Kodable Road Trip: Day 3

The Kodable Road Tour

Neal and I kicked off day three bright and early in Maplewood, NJ, where we were enjoying some great New England spring time weather. 😀

First Stop: Clinton Elementary

Welcome to Clinton Library!
Welcome to Clinton Library!

What we learned: 

We did some advanced looping with the third grade coders of Clinton Elementary. The students we talked to all showed great interest in learning to code, so we decided to jump in to loops during the unplugged activity. After doing the unplugged version of loops, we projected Kodable on the SMART board, so everyone could see how loops work in the game. We solved a couple lessons together, and talked about how these loops are different from loops they’ve done in other programs. Once everyone said they felt comfortable, we handed out the iPads for them to try on their own and in groups.

Take away: Talking about how the loops worked differently, solving a few lessons together, and preparing with discussion, helped the actual individual work go really smoothly.

IMG_2085

Favorite moment: During our conversation on bugs in programming, we diverted on to a science lesson on why insects are different from arachnids. Without thinking, I said arachnids were not bugs – WRONG! I was quickly reminded that arachnids are, indeed bugs. 🙂 +1 to Clinton Elementary first grade scientists.

Question for the Kodable community: Do you know any good programming books for kids?
The great Jen Latimer is looking for some titles to add to their selection and I thought our #KidsCanCode and Kodable family would be the best place to start. Leave any suggestions in the comments or tweet at Jen personally: @jenlatimer

Some ideas:

Hello Ruby” – by Linda Liukas

What do you do with an Idea?” – by Kobi Yamada (Not programming, but still great. I just bought it for my niece)

Second Stop: Marshall Hill School

Marshall Hill School
Look at all those lovely fuzzes!

What we learned: 

Conditions have always been one of the hardest things for me to explain. I’m always trying new ways to make such an abstract concept seem more concrete. Logically, it is simple to understand, “If this, then that,”  but because it is such a logical expression it is hard to make it concrete in language the littles can understand.

Today, I tried out a new way of explaining it: “When your mom is giving directions to your dad when he is driving, how does he know when to turn? If she doesn’t tell him to turn he’ll keep doing straight. We have to give the fuzzes specific instructions telling them where to turn, or they’ll keep going straight. We give them the signal to turn by using colors.”

I’m going to keep trying this as we continue on the road tour. Perhaps it will make it’s way into the next revision of the Kodable Learning Guide on Conditions. Will you give it a try? Let me know how it goes in the comments!

IMG : Expert coders working on conditions.
Expert coders working on conditions.

Favorite moment: Seeing all of the beautiful fuzzes the kids had colored for us. The walls were covered with new fuzz ideas! <3

The future: 

Everyone at Marshall Hill is on board with coding. It was wonderful to see all of the staff so engaged and excited about getting their students in to programming. Cindy Ranieri and Laura Oaks (@LauraOakes31) are doing a great job of building a community around coding, and they hope to continue that next year with more integration.

 

Kodable Life Hacks: Create a Fuzz!

Make sure to have fun with your coding curriculum

This Halloween Week, we have had a TON of requests from teachers/students looking to create and design their own Fuzzes.  What better way to get into the spirit of Halloween/Coding than creating your own Kodable Fuzz?!

Make sure to have fun with your coding curriculum

Create a Kodable Fuzz!

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Grechen’s tutorial: 4 Ways to Make a Kodable Fuzz

Also, thanks to Jen Gilbert (@msgilbertrocks), we have a brand new Fuzz design with easy directions for you to follow! Here are Jen’s detailed instructions which she shared with us:

Do you have any Fuzz designs or directions that we should have included? Let us know so we can share! Happy Fuzz Making! 🙂

Create a new Kodable Fuzz!

4 Ways To Make a Kodable Fuzz

Students, parents, and teachers all enjoy the warm, fuzzy company of the fuzzFamily. It is no surprise that we get tons of requests for tips and tricks on how to make them. I decided to compile a list of all the ways you and your Kodable kiddos can enjoy a real life fuzz!

I’d also like to give a special thanks to the awesome teachers who went above and beyond for their students and decided to come up with their own ways of making a fuzz. Their examples are included here as well.

