Friday, October 10, 2014

Computer Coding Starting in Kindergarten


We know computers are part of everyone's future, and that understanding the basics of programming structure and skills will help today's students be successful in the future.  Last year, many of our students at a number of schools participated in the Hour of Code.  This year, we have expanded the program from an hour introductory activity to a focused, structured plan to introduce all of our students to computer coding through multiple experiences and avenues throughout the year.  

A committee of teachers, parents, students, and administrators worked over the past year and a half to select and develop this curriculum plan. Kindergarten students will be using Bee Bots to learn the basics of programming.  In first grade, students will use iPad apps like Kodable and Lightbots in second grade. Starting in grade three and continuing through grade five, students are using Tynker software, a great program that starts off very visual like a game but teaches students to order and combine Scratch-like blocks to program.  Tynker even lets students view the javascript behind the programs they create with the click of a button.  Another great thing about Tynker is that it offers individual, self-paced lessons for students.  When I was visiting their class, the students in Jennifer Hahn's fifth grade (pictured above) were starting Tynker coding lessons. They were super excited and engaged.  

We're also including additional options for students to explore coding further, such as after school clubs, such as Minnetonka Coder Dojo and Raspberry Pi.  Media Specialist Mary Jane Narog at Clear Springs Elementary has students using Kano and Sphero.  At Groveland and Scenic Heights Elementary Schools, students are using Finch Robots.  Check out some videos and links below for more information.  It will be fun to see what all of these students create! 

See for yourself!  Watch videos about:
Minnetonka Elementary Coding
Media Coverage on What's Cool in Our School
Minnetonka Summer Coding Camp

More resources can be found here:
Details about the Curriculum and Program 

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