Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Hour of Code and CS Ed Week at SCES

I don't wait until December to start getting the students engaged in coding and computer science but I do hit it hard for a week.  Here is what our week is looking like:

Monday - Code A Thon

During the related arts block for each grade, all the students in the grade came to the gym for coding.  I have 3 iPad carts (grades K-2) and 2 Chromebook carts (grades 3-5) ready to go.  The carts were spread out around the room with student log-in cards already separated out 2 classes per cart.  I introduced Hour of Code, showed the Code.org Kickoff video, and explained student choices for the day.  Students were then able to get into partners or small groups (3 students max), pick up a device, and CODE!

Kindergarten - Box Island App on iPads - I already introduced this app to students last week.
1st Grade - Several choices in a Coding folder on iPads - Box Island, The Foos, Daisy the Dinosaur, Scratch, Jr
2nd Grade - Coding apps on iPads or students could scan a QR code which took them directly to Code.org's Code Studio for their Minecraft, Star Wars, or Flappy Code Tutorials
3rd Grade - Choice of sites on my 3rd Grade Teacher Class Page
4th Grade - Choice of sites on my 4th Grade Teacher Class Page
5th Grade - Choices of sites on my 5th Grade Teacher Class Page

Monday-Friday Mornings - Open Coding Time in Computer Lab

Each day of the week is assigned to a specific grade level.  Students must check in with their teacher, drop off their book bag, and then come to my computer lab to code.  I already have Code.org pulled up on the computers and I have the iPad cart ready for students who want to work on apps.  These mornings are for students who are already excited about coding, to encourage it further.  Unfortunately I do have to cap it off when my lab is full and I've had some upset students - but that's better than an empty lab!

Friday - Computer Science Speakers and Code A Thon Part II

For the past few years we have brought in speakers for the last day of CS Ed Week.  This year unfortunately I could not rally as many as I have in the have so we will have speakers for grades 2-5 and we will have Code A Thon Part II with K and 1.  I'm so grateful for the speakers who agreed to come share their careers and passions.  Some are parents of students at my school and others are my friends who express an interest in what I do.  I remember to call on this when CS Ed Week comes around :-)
The students all file into the gym where I have a SmartBoard hooked up and the speakers share about what they do and how they got to where they are.  We have had speaker bring all computer parts to pass around, others write a short program/game just for that group of kids, speakers share about the connection between ELA and programming languages, and more.  It is never too early to inspire students!

How are you celebrating CS Ed Week?

Monday, March 23, 2015


Are you looking to create an interactive review?

I have used Kahoot with grades 1-5 during my technology class. I've simply used it to make worksheets/assessments interactive. (In my current role I don't need written assessments for every child so this works great.)  It is a great online tool to engage students in an interactive learning or review game. Several teachers at my school are already using Kahoot from time to time either with students working together in small groups to answer the questions or students answering independently. After playing a Kahoot the students not only want to play another one - they often want to play the exact same one again!  How powerful that is for students not to mind to continue practicing the same questions!
Some things to know...
  • The teacher is the “game show host” and leads the game each time. 
  • Each participant in the game needs a device (iPad, Chromebook, Computer,…anything with internet access like Kindle Fire, iPhone, etc) to access the game and play along. 
  • You can stop and discuss after each question since you will see how the class as a whole answered each question (great formative assessment!). 
  • You can also download individual student responses at the end if you want. 
I found a Kahoot Cheat Sheet online (from Moore County Schools...thank you!) and edited it to add some of my own notes.  It provides step-by-step instructions for creating and playing your first Kahoot.

Want to create your first Kahoot?