Coloring Sheet Fuzz

The easiest and most frugal way to create a Kodable fuzz is with our fuzz coloring sheet. Download the PDF and start coloring your own!

Create a Fuzz

Yarn Pom Pom Fuzz

Thanks to Agnese Addone and Caterina Moscetti, the CoderDojo Roma students all got their very own fuzz!

The pom pom fuzzes seem pretty simple to create. You can watch the youtube video or follow the steps listed below.

Fuzzes

  1. Cut out two round pieces of cardboard. Make sure they are the same size.
  2. Cut out a hole in the center of both pieces that is the same size. You’ll end up with two cardboard rings.
  3. Wrap yarn around both pieces of cardboard starting by going through the center, like in the picture below. Keep wrapping until the entire ring is covered.
  4. Cut each piece of yarn all around the ring using the two pieces of cardboard as a guide. Be sure to hold the pieces of cardboard securely while you cut, so they don’t come apart. Start with yarn to create fuzzes
  5. While the pieces of cardboard are still attached, wrap a piece of yarn very tightly around the center of the yarn ball. Tie it tight, and cut off the remaining yarn.
  6. Remove the cardboard, and fluff the pom poms. Add eyes and a mouth and you have an adorable pom pom fuzz!

Foam Ball Fuzz

blueFuzz

I was inspired by this tutorial, and decided to make my own fuzz to travel with us to schools, events, and keep me company at my desk. The supplies for the entire fuzz cost less than $10 at Michael’s.

You’ll need:

Gather your materials to make your fuzz

  • Scissors
  • Eye Lash Yarn
  • 2 Straight Pins
  • Glue ( I used super glue, but regular craft glue or fabric glue will work great too.)
  • Pink and black felt
  • 20 mm oval eyes
  • 4 inch foam ball (in the floral section at craft stores)

Optional:

  • Hot glue gun
  • Max hold hair spray
  • Needle and thread that matches the tongue color

Once I had all of my supplies, it took me less than ten minutes to make blueFuzz. The original tutorial used hot glue, but I don’t have a hot glue gun, so I opted to use pins to secure the yarn instead. So far they have stayed very secure.

Stick the pin through the yarn several times, wrapping the yarn around the pin each time you “thread” it. Then, pin the yarn to the foam ball.

Stick the pin through the yarn

Wrap the yarn around the foam ball until you do not see any more white.

wrap the yarn around the foam ball

Use the second pin to secure the end of the yarn. Be sure to “thread” the yarn more than once, wrapping it around the needle each time. Then stick the needle in the foam ball. This works best if the needle is the same color as the yarn, so it will not show.

Secure the pin in your Kodable Fuzz

Optional: Since I didn’t use hot glue to secure my yarn, I decided to use hair spray to give my fuzz a little extra hold. I sprayed him pretty well all over with aerosol hair spray . The only draw back to this is that he can no longer attend bonfires, as I’m pretty sure he will spontaneously combust near an open flame. ;P

Glue on both of the eyes. You’ll need to hold them in place for about 30 seconds.

Glue the eyes on your Kodable Fuzz

Cut out the mouth and tongue. Before you glue or stitch them, hold them up to the fuzz’s face to make sure you’re happy with the size, shape and tongue placement. This took me a couple tries.

Create the mouth of your Fuzz

Optional: I decided to stitch the tongue to the black mouth piece to give it a bit more definition. I started at the top of the tongue and used a dark pink thread. I back stitched so it was all one solid line. I stopped half way to the end of the tongue, so it will still stick out a bit.
Glue the mouth on and hold it there for 30 seconds.

Stitch the tongue to the black mouth piece

Optional: Depending on which fuzz you decide to make, you may need to trim up the fur so it looks less frizzy. My blueFuzz still needs a trim, but I think he looks pretty good either way.

Furry Fuzz

Create a Furry Kodable Fuzz

This is the most realistic fuzz I have seen so far. Jeanne Reed and her daughter made diamondFuzz. I am very impressed at their creative talents! She looks fabulous. For more details take a look at Jeanne’s tutorial here.