Letting Kids Lead
Creating polygons in Scratch is all good and useful but the real magic behind coding is letting kids design and create something. It is giving them a chance to see their idea come to life. So after I had introduced kids to Scratch through the polygon lesson, I started looking for opportunities to let them "play" around in Scratch. Students would finish work early or we would be between units and I would say to the class "Ok you have some time that you can work on Scratch" The class always cheered as if I just told them they had free play time. I let kids explore Scratch as I walked around and listened to them ask each other questions and solve new problems. Once the kids had a basic understanding of Scratch I decided to set up some mini lessons. Luckily, I had the perfect helpers to lead these mini lessons. I asked my expert coders if they could each prepare a mini lesson about Scratch. One kid decided to teach about variables another decided to teach about sensing. Each of my 5 expert coders had a concept that they were going to teach. I then wrote the concepts on the board and told the rest of my class to think about what they wanted to learn. After 15 minutes I stopped and had students rotate to their next mini lesson of choice. Each student got to see 3 different lessons. It was powerful to see students teaching other students so effectively. They had their classmates completely engaged. In the end it was much more effective then any coding lesson I could have come up with.
11/18/2022 06:52:50 pm
Great post, thanks.
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Mindy Slaughter is a classroom teacher at UNIS Hanoi. She started learning to code when some of her students wanted to study it for the PYP Exhibition. She has since help start the Elementary Coding Club and is a founding member of the Global Codeathon. She believes coding opens the doors for student creativity and is working to integrate it into the curriculum.