Sunday, October 20, 2013

1st and 2nd Graders Code with Daisy the Dinosaur

This week I had a guest, Stuart Rosenberg, visit my class to teach a 1 hour lesson about coding. He's a retired 5th/6th grade teacher from my district who does some consulting and is my #1 go-to for tech questions.

I loved the way he organized the time. First, an introduction to himself and how he and the students could communicate with each other. Then a discussion about verbal and written instructions with some actual practice, including some "bad" directions that could not be followed and a discussion about why some instructions are better than others.

Once the students really understood the importance of step-by-step instructions for moving themselves around the classroom to accomplish a given task (get a water bottle) it was time to open Daisy the Dinosaur on the iPads.

Stuart asked the students to work on the "challenge" section of the app, which gives the user challenges of increasing difficulty while teaching the different commands available. I found it really interesting how several student were stuck on the "make daisy spin 5 times" challenge because they only used the spin command once. However, when reminded of the physical activity they had done with Stuart earlier (he told them specific number of steps to take) they realized they needed to use the spin command 5 times.

Once the challenge section was finished there was about 10 minutes left for students to complete 1 of 2 challenges Stuart provided using the free play mode of the app. The challenges were similar to each other but 2 levels of difficulty.

Later in the day during free choice time many students opted to return to this app.

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