Monday, December 12, 2016

How Unit 4 Schools celebrated #CSEdWeek




Wow! What a week it was. It is so exciting to see the contributions the Unit 4 schools made to the #CSEdWeek and #HourofCode. At every level, students were actively engaged in problem solving, creating, and learning the building blocks (pun intended) of coding. Here are just a few of the contributions that I witnessed.

At Central High School, students in Dave Johnson's Business class participated in the Hour of Code sponsored by code.org. Students completed levels in a coding game based on Elsa from Frozen. Several students completed over 10 challenges in one hour. Amazing!

Also at Central, Eric Fagerlin's class completed multiple days of coding using the resources compiled by the district through edtech.dropmark.com. Activities such as creating a website, building their own Frogger game, and creating a smartphone app were just a few of the exciting options these students had to choose from.

Marian Wyatt's music survey class at Centennial High School participated in #HourofCode all week, highlighted by three very motivated students that figured out how to build a miniature keyboard synthesizer using the Korg LittleBits. The students jumped for joy (and a little fear) when they made their first sound. What an exciting moment.

Lastly at the high school level, Emily Pickell was kind enough to let me use the Media Center to set up a coding challenge obstacle course using the coding robot Sphero. Students and Teachers alike enjoyed seeing the robot in action. Although there were some remote control hijinks (mostly by Math teacher and Girl's Coding Club sponsor Micah Ward), many students were figuring out how to move the sphero and change the colors, creating a code to get the sphero to jump the ramp.


At the middle school level, Ariella Abarbanel organized three Hour of Code parties for the students at Jefferson Middle School, Franklin Middle School, and Edison Middle School. Students completed coding activities in stations. Students learned how to use Sphero, created codes to build solo cup towers, used chromebooks and iPads to play coding games, and controlled the world's smallest coding robot Ozobot, designed to sense colors and move based on color codes.

At the elementary schools, many coding activities took place during the day, highlighted by several family coding nights organized by Julie Thorstenson at Bottenfield Elementary, Stratton Elementary, and Booker T. Washington Elementary, where students and family members had the opportunity to code side by side with many of the previously mentioned activities, plus the wonderful Osmo accessory for iPad and the Makey-Makey. Osmo uses the camera on the iPad to have the screen interact with coding commands placed in the camera's viewing area. Makey-Makey uses electrical current to have inanimate objects such as bananas and peppers interact with a computer by completing a current through a wiring system and picking up different objects to get the computer to act in certain ways. The possibilities were endless!

 For everyone that supported this effort in the district, we are extremely grateful to you for the many ways you helped out, either through participating with your classes, volunteering at an event, opening your building spaces up for the event, and helping with setup and tear down. We hope that these events will continue to excite the students and spark their interests in computer science for years to come. This is just another example of the innovation that takes place in our schools every day and I am proud to have been a part of it.