Next month, the annual Hour Of Code takes place. I’ve had my students involved in this for years, and I am looking forward to introducing a new crop of kids to it this year. In my K-3 building, I have started my introduction to programming unit with all of the grade levels. Yes, even Kindergarten! We’ve talked about the Hour Of Code, and also about how computers work and why programming is such a great skill to have.
It never ceases to amuse me hearing 5 year olds toss around words like algorithm and debugging in casual conversation. With my Kinder kids, we are starting with simple non-computer based activities. They love taking turns being programmer and program and trying to give each other precise directions to go from one part of the room to another.
My 1st through 3rd graders are jumping into programming on the computer. First grade is loving Lightbot.com. Although many of them struggled with the first few levels and were constantly asking for help, it was very satisfying to see the ideas start to click by the 3rd level. All of a sudden, they were determined to figure it out WITHOUT any help from me. I think the hardest part was getting them past the ‘need to be right the VERY FIRST TIME’ stage and accepting that it was ok to have to go back and debug the program multiple times. They are now completely addicted.
2nd and 3rd grade are loving the Code.org Studio. The Minecraft and Star Wars activities are the most popular, with the Frozen one coming a close second. The most difficult part of this activity was getting them to stop automatically clicking out of popup messages and actually READING them, since that was how the directions were given. Once they understood that, they were off and running. I can’t wait for next month to show off how much they will have learned!