging’ and you want to try it with your students at high school. Before getting too excited, you need to think of a few things first.

What is going to be the purpose of the blog?

  • A place for students to have a voice in class
  • Parent communication about the subjects you teach
  • Personal blog for reflection on teaching
  • Place for resources in subjects you teach
  • Lesson plans for subjects you teach

How will the blog be used?

  • Teacher writing posts
  • Teacher and students writing posts
  • Students leaving comments on teacher posts
  • A group of teachers in same subject or grade area

Who will be using the blog?

  • Students from one subject area you teach
  • Students from all subjects you teach
  • Students from classes you don’t teach but from same subject area

Will students have their own personal blogs?

If you are thinking of having students with their own personal blogs, then decisions need to be made at a grade, subject or whole school level.  The decision will affect the way the student blogs are created and attached to a main blog.

Other posts I have written relating to:

Why begin blogging in class – includes blogging video and padlet

Reasons to blog in class – includes sketchnote of 10 reasons for students to blog

Kathleen Morris from Edublogs has just written a great post on using student blogs as a digital portfolio.

Some high school blogs to check out. 

Photography class – teacher has main blog, students have personal blogs on sidebar. The syllabi, assignments and assessment rubric included on pages in header area

Grade 10 English USA – teacher uses main blog to remind students about what is expected in the subject. There are resources included in pages above the header. (As the blog is 3 years old, some resources are no longer available.)  Students have own personal blog but looks like topics are free choice. Check out the Word within word games.

Mrs McNally mumblings – teacher reflecting on teaching but also contains links to the school blog (written by students) and her student blogs (not used often). Links to her resume and teaching goals in the virtual portfolio page.

Heart of the school – blog celebrating librarians in UK. Shows how libraries are being used and gives lots of visual examples through images and documents.

Middle school science – teacher reflects and plans in main blog and student blogs are attached on sidebar. Students have had the same blog throughout their school life and you can see how their writing has improved since grade 6. Check out a student blog from each grade.

Robotics and game design – this Tasmanian college teacher writes explanatory posts but students also write posts on the main blog as well as commenting. Resources found above the header area. Instructions for tasks and challenges are available as documents to download.

Athlete development – this is a course for year 11/12 students and includes resources and links to help with their learning. Students don’t have blogs.

Computer science – teacher writes a weekly post explaining what is happening that week, including links to useful websites. All information needed by students is in the page area near header.

Outdoor education – similar format to the other college blogs with resources in the header area and a timetable as the main front page.

Personal pathway planning – lots of links so a resource type blog.

A post on the Edublogger lists many other blogs from K-12 and in subject areas. Those in orange are used as examples in other posts. Check some out.

So now you have done some thinking and exploring of blogs used in high school, how will this affect how you see blogs being used at your school? Please add your answer as a comment below or add an idea to the padlet in my other post.

Student blogging challenge

Today Grade 4 students ran a Google Hangout with me, asking questions about registering their blogs and adding the badge to their blog sidebar. Well done girls in 4BC!

Are you and your class interested in

  • connecting with other blogging classes around the world?
  • adding interesting yet educational widgets to your blog?
  • using more web 2.0 tools in your posts?
  • reading what other students around the world are writing about?

Your answer is YES

Then join the October 2017 student blogging challenge.

  • First challenge posted on Sunday 1 October so you won’t be behind.
  • Each week is a different topic with a variety of activities to choose from.
  • Spreadsheet to find other classes and students to connect to by just clicking on a link to their blog.
  • If on holiday one week, miss those activities and come back to them later on.
  • No winner, just a chance to make connections and improve your blogging skills.
  • Add the challenge badge to your blog if you decide to take part.

Click here to register your class blog. If any of your students have their own personal blog, they can register here.

Maybe you would prefer to mentor a group of students. You might be able to connect each of your students to one, with their own blog,  taking part in the challenge.

Taking part in the student  blogging challenge covers many of the ISTE standards for students

2. Digital citizen

6. Creative communicator

7 Global Collaborator

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