Kodable Road Tour: Day 9

We had such a great first day in Minnetonka that we decided to stay for round 2 the very next day! Today’s stops included: Clear Springs Elementary and Cedar Ridge Elementary.

Stop #1: Clear Springs Elementary

In the morning we met up with our great friend Jeremy (@JEngebretson75), and got prepared to start a fresh day of coding with some students.

What we learned: A new way to teach students to count loops

Yesterday, we spoke to many students about how important it was to use loops in the right manner, and not just use the simply for the extra boxes to take up space. Today, we helped students understand and identify how many iterations are needed for a loop, so that they can begin to use loops more efficiently. In order to determine the number of iterations, we helped the students count the corners of each maze with two fingers. By placing two fingers on the corner of each maze and counting the number of times this occurs, students were able to easily figure out the number of iterations needed for their loop. This made things much easier, as many students tend to eyeball and then guess the number of iterations that they need. Furthermore, since they had discovered a way to easily identify the number of iterations, these students tended to use loops in a more efficient manner, and discarded their old methods.

Highlight of the day: Rating understanding with thumbs up/thumbs down

During our sessions at Clear Springs, we encountered one of our favorite rating systems, the thumbs up if you understand, and thumbs down if you are still confused rating system. This immediate feedback was very useful for our lesson to help gauge if the students understood the material, and we ended up using this a number of times to help explain some of the more difficult concepts such as binary code, translating code, and how exactly loops work.

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With this visit we concluded our time in Minnetonka! Thanks so much to everyone who made it a great two days of programming. 🙂

Stop #2: Cedar Ridge Elementary 

For our last stop in Minnesota, we headed over to Cedar Ridge Elementary where we met up with the awesome Jen Heyer and her students. 🙂

What we learned: Let the students be the experts

We have already talked a little about the ask 3 then me rule on our trip, which has worked very well so far. But in today’s class we also saw the importance of having students be the experts. In this session we had several students who were flying through the game, and some others who were finding some of the challenging levels a little bit difficult. When we paired those who were struggling with those who had already finished a particular level, the results were phenomenal.

Take away: Many students will move quickly through lessons while others will be more challenged, and quite a few students will play at home and finish Kodable as well. Since there are often many students who are on several different portions of the game, it can sometimes get tricky if you want to complete a lesson that many students have already finished. Instead of forcing these students to red0 levels they have completed or let them move far ahead of other students, instruct them to help others, and teach the concepts to their fellow classmates.

Favorite moment: Watching kids learn loops in a matter of minutes

Jen’s class had limited experience with loops, but that did not stop them from picking it up very quickly. We had put aside several minutes of discussion for loops, but in a matter of a few minutes, all of the students had firmly grasped the concept and were ready to move on to using loops in Kodable. Instead of holding them back, we move straight to loops lessons and watched them get busy coding!

The future: Coding during Fall Science

Jen shared with us her awesome plans to teach Computer Science….as an actual science next year! In place of teaching other Science topics, Jen plans to make time for Computer Science during these units, and make it a staple in her classroom curriculum. We can’t wait to hear more about how her ambitious plans work out next year!

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And we are off to Iowa! Stay tuned for our blog about our visit to Loess Hills Elementary.

#KodableRoadTour: Show Everyone Your Programming Skills

Kodable Road Tour Swag

The #KodableRoadTour is moving at lightning speed! We have already visited over 20 schools in 10 states, and we don’t plan on slowing down. 🙂

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Were you a stop on the #KodableRoadTour and want to show off your programming skills? Or do you just love Kodable and want to support the future of children’s programming? Get some #KodableRoadTour Swag!

Kodable Road Trip T-Shirts

Be sure to also check out our daily blog posts from all of our stops to learn more about our adventures, as well as what other classrooms are doing with coding around the country.

 

Kodable Road Tour: Day 1

The Kodable Road Tour

Today, we kicked off the first leg of our Kodable Road Tour in Maryland and got off to an AWESOME start!