I've mainly taken the lesson activities from Common Sense Media's Digital Citizenship's Scope and Sequence for my Kahoots.  I'm linking to them below...feel free to use them!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Google Drive in 2nd Grade

Our 2nd graders are our first group to get a GAFE account.  Beginning in February/March, I start introducing them to their accounts - how to sign in, the features of the different Google Apps, sharing, commenting, etc.  Other tech teachers in my district begin at the beginning of the year but based on our student population (many don't have devices at home, especially younger students) we wait until now.  Every year I tweak the lessons a little and since I teach all 6 2nd grade classes the lesson even gets tweaked a little as I move through the rotation.  When I first was looking for introductory units, I could not find much already created so I want to share with you what I have put together in the hopes that it helps someone else.

Lesson 1 - Log In and Explore
Students simply log into their GAFE account through our school homepage.  We go through the procedure and responsibilities. The last 5-10 minutes students are able to explore and create docs, slides, drawings, etc.  I really try and step back during these last few minutes to see if students can make connections between what we done in the Microsoft Office suite and Google Apps.

Check out the Google Slides presentation that I use.  Make a copy and edit to fit your school.

Lesson 2 - Google Drawing: My Perfect Bedroom
Students log into their GAFE account through our school homepage.  Students will create their perfect bedroom - this is the bedroom in their imagination.  I think this is important because some of my students do not have bedrooms so this helps create an even ground.  On the SmartBoard I review a few different features in Google Drawing before letting students loose on their computers.  It is important to move around the classroom to help students who get stuck.
Features that I review:
  • Change the background color.
  • Insert shapes and change their fill color and line color.
  • Turn shapes into text boxes by double-clicking.
  • Change the font style and font size of text.
  • Insert and re-size an image.

Lesson 3 - Google Docs: Imaginative Narrative
We start this lesson again by students logging into their GAFE account through our school homepage.  A couple of the classes are becoming more independent and as students work, I pull small groups to begin allowing them to practice logging into their accounts through Chromebooks. Today students will write an imaginative narrative based off a picture prompt.  I give each student a different picture prompt but you could provide one for your class if you wanted.  On the SmartBoard I review a few different features both with Google Docs and in using the keyboard.  It is important to move around the classroom to help students who get stuck.
Features that I review:
  • Change font style, size, and color.
  • Insert and re-size image.
  • Right click to fix spelling or grammar
  • Keyboard: Shift key vs. Caps Lock
  • Keyboard: Enter for a new line
  • Keyboard: The period key
I pulled together the unique photos from Pinterest.  You can search for your own or print the ones I used.  These photos are not my work and I do not claim ownership or credit for them.

Lesson 4 - Collaboration and Communication
Students log into their GAFE account via the school homepage.  Today is the day that they will start exploring the collaboration and communication features that are available through "Share."  We start with discussing the expectations when collaborating on a project together and when writing comments on someone else's work.  We put these ideas into a chart on the SmartBoard to reference later.  Make sure to also discuss what it would be like to jam their teacher's inbox with lots of sharing.
It is soon time to let them loose to share their work, collaborate, and communicate.  I have tried keeping strict rules on it, such as, you can only share with 1 friend and your teacher but then I found students without partners who needed to be with a group of more than one.  I soon opened it up to share with your classmates and your teacher.
I was scared I was going to be having students sharing work with all the time but after the first day it wasn't a big deal and they seemed not to bombard anyone's "Shared with Me" folder with unnecessary files.

Lesson 5 - Exploration Day
 This is the final day that the students can't wait for.  First, all students log into their GAFE account through Chromebooks.  This takes a bit of time and tends to be the actual teaching focus of the day.  It requires them to type in their whole email address instead of just their username so there is a little more room for typos and frustration.
I model how to access their drive through the App Array and then let them go.  Many students go back to their Perfect Bedroom drawing or their imaginative narrative.  But others decide on creating new documents with their classmates.  The Chromebooks are nice because students can move around and sit with their friends/partners.  I find that at a younger age it is still easier for them to collaborate face to face as they are working on the same assignment so they are not trying to do the same thing at the same time.

I hope you can use the lesson ideas to help you in introducing GAFE to your students! If you have other ideas or suggestions, please comment below!