Last week I happened to notice one of Franki Sibberson‘s tweets about Hour of Code. Hour of Code? What is that? Please, no…not another trend in education that I am completely missing out on!!! There’s no room in the curriculum calendar for something new. Stop reading. Stop reading. Pretend you didn’t see it. But, as I read her blog post, I quickly breathed a sigh of relief at the realization that this was a “math and science thing.” Not something I really needed to worry about or get involved with during my ELA classes. Still, the post kept me reading, and the more I looked into this nation-wide phenomenon, the more I thought that my students would LOVE it and benefit from it.
So, here’s the quick version of what I’m (still) finding out. Hour of Code is a computer science initiative that promotes the importance of every student learning computer programming skills. The skills they can learn associated with this program can be used for creating video games or apps for phones/tablets. Once students sign onto the Code website, there is an introductory video to hook them into the activity. Then, step by step directions are given for creating a program that will move their Angry Bird through a maze to get the Pig. If students finish the introductory activity, there are extension activities. There is also a 20 hour program that students can join if they want to take their learning to the next level.
All of the directions for teachers can be found here. One period may be enough for most of your students to complete the first activity, but you may want to sign the lab out for two periods in case. The twenty hour program is simple to sign up for and may be a great center activity for your enrichment students to work through across the year. The programs appear to be aimed at ages six through twelve, but it seemed to me that grades 3 and up would benefit the most. There are adjustments for K-2 users on the teacher directions.
Even though this initiative is math and science based, at its core it is all about problem solving and critical thinking. And that’s something that ALL teachers can get on board with.
If you’d like to read Franki Sibberson’s post on Hour of Code and the literacy connection, click here.