Archive for Just Jen’s Thoughts

Hour Of Code — How We Do It…..

Several years ago — my friend, Vicky Sedgwick, introduced me to hour of code.  And I then introduced it to my students! (I believe the first year was angry birds? — seems like yesterday, yet so long ago)

Now, we don’t celebrate HOUR OF CODE anymore —

WE celebrate MONTH OF CODE!!   and next year — probably even more.

Our computer lab is very very creative — lots of green screen, video, stop motion, pic collages, picture taking, blogging, zoombini’s…..on and on.  NOT the traditional computer lab w/ Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) — don’t get me wrong, we do spend some time there….but not much.   It is a skill students need to know — true — but I try to interweave it with many other things as well.  Plus, we have some macs too — so my students tend to believe EVERYTHING overlaps with EVERYTHING.

But — HOUR OF CODE — oops MONTH OF CODE — that is when I see the kids eyes light up, willingness to pair up, and lots and lots of higher thinking skills with all ages.

Each year is better than the one before……though this year’s video was not my favorite.  Last year’s made me cry every time I showed it.

So — how we run Hour of Code in our lab — in case you are interested. (links to all sites and apps are at the end of this post)

We have a Kodable Account and also Hour of Code Account —
For the Kodable account, I created generic names….so reset it each class.   Hour of Code, kids have their own accounts.   We also created generic logins at one of newest “fav” apps (& website) Run Marco.   We have lightbot/light bot jr, scratch jr, Move the Turtle, Swift Playground, and a few other apps on the ipad for coding.  Plus Scratch on the computer and several DASH apps to move the robot and SPHERO apps as well.

First to Sixth grade starts with the same app — but then it changes each week.

WEEK ONE:
We began with the Hour Of Code video (three weeks ago) – the one from LAST YEAR — talked about what we remembered and then we looked at CODE SPARK’s “THE FOOS” and the SNOOPY SNOW BRAWL!    It worked for all grades.   Some frustration after we finished level 12 in FOOS — we could NOT break the next code (yet–still working on it) — and SNOW BRAWL had some hesitations until it clicked and then was great fun.

WEEK TWO:
We shared a bit about what we had learned, what we would do different — and then 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 jumped into Kodable.   This is a school favorite.   We even made a bulletin board about it a few years back.


5th grade jumped into a brand new app called Run Marco (also a website).   I liked how it is more than just drag and drop — that they see the code and how it links together.

WEEK THREE:
The real week of HOC — woo hoo!   We started with this year’s video and talked about how this year’s HOC was going to be a bit harder!   (I know because I worked through all 11 levels so I could assist as needed!)   We passed out the cards with user names/secret codes and jumped onto the computers.   They were given the option to “partner up” if they wished.   I was super surprised to see how many DID pair up.  Some kids worked to get the diamonds — while some did not.   (Still not sure what the diamonds did – but it was important to some.)   ALSO, not all kids did the Minecraft Heroes…..they were also shown where the 2 other Minecraft options were plus Frozen, Star Wars, and Angry Birds.   Some decided to work in those…which was fine.
(1st grade did NOT do HOC website — we worked with Code Karts and OSMO coding plus Programming DASH the robot)

WEEK FOUR:
Next week!!!   The “plan” is to work on Paired Programming and the APP will be “LIGHTBOT or LIGHTBOT JR” to begin.  It is a very good app for teamwork and problem solving especially on turns.

— To be honest, Hour of Code and my comfort level with our 1st and K’s is still a bit hmmmm uncomfortable.   So we work primarily with Scratch Jr and Code Kart…..next week, they will meet Dash and Dot and the spheros.

I really want to take coding to a higher level next year……so we are going to have to add a few weeks.    The students really need to be using SCRATCH — for several weeks….maybe more.   It easily could be an entire semester +.

What I see with Hour Of Code on our campus….
A.  Team work in problem solving
B.  Willingness to share and TO listen
C.  Failing and Learning and Failing and Learning
D.  The Kids see their Teacher learning along with them
E.  Acknowledgement of their learning the year before makes this year easier (HUGE learning this year — led into many conversations)
F.  Bouncing from ipad to computer — no issue.  (that we have both options is a blessing)
G.  Sequencing and Looping and Patterns and Observing where you are to where you have to go — and then planning — LIGHTBULB moment!!
H.  Excitement in learning!   One of my kids stated “I will not leave for recess until I finish level 12” and he did not.
I.  No need to wait for teacher — many kids came in to say they had already done the lesson — no worries on that.  They were introduced to the class as “available experts” and they jumped right into next learning opportunity.
J.  I need to know more about YouTubing.   StacyPlays was known by almost all my kids (I had no idea).   I am not a fan of video — but looks like I need to get over that discomfort.

