Monday, December 8, 2014

The Hour of Code and Kidblog

The Hour of Code at Wayne Center Elementary has begun! I've been working with Mrs. Jackson's third graders on getting Kidblog launched in her classroom as she loves to give the students the opportunity to practice writing online in a safe community. I hated to interrupt the flow of things with Kidblog too much, but this week is the Hour of Code. So what better way do both than to have kids blog a little bit about coding? 


I kicked things off with a little discussion of what coding was and how it is involved with their daily lives. Sure I talked about the Internet, Kidblog, and the iPad setting in front of them. (Some even claimed they had coded their own website.) However, nothing caught their attention more than when I asked the question if anyone had ever wanted to make their own video game; the hands shot up at this point! That's when I knew I had their attention. Very few students actually knew that you could get a degree to learn how to make a video game. (Hence the whole purpose for the Hour of Code.)

Today's blogging assignment was to write a quick letter to the maker of their favorite device/website/video game. They needed to write a thank you to the person that coded it. While they were working, I pulled up the HTML code from Kidblog.org so that they understood that behind all the images and text, there was real code. (The kids that claimed they had coded their own website retracted their previous statement.) The view of actual HTML code really put things into perspective as students suddenly realized how much time it takes to create something from code. They couldn't believe the amount of text and information just for one blog page.

Here are a few samples, but keep in mind that they only had five to ten minutes to write:





















We wrapped things up with a demonstration of Lightbot. The students will get an opportunity to try it out a little throughout the week. I also made sure to explain that Lightbot is not necessarily real computer programming, but it requires similar problem solving and critical thinking skills that is necessary to learn coding. More Hour of Code to come!