December 11, 2014
I’m feeling a little sneaky using Hour of Code this week: do my students know they are building logic skills? Do they know they are in a competency-based learning environment? Do they have the rush of adrenaline when they finally get it right at the end? I’m sure I do.
Hour of Code is part of a week to promote computer science in schools. The premise is to get students programming. Why programming? I’m going to stick with the logic of it. IF…THEN from my BASIC days. Or maybe that was FORTRAN. I learned both in high school. Do remember them? No, not really. In fact, there’s a third language we had a class for and I don’t remember. COBALT? C++? Regardless, it was a hands-on class with immediate results: if it worked, it worked. If it didn’t, you figured it out.
This is a skill all of our students need: figuring out why something doesn’t work. Asking questions, trying again and again and again…not giving up, not surrendering to the idea that failure is a bad thing. (It is, but only if you stop there.)
Here’s my Hour+ of Code product. I love learning alongside my students.
My creation. I worked for it!
April 3, 2014
Even with standardized testing LOOMING…or maybe because of it…we took some time for Genius Hour last week. My students work so hard on their projects; let me share some with you.
When a student moved, this student took over his volcano project:
Next, another boy is writing his own guide to surviving Minecraft. We hope to get it published online somewhere.
This student is half a partnership that is planning a school-wide paper airplane contest:
Another girl wanted to learn more about traditional Native Alaskan housing and is finishing up the interior of a sod dwelling:
This project has been the most difficult to keep moving, my rose gardener. She’s working on her final poster now:
These are her roses:
(I trust you see her frustration.)
After studying salmon, this fourth grader made a life-sized three-dimensional model. He used finger paint and said it had been a while since a teacher let him do that.
He’s created a collage to mail to his favorite ball player, in hopes of an autograph:
She’ll have a Barbie dollhouse when she’s finished:
And soon, this will be a model of Jupiter:
I love Genius Hour because I see my students as creators. We get that sometimes in our other Language Arts work each day, but this hour is when they shine.
Want to learn more about Genius Hour? (The only real answer to that is “Yes!”) Check out the Genius Hour Live Binder or follow #geniushour on Twitter.
April 10, 2013
When surveyed about possible after-school clubs, our students came back with ideas like a book club or writing club. (Interesting that they ask for more school, don’t you think?) Writing club? I could do that.
Right now seven students and I sit in the computer lab, working on scripts for the now defunct “Script Frenzy” that the NaNoWriMo folks. Some have page goals and ideas flowing while others are making muse posters to grace the walls of the lab.
Fun it is to hang out with students in this role. I hope to start this up next year in the Fall so we can do NaNoWriMo together. I will work with writing for a few years but then the mom in me thinks MathCounts might be the next thing to work with students on once my daughter gets to Middle School. She (and hence, all my students) needs these things to compete in her future.