4 Earth Day Activities to Empower Your Students

Earth Day is quickly approaching. We can all take advantage of this chance to highlight what it truly means to take care of our planet.  Particularly in a time where every day seems to bring a new challenge for the human race.

There’s something extra special about seeing our students excel as human beings as well as academically. The proudest memories I had as a teacher go far beyond my students growing 3 grade levels in reading in one year. They include the not-so-small moments when I saw my students becoming awesome people.

Empowering our students to shine outside of the classroom is essential. It is also an excellent application of the critical thinking and problem-solving mindset we work so hard to cultivate. 

What on EARTH does this have to do with coding?

Computer Science is a living example of the 4 Cs (critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity). Coding gives limitless opportunity to innovate for the Earth’s well-being. Below are some tips to get students using their skill sets on Earth’s big day:

Share stories of inspirational (kid!) innovators.

This is a great way to cover some Common Core ELA standards, depending on what grade(s) you teach! Have students research and present on green energy and green technology inventions- we particular enjoy some of these kid inventor’s ideas.

If you’re up for renting or purchasing, check out the Code Girl documentary with a wide range of inspiring ideas to better Earth and humanity.

Use current events to encourage and inspire.

Share relevant issues that our Earth faces, tastefully presenting global issues that we can work together to solve in small (or big!) ways.

Some great places for kid-friendly current events are here and here. The National Education Association also has awesome lesson plans and activities that address current issues.

Give students a challenge!

Present an issue that Earthlings face today (one your students can understand and think critically about). Challenge students to apply the 4 Cs to come up with a creative solution—let them run with it! For Kodable’s Earth Day coding challenge, get our lesson plans and activities!

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Lower Elementary Earth Day lesson (k-2)3
Upper Elementary Earth Day lesson (3-5)

Encourage teamwork and unity.

Caring for our planet is a responsibility we all share equally; one that holds us together despite our differences. As we look to better our planet, there is nothing more important than each of us sharing our talents and ideas in a productive way. Imagine what we can do by sharing, listening, and learning from each other? Try some of these awesome Scholastic team builders to promote working together on Earth Day and every day. “Recycled Goods” is great for PBL on Earth Day!

 

Whatever you decide to do on Friday, Aprill 22nd  to celebrate our planet with your students, we THANK YOU for equipping the future with humans who will have the skills needed to continue to innovate, invent, and take us for many more wild trips around the sun.
We want to hear and share about your Earth Day festivities! Send pictures, artwork, and activity ideas to 
brie@kodable.com.

 

 

 

 

Learn JavaScript with Kodable

It is a big day at Kodable! For the past three years, we have been working toward one goal: making it as easy as possible to teach programming in elementary school! Now we provide a complete K-5 programming curriculum to elementary schools. The Kodable 4th and 5th grade curriculum, Bug World, is now available!

harry-potter

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Your 4th and 5th grade students will journey with the fuzzFamily to the arid world of the bugs. They must use real JavaScript and learn about Object-Oriented Programming concepts such as Classes, Subclasses, Properties, Methods, and more!

With the release of Bug World, Kodable is now the world’s first all-inclusive programming curriculum for elementary schools taking students from learning to think like a programmer in Kindergarten to writing real code by 5th grade.

To celebrate, we’re making our 4th and 5th grade curriculum available for you to try with your students for FREE for the rest of the 2015-2016 school year!

 

Where this fits

Bug World is the first part of Kodable that teaches actual syntax, no blocks here! We seamlessly transition from our earlier, symbol-based lessons into JavaScript. In fact, if you look closely, you might see a few familiar things!Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 2.39.23 PM

The Bug World lesson plans and student content we are teaching advanced concepts often included in the first semester of college for computer science students. These concepts are not out of reach for your students, however, is intended for upper elementary students, or those that already have a solid foundation in our earlier content.

 

 Your 2nd graders having completed earlier parts of Kodable should already code on a 5th grade level.

The United States has already moved toward making coding a part of every child’s education with the recent CS for All Initiative. Bringing CS to every student has always been our goal, and our complete K-5 Programming Curriculum makes it that much easier for schools to begin teaching their students computer science in Kindergarten. By completing their study of JavaScript in 5th grade, students can explore other areas of computer science in middle and high school.

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What it teaches

Our Object-Oriented Programming Curriculum teaches real computer science in a way that makes it accessible for young learners. To make this learning process as smooth as possible, we highly recommend following our lesson plans before moving to on-screen content.

We know that teaching computer science can be intimidating, but our mission has always been to make it as accessible to teachers without previous coding experience. This has never been truer than in our new content. The good news is that we’ve created some incredible resources, designed from the ground up by teachers, for teachers.

 

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Each lesson plan includes vocabulary, learning objectives and a collaborative off-screen activity. You do not need any previous JavaScript or programming experience to teach and learn with your students.

 

 

 

 

 

Your students began their programming education on Smeeborg by learning about foundational coding concepts in isolation, such as:

  • Sequence
  • Conditions
  • Loops
  • Functions
  • Debugging

In Asteroidia, your students learned all about Variables, including:

  • Strings
  • Integers
  • ArraysScreen Shot 2016-02-19 at 1.44.57 PM

Our Object-Oriented programming curriculum (Bug World!) prepares students to write real, dynamic programs with actual programming syntax. Bug World revisits foundational concepts while teaching four new concepts:

  • Classes
  • Properties
  • Subclasses
  • Functions

Students will learn about these concepts off-screen and then take to their devices for independent practice. Your class will write classes, modify properties, make subclasses, and work with functions to engage in an exciting and dynamic program.

 

Why we chose JavaScript?

JavaScript is the most widely used language in the world, and powers virtually every website you visit. It is also the easiest language to get started with and see real results – which is incredibly powerful for captivating young learners. You and your students are going to learn an incredibly powerful technology that powers some of the biggest websites in the world, including Facebook, Twitter, and Netflix.

Improvements in JavaScript recently (specifically, ECMAScript 6) has made it a viable, and powerful teaching tool for students.

 

What it means for you

Our curriculum and lesson plans are available now on your teacher dashboard. As with every other concept in Kodable, we have included complete, scripted lessons that you can dive into with your students.

Feel free to give it a whirl this spring! It is available to everyone from now until June 31st, 2016.

Get Started with your students

If your school is considering implementing coding on a K-5 scale, please feel free to reach out to us (support@kodable.com) about the scope and sequence of the Kodable Curriculum We’re happy to help you determine if it can fit your goals.

5 Tips for a Successful Back to School Night

Back to School Night is an exciting time to engage with families and start building relationships that will benefit students throughout the year and beyond.  Back to School Night typically comes after a full day of teaching, sometimes with a staff meeting sandwiched between the two.


Here are 5 tips that helped me with 5 successful Back to School Nights when I was teaching:

1. Set yourself up for success – Put out sign in sheets

In addition to having a main sign in sheet available when parents enter the room, placing one at every table proactively mitigates missing names and contact information for anyone in attendance. Sending an appreciation note, text, or e-mail the next day to those on the list is always a great starting point for parent communication.

2. Everyone likes to know what to expect – Give your guests an agenda

Having hard copies of the agenda on tables allows parents to relax, take their eyes of the clock, and engage with your presentation. No one really likes surprises, especially when little ones are in tow, dinner is waiting at home, or preparation for a busy tomorrow is looming.

3. Get organized – Recruit students to help set up your classroom

Intentionally organize your classroom for the evening and have materials ready (recruit student help!). Important, often overlooked details to keep in mind:

  • Chairs available for extra seating
  • Space for activities that require movement (icebreakers, classroom tours, time to mingle)
  • A designated area for parent belongings
  • Handouts and resources printed and easily accessible
  • Writing utensils for filling out forms, notes, etc

4. First impressions are important – Save time with a Presentation Template

Plan and set up your presentation in advance. A successful presentation is:

  • Timed. Make sure you run through it beforehand and it isn’t too short or too long!
  • Clear
  • Collaborative: allows for parents to ask questions, actively engage, and supports a strong, parent-teacher team.
  • Student-friendly. Have students participate by handing out materials, assisting parents in demos, and available as guest speakers to talk about their classroom.
  • Compatible with the technology you will use to present
  • Tested in advance- there is nothing worse than a presentation that won’t load or sound that won’t work with a room of silent parents looking at you!

    *Note: We’ve gone ahead and designed a presentation for you to use on your Back to School Night. We hope this eliminates the time you would spend planning, and we hope you’ll share it with other teachers! All you need to do is click the image below to download the Kodable Back to School Night Resource Kit. Enter your school/classroom information and fill in your agenda.

    Copy of EST. 2015

 

5. Have fun!

Back to School Night is an exciting opportunity to start building relationships with families. Let parents mingle, get to know each other, and get to know you! Include parents in your focus for the year and communicate clearly that this is a team you’re excited to be a part of it.

 

Learn to Code: New Sequence Activity

Learn to Code: Sequence

Teach your students the fundamentals of sequence with our new fuzzFamily Fever activity! Worksheets and directions are included and available for download below. Happy coding!

Overview

  • Time frame — About 30-45 minutes
  • The fuzzFamily has crash-landed on the planet Smeeborg and needs your help! Fill in the boxes below each maze with the correct commands and cardinal directions to navigate the fuzzFamily to safety.

Materials

  • Pencil
  • fuzzFamily Fever Handout (Download Below)
  • Kodable
  • SMART Board or Project (optional)

 

Learn to Code: Sequence Activity

We have more activities coming soon! Check back for updates. 🙂