Since the start of the this quarter, the 6th graders have been learning and practicing basic programming skills using Scratch. They are now able to create digital stories, draw shapes and figures, remix and debug simple scripts. More than learning about programming, it is the attitude and intrinsic effect that is rewarding to me as a teacher.
Last Monday, the class had summative tasks to do. They were to re-create programs which I showed in class, and to follow the guidelines for these programs. While each student is required to submit their programs individually, they may choose to work or collaborate with their classmates to complete the tasks. This is reflecting real-life practice where ideas are more powerful when they are shared and challenged.
As a teacher, I always wait for those moments in class when students realize something about themselves. These moments are what drive us teachers to keep on teaching.
In the course of completing tasks, students were busy working together. There was one student who kept on telling me that he could not get the right scripts. I kept encouraging him to work with others first, before asking me. However, his seatmates were also busy creating their programs. I saw how persistent he was, and even if it took a long time, he was finally able to create the program, by himself. What he said right after was a kind of moment I was talking about. He said, “I’m so proud of myself.” And I was too!
Hour of Code is a global campaign to introduce computer science with one hour of coding, celebrated in the week of Dec 8-14. In CISM, upper school students shared their programming skills with lower school students by facilitating Hour of Code sessions. Each upper school class was assigned a lower school class to tutor. Before the Hour of Code Day, upper school students were given a block to practice the coding apps that they will teach the younger students. I also created a recording to signal hour of code to play on the PSA on that day.
The day was a blast, both for the student-teachers and the students. It was rewarding to share a sense of awareness about the fun of coding. Elementary kids were amazed by what they can create by themselves by computer programming. The teachers, the upper school students, were able to learn the value of sharing their skills and expertise with others. More than this, even (maybe) without them realizing it, they are able to apply computational and critical thinking skills in coding while still having fun. Everybody begged for more hours of coding. While we already started computer programming in Upper School, this new interest from younger students opens new doors for the course. And who could resist such opportunity?
After studying variables on Scratch, high school students create their own quiz programs complete with score feature. Do you have what it takes? Take the challenge and try the quiz programs!