After visiting a few classes this year for the hour of code all of the teachers asked me “what is the next step?” For each of them I wanted to try to find something that would help them continue with coding in their classes if they chose to do so.
I wanted to find things that were free, tested and well organized.
For the grade 2/3 class I went back and delivered a couple of lessons from the Scratch Jr Curriculum “Animated Genres”. The lessons are are very formally scripted up with teacher instructions and objectives for each of the lessons. (12 – 1-hour lessons). I also think it’s very easy to find math and literacy connections with the topics covered in this curriculum.
The one issue I ran into was trying to demo Scratch Jr on a projector with this class. The students were using Chromebooks (they had to add the Scratch Jr. extension) but it could also be done on iPads. The teacher machine, however, was a “locked-down” PC and I wasn’t able to install Scratch Jr