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.

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.

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.

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)

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.




RUN MARCO – Website








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