This year, we used the week after Thanksgiving for Maker Stations, followed by Hour of Code week, and ended December with another round of Maker Stations. Just let me say, those of you that have a permanent Maker area or use stations daily/weekly...BLESS YOU! Holy cow, that's tiring! **Mind you, at the time of this posting, we are on the second round of Maker Stations.**
Maker StationsStudents moved through two stations per week in groups of 4 or 5. Remember how tired I was? Yeah...I forgot to record the group members. So...that was fun. The groups were able to get through four stations, and we will do another round of Maker Stations after Winter Break.
Of course, I created Station Posters and directions on Canva to have at each table. I put a copy of the posters on the board and created the posters with our Arkansas Curriculum Frameworks the second round of Maker Stations. It didn't dawn on me until then.
We had six Maker Stations:
1. EPIC Listening Station
2. Unplugged Coding
3. OSMO Station
4. Craft Station
5. LEGO Challenge
6. Green Screen/Writing Station
Copy of Maker Space Stations by acooksey
Hour of Code
We love Hour of Code. Last year was so much fun. The students truly enjoyed it.
When we announced Hour of Code this year, the students who had participated last year cheered. Our new students were so confused.
Kindergarten and first grade use CodeSpark Academy to code with The Foos. Oh. My. Gosh. It's so fun. And we added to our t-shirt collection with an awesome CodeSpark shirt of The Glitch! (We made shirts for every day of Hour of Code Week last year. You can see our binary iTeach t-shirt in the video.)
To build prior knowledge and foundation for coding, the students coded me. As an introduction, I would demonstrate how a computer component only does what YOU tell it. For example, "go forward" would cause me to walk until I ran into something; "turn left" would cause me to spin in a circle. After students grasped giving me one command at a time (i.e. "go forward two steps", "turn once to the left"), we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Students programmed me to navigate through the story and develop from a caterpillar to a butterfly.
Second through sixth graders worked with Minecraft coding through Code.org and other more advanced blocky coding sites. The Minecraft coding site has some great videos that explain the importance of Computer Science and how Minecraft was developed. You can find many of them on our shared Pinterest Board. It was a great learning experience, not only for computer science but critical thinking. Students also learned the trick of using your forefinger and thumb to make an L shape for your left hand. Several students even acted out their problem to develop a path to complete their code.
If you haven't ventured into Computer Science or coding, consider hosting an Hour of Code. It doesn't have to be during Computer Science Education Week. You can code any time!