After beginning our journey eastward on Sunday at 4am local time in San Francisco…

Kodable Road Tour San Francisco
Those are some sleepy faces!

…we arrived in Baltimore ready to rock and roll. It was time to begin teaching some programming!

First Stop

The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland where we talked about loops and binary – and just how many planets the fuzzes should definitely visit!

Lots of collaboration with pair programming!

What we learned: The versatility of going screen free
I’ve always loved the Fuzz Family Frenzy, because it’s simple to explain and a LOT of fun. However, today it was even better. We took the activity a step further and created our own commands as a class to define exactly how many degrees our robot (Neal Rooney) should turn and how high it should jump.

We also talked about how the code gets redundant when you have to repeat “left foot, right foot”. That spurred a great lesson about how loops work and how they’re key to more efficient coding. I’ll definitely be adding that lesson to my tool belt. 🙂

Fuzz Family Frenzy using loops
Here you can see some of our code using loops. (and instructions to jump 2 feet!)

What’s happening in the future: Debi Krulak (@MrsKatBL) plans to integrate coding into more lesson plans as the lower school media specialist. She says knowing where everyone is at with in Kodable helps to know when to stop and spend more time talking about a concept. She had a great idea to use screen free activities as a way to asses how well students are able to apply the lessons they learn in another scenario.

Favorite moment: A comical and adorable conversation about how computers can’t understand sarcasm.

Next, we headed down to Annapolis for our second stop of the day!

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Second Stop

St. Martin’s In-The-Field Episcopal School, where we learned about the great Grace Hopper and that testing our code can prevent bugs.

Team debugging!
A deep discussion involving bugs and testing.

What we learned: Kids understand much more than we think they do

Neal and I talked to a group of first and second graders and then a group of third and fourth graders. It was interesting to see the older students grasp the concepts of sequential thinking and giving a computer commands really quickly.

The extra time gave us the opportunity to try something new and talk about concepts like variables and functions. We presented the new ideas in a simple and easy to digest way: modifying the class’s original Fuzz Family Frenzy code. We added specifics like degrees of a turn, length of our steps, an height of our jumps. We also discussed how that program could be assigned as a function and used again later by calling on the name we gave it.

We had a lot of fun with these brilliant first graders!

What’s happening in the future: Karen White and other teachers at her school are starting an iLab! She’s a firm believer in the power of playing to learn and wants her students to get their hands dirty working with a variety of new technologies.

Favorite moment: Seeing the power of Kodable as a break from testing, and getting to be the run-away robot when we had a bug in our Fuzz Family Frenzy code.

BONUS: We enjoyed a bit of down time at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Wow! It definitely made me a proud American.

Grechen
Boat selfie 😀
Neal
Look! More boats!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One day down and another to go! Thank you to both schools for your kindness and hospitality. We’re loving every minute so far and we can’t wait to see more schools!

Also, don’t forget to join the fun and support the Kodable Road Tour! Check out the neat T-Shirts we created just for the trip!

Kodable Road Trip T-Shirts

 

The Kodable Road Tour

The Kodable Road Tour

Pack up the minivan, we’re hitting the road! The Kodable Team is dedicating the month of May to visiting as many schools as possible to teach programming, and we want your school to be on our list!

Fill out an application to apply and make your school one of our stops along our incredibly coding journey. Space is limited, so please only enter your information if you are seriously interested. 🙂

The Kodable Road Tour

New Kodable Dashboard is Live

Exciting news from Kodable HQ! After finishing up some major updates to Kodable Web, we are ready to release our new Teacher Dashboard! As of this moment, our new Teacher Dashboard is live and available for Public Beta in your Kodable Teacher Account.

To start using the new Kodable Dashboard, follow these instructions:

1. Visit Kodable.com

2. Log into your Teacher Account

3. Click on link in the header to try the new dashboard!

Kodable Dashboard Public Beta

4. Presto! Welcome to your new Teacher Dashboard!

Kodable Dashboard is ready to use

What’s new on the Teacher Dashboard?

