It was a December dream team appy hour: Google Drive, Evernote and Edmodo! Resources are here, if you're interested in learning a little more about the iPad apps.
Some 5th Graders recorded a message on friendship today for their kindergarten buddies. Kids will never stop amazing me at their thoughtfulness and genuine desire to share their wisdom. Just ask them!
We had crazy fun during Learn to Code week, December 9-15, introducing programming to elementary students. I could not wipe the smile off my face for a minute. We all had a blast. More computer programming will be happening in January and I'm hoping the kiddos develop a long-lasting love of understanding technology and learning to code.
If you are looking for awesome iPad apps to try I suggest Kodable, Daisy the dinosaur, Light-Bot and Hopscotch for starters. If you are using a computer I suggest trying Light-Bot and www.Code.org. If you haven't tried programming on an iPad I highly recommend it for the kids as young as 4.
Here are a few pictures that captured the joy of learning to code. I don't have any shots showing the "agony of defeat," as they used to say on the old ABC's Wide World of Sports. But there are some "thrill of victory" snapshots!
*Loved using AirServer to mirror my iPad on the SMART board in different classrooms this past week! However, AirServer running on a MacBook and my iPad running iOS 7 are not getting along right now. I hope Apple updates iOS 7 soon so I am back in mirroring heaven. I really, really dislike being tied to a computer at the front or side of a classroom.
2nd Graders jumped at the chance yesterday to choreograph their very own dance on the iPad using the Daisy the Dinosaur app. They had a blast exploring Daisy the Dinosaur app and making that cute dino dance to their beat!
Here's a little of what we did and more about what I would do differently next time. We started using the app in the explore more. I did a 30 second demo and let them go for it. They could work alone or in pairs. They needed to choreograph some dance moves, try the moves themselves, write down the moves on paper, and finally, use the app to have Daisy do the dance. The kids were tremendous, working very hard the whole time to design the next Michael Jackson moonwalk dance sensation.
A few things I will definitely try do next time I lead this introductory coding class for the little guys:
1. Dynamic Duos - Pairs, not optional. One partner acts out dance steps and the other partner captures the dance moves on paper. Then they code it together on one or two iPads. Coding using the drag and drop block commands, went really quickly because the first 5 minutes of the class they got familiar with what the app could and couldn't do.
2. Take screenshots of the program. We captured a few, but I need to watch the time better because the program is not saved.
3. Share. Share with the class or with other pairs. Save a little extra time at the end to display at least a few of the dances for the whole class to see. Connect the student iPads to the projector so the whole class can see the new dance performances. It's good audience practice and the giggles are infectious.
(Side note: Maybe in the near future we will get to the point where we can wirelessly display student iPads. We are not there yet, but I absolutely loved walking around while wirelessly demo'ing the app on my iPad. It was pretty funny though because looking back, I only walked back and forth near the Smart Board. Need to branch out a bit next time.)
4. Video tape the students in pairs doing their dance. This might be too hard for the little guys to remember all the steps, but then again, 2nd graders surprise me all the time! Maybe setting up stations to direct the sharing and video taping...uhm. Any thoughts? Do you think it's worth trying to capture the live performances? As a parent I think I would really be proud of my child watching a dance performance and knowing she programmed it too boot! I think this makes programming real for kids. Doing it and seeing it play out. Just my two cents.
Update from the next class: We had more time to share and watch the dinos dance which makes for an exceptional learning experience. Cheers!
Author: Jeanne Reed
Engineer turned educator, now educational technologist - sharing my passion and perspective on technology in education to improve student learning. Hope you enjoy!
Reflections by Jeanne Reed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.