LINKS TO APPS/WEBSITES WE USE:
LIGHTBOT

LIGHTBOT JR

CODE KART

RUN MARCO – Website

MARCO RUN – App

KODABLE

CODE SPARK — THE FOOS

SCRATCH JR

MOVE THE TURTLE

SCRATCH

OUR SYMBALOO PAGE FOR CODING

If You Give a Teacher a Project

If you give a teacher a project,
he/she will ask for instructions.

If you give the teacher instructions,
he/she will want to know a timeline.

If you give the teacher a timeline,
he/she will want to know materials needed.

If you give the teacher a list of materials needed,
he/she will want to know if they can take pictures of what is made.

If you tell the teacher “please take pictures”,
he/she will want to know where to share the pictures.

If you give the teacher a link to a shared google slide show,
he/she will want to know where to share a video.

If you give the teacher a link to flipgrid,
he/she will want to know if this embeds in Seesaw (yes it does)

If the teacher sends the info to Seesaw,
he/she will want to know where other teachers are that are doing this.

If you create a collaborative map to share their location,
he/she will want to know if they can skype/hangout/email etc with other classrooms.

If you create collaborative document to connect via skype/hangouts/etc,
he/she will say “how else can we connect?”

When you answer the question — “how else can we connect,”
you host another project.

 

Holiday Card is up and running.   Right now, we have 39 groups — probably will end up with 40+.   Our theme this year is STARS.
Still thinking of ideas for next year.

http://holidaycardproject.weebly.com/ 

Happy Holidays
Jen

 

Changes to ProjectsByJen

I started hosting Projects by Jen — at that time “technospud” — in 1999.   It all began with a cookie — the oreo cookie — and 17 years later…I am still hosting that project….however now at projectsbyjen.com.

Since 1999, I have hosted over 50 different projects.
St. Patrick’s — we sort Lucky Charms
Pumpkin Seed — we count Pumpkin seeds
Holiday Card — we create and share themed holiday cards
From Me to you — we created and shared valentine’s day cards
Picture It — all classes create one section of a collaborative piece of artwork
O.R.E.O. – we stack cookies to reinforce math skills
Etc.

I have hosted projects for important historical events:
Gettysburg Address Anniversary, Lewis and Clark bicentennial, Wright Brothers 100th year celebration, National Parks birthday, etc.

I have hosted projects to assist with the aftermath of tragedies:
We collected school supplies for teachers affected by Katrina, We wrote letters of support for teachers who taught at Sandy Hook….and more.

You can find an archive of projects by clicking HERE!

I hosted STEM projects before STEM was STEM or STEAM or STREAM or SCREAM.   🙂

And I have met some EXTREMELY AMAZING TEACHERS who wanted to open the doors of their classrooms and let my ideas in.

I was touched — I was a bit surprised — I was grateful.

Since 1999, ProjectsByJen has gone through several changes — website design, name change (Technospud, Jenuinetech, ProjectsByJen) and we tried some things that worked and some that did not.  (so sorry that Ning started to charge)   We had some very well-populated projects and some with just a handful of teachers — learned a lot/shared a lot regardless.

And in 2017/2018, ProjectsByJen will be changing again.

No worries — PBJ is not going away — NOR am I going to start charging for projects!   PBJ will always be offered freely to teachers.

But, I am going to slim down a bit to 4 projects per year.

We will be keeping O.R.E.O. and HOLIDAY CARD PROJECT and PICTURE IT — those will not be going away.   Plus, I will be working on one NEW project idea that will be announced this summer.

By slimming down to just 4 projects — I hope to build these 4 up to become even better than they are now.   Lesson Plans, Online Opportunities, Video Chats, etc.

It has been my JOY to host projects.
It has been my PRIVILEGE to host projects.
It has brought me HAPPINESS to know that after 18 years, they are still making a difference.

I look forward to working with you again this fall.
Registration for O.R.E.O. will begin in July.
Registration for Holiday Card will begin in November.
Registration for Picture It will begin in February.
Registration for ????? will be announced soon!

Thank you
Jennifer

PS:
Right now, I am currently looking for someone who would be willing to head up St. Patrick’s Day and Pumpkin Seed.  They need to have a heart for projects and be willing to host these projects freely.  If this might be you — please email me at gmail (projectsbyjen)
Thank you

The “APP’les of my eye

To say that ipads are HUGE on our campus would be an understatement.   We had a cart of 30 — then we purchased an additional cart of 25 — and will be purchasing another 30 this summer.

We are a PC, ipad, and iMac lab — and I could not be happier.   The opportunities at my students fingertips are great and we enjoy much as we learn a lot.

So — I thought I would take the time and share with you some of the “APPS” my students and I both enjoy and learn with.

Some cost — but are worth every penny.
Many are free — and thank you thank you thank you to the companies who provide free apps.

DOINK GREEN SCREEN — $2.99
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/green-screen-by-do-ink/id730091131?mt=8

If I could only have 1 app on my ipad (besides the camera) this would be it.   It allows my students to create in so many different ways.   The usability of this app has echoed over into the classroom and at least 6 teachers used it OUTSIDE the lab this year.   (that is HUGE)

DUCK DUCK MOOOSE — ALL ARE FREE
http://www.duckduckmoose.com/educational-iphone-itouch-apps-for-kids/

The Duck Duck Moose app that I go most often is Draw and Tell.   The Duck Duck Moose app that my students love the most is Moose Math.
We all love chatterpix.   I had purchased some of these apps before they became free!  (but do appreciate that they are free now)

Tiggley Apps — ALMOST ALL ARE FREE
https://www.tiggly.com/pages/tiggly-apps

These apps are brand new to our lab/classrooms this year — and such fun + such learning.   The kiddos LOVE the chef apps and are reinforcing and learning math skills as they create yummy foods.  The Tiggly adventure was a bit hard for my students and it was good to see them struggle and then succeed as they figured things out and then shared their learning with each other.
**We have used Subtraction, Chef, Cardtoons, Adventure, Draw

Zoombini’s — $4.99 (and worth it!)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/zoombinis/id961739806?mt=8

I loved loved loved this program in the 90’s and still love it today.   The higher level thinking skills in this app are probably the best I have ever seen.   The students cannot just drag and drop in this app.  There is problem solving at every single destination w/ 4 levels of learning.   Students can play in JOURNEY mode or PRACTICE mode!

Keynote, Pages, Garage Band — ALL FREE
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/keynote/id361285480?mt=8

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pages/id361309726?mt=8

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/garageband/id408709785?mt=8

We had originally paid for these on 5 of our old ipads and then they came free on our new ipads…and now they are free for all!   YEAH!!
We are a 365 campus on our PCs and I am pleased that my students are learning skills rather than programs in that they can choose how they would like to create.   Kids are creating big time with these apps!

CloudArt App — .99cents
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cloudart/id598345649?mt=8

I am a huge fan of wordle…..always have been, probably always will be.  Probably one of the reasons why I love this app.   Students can type (or talk) in words or grab info from a website and then create a word cloud picture.  They have a large choice of formatting options and the ability to save and share in different ways.

TocaBoca — Sometimes free
https://tocaboca.com/apps/

Keep an eye on the Toca Boca apps and when one is free — grab it.
My students enjoy a lot of these apps but the one that STAYS on our ipads is Toca Builders:  https://itunes.apple.com/app/id652077009?mt=8

I check http://www.smartappsforkids.com/ every Friday and if there is a Toca Boca app for free, I download it.
Just a disclaimer — some of their apps have some (to me) unnecessary choices (like in the school, there is a bathroom and toilet area — which is a distraction to my students) — just FYI.

Hoopa City 1 — .99cents
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hoopa-city/id881404173?mt=8
Hoopa City 2 — $2.99
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dr-panda-hoopa-city-2/id1116026071?mt=8

Another app we found for free and fell in love with!   Hoopa City is an excellent app for building, problem solving, and creation.  #1 has more things you can build (at this time) but #2 is more interactive (you can pick up your people and place them into buildings).   It is the #1 app my students ask for when we have “free” time in the lab.   It is the #1 app I go to when I have “free” time.

Often I will introduce an app in the lab (such as Mathseeds) and then encourage the teacher to use it within their classroom setting.   This is helping a great deal overcome teacher timidity with something new.   And this allows the student to help teach the teacher something as well.

Jen