Our new Kodable Teacher Dashboard is loaded with a ton of new features to help you with get the most out of your Kodable Curriculum.

View CCSS Standards in Progress and Completed

You can complete many CCSS standards using Kodable. Take a look at what standards your students are working on, and which ones they have completed.

CCSS Standards in progress and completed

View Lessons Completed

Quickly glance at your class’ progress and see what lessons they have yet to complete.

Quickly view your progress

Manage Administrator Access

Kodable School account holders can now easily manage their school’s Teacher Accounts from a single page.

Manage your teacher accounts as an administrator

View Assignments and Curriculum Resources

Introducing the new Kodable Curriculum! Learn Sequence, Conditions, Loops, Functions, and Debugging using Kodable’s learning guides, unplugged activities, video tutorials, and lessons.

Assignments Tab in Kodable

View and Edit all of your students

Quickly view and edit all of your students in every class from a single page.

View All Students and make bulk changes

 Stay tuned for more updates coming soon!

 

 

#KidsCanCode Chat: Measuring Programming ‘Success’

Measuring Programming Success

Often, when programming solutions can be subjective, how do you define success? How do you assess students’ grasp of key programming concepts? This week we discuss how we can best measure programming success.

Chat Questions:

  • Q1: What key programming concepts do you teach?
  • Q2: How do you assess whether or not a student has mastered a programming concept?
  • Q3: How do you report/share your success with administrators/colleagues?
  • Q4: What do you suggest for Ss who are ready to move on to more advanced learning?
  • Q5: How do you measure your own learning when it comes to teaching programming?
  • Q6: When programming solutions can be subjective, how do you define success?

Join us next week for another Random Questions Chat. Submit all your burning questions that you need answered, and our #KidsCanCode community can deliver ➜ Ask a Question

#KidsCanCode Chat is every Tuesday at 8pm EST 🙂

#KidsCanCode Chat: My Coding Wish List

#KidsCanCode Chat: My Coding Wish List
Whatever your coding wish list is…I am sure it is very LONG. In this week’s #KidsCanCode Chat, we share our coding wish lists, and discuss how we can transform these dreams into a reality.
Chat Questions
  • Q1: What is a coding wish list?
  • Q2: SHARE: The items on your coding wish list.
  • Q3: What are the greatest challenges you face in making your coding wish list a reality?
  • Q4: SHARE: An epic tale of how an item from your wish list found its way into your classroom.
  • Q5: What are some ways to recruit the community to help make your wish list a reality?
  • Q6: How can you help a fellow teacher obtain an item off their wish list?
Join us Tuesdays 8pm EST for #KidsCanCode Education Chat 
Next Week’s Chat Topic: Programming Concepts for Elementary

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. 🙂

#KidsCanCode Chat: Pushing the Limit with Coding

Pushing the Limit with Coding
How can we encourage students to think about coding concepts differently? How can we reinforce programming concepts and get students to think outside of the box? This week, we push the limits of teaching programming in #KidsCanCode chat.
*Insert bonus Salt-N-Pepa gif*
push it real good with coding

Chat Questions:

  • Q1: How do you create a classroom environment that encourages Ss to think outside of the box?
  • Q2: Do you ever teach the same coding concept in different ways? How?
  • Q3: How can you help Ss make the connection between coding and the real world?
  • Q4: How do you reinforce coding concepts?
  • Q5: SHARE: 5 of your students don’t understand sequence…How do you improvise and help them understand?
  • Q6: How will you “Push the Limit” with coding in the future?

Don’t be a stranger! Join us Tuesdays 8pm EST for #KidsCanCode Chat! 

#KidsCanCode Chat: Squeezing Coding into My Curriculum

Squeezing Coding into My Curriculum
In this week’s chat we are joined by special guest moderator @tcarey98, who is here to chat about inquiry-based coding activities, making coding an ongoing project, and encouraging students to dive deeper into coding.

Join us Tuesdays at 8pm EST for #KidsCanCode Chat!