This is my favorite time of year. Yes it's the holiday season, but Computer Science Week falls in December. We have many initiatives in the district, and some take a while for everyone to jump on the band wagon and process, but Computer Science is just a no brainer. I love the fact that this year we just didn’t call it the “Hour of Code”, we called it computer science. When we change our mindset to this it’s more than just a moment for students and teachers to do. It becomes embedded in the curriculum and it becomes a lifestyle that just happens in the classroom.
I walked around campus and lurked on Twitter to see all of the great things happening. I couldn’t make it to all the rooms, but what I did see where students and teachers working together to problem solve, communicate, and collaborate to complete a task. There was no theory behind it, no workshop, and not even yours truly giving a professional development on how this could work. It was truly something organic that was happening in the classroom. Everyone loved it. Some teachers were even shocked and amazed at the fact how groups were getting along to figure out a tasks.
One of the biggest tasks I had to do myself was to figure out how to get this moving on my campus without a hitch. The quickest thing for a teacher to say when introducing something new is “I don’t have time for this” and “I have grades to do”. How do I make something fun that everyone will like to do and still have teachers go on with the day to day tasks of teachers teaching content.
I actually love the fact that we used social media this year to track how other schools are coding insteading of using lines on the code.org site. For my teachers I didn’t want to worry them about logins and passwords (at least not on the coding platform); I wanted them to just code. For two days I looked at every content and extra curricular activity in my building and chose vocabulary words and activities that were dedicated to that content. I even gave options each day for plugged and unplugged activities. I even created a website for teachers to do activities as well. #nocodingexcuses I wanted to make sure that the code activities blended into something that they were already doing. Take my band teacher for example. I knew that there was no way he was going to have time to do any coding activities in his room because he had to prepare his band students for the Holiday Concert this week. Every second and minute counted. So, all I had him do was discuss vocabulary terms like persistence, debugging, and looping while he rehearsed with his students. This way he could participate and explain to his students how these “programming” words relate to music. It was a definite win win. Students even wanted to do the mannequin challenge and code. All this was student and teacher driven. This really showed me that students and teachers have a passion not just with coding or programing, but with technology integration. It’s something that I choose to keep going on my campus all year.
Feel free to take a look at how all this was laid out HERE!