We were given a fantastic book with the lessons printed and handy (even a paperless girl loves paper every once in a while.) I like having the book because I can easily see the progression of the lessons. Lessons for the littlest students are incredibly simplistic, and based on getting them understanding how to solve puzzles. This is coding at its core--puzzle solving. When I think of it that way, I can understand why it is so important for students to engage in coding and other thinking exercises--they must know how to solve puzzles. All of life is a puzzle for heaven's sake! The lessons obviously move up in complexity, but all of them build on each other and they all are focused on teaching students computer programming concepts and problem solving techniques.
What I think that we can all take away from the lessons is found at the very beginning of my handy book. There is a section at the beginning that has a Puzzle Solving Recipe, a Debugging Recipe and some strategies to guide teachers through rethinking computer science teaching strategies, but I really think that one should just be rethinking teaching strategies. The puzzle solving and debugging strategies both focus heavily on helping the students think through the problems and question what it going on and how they can solve the problems. They are all about perseverance and using their brains. The rethinking classroom strategies section is short and sweet and pretty much sums up what I think needs to be happening in our classrooms:
- Ditch the Uniformity
- Give Frequent Breaks
- Let them Collaborate
- Don't be a Know-it-All
I love it. It's the perfect recipe for how our kids learn and how we should be teaching. You can access the curriculum here, and should visit their educators' page and register as a teacher. Once you are registered as a teacher you can add your students, create classes and track their progress.
I'm excited to bring this back to campus and hope to find a few classrooms that would be willing to give it a try. I'm also playing with the idea of a coding club, but I just don't know how I can fit all of my clubs in before or after school! I can't wait to see how students respond in both enthusiasm for the program and willingness to be problem solvers in other areas.
Taking the workshop was a great experience. The instructors for our area are knowledgeable and fun. For more information or to find a workshop head to the code.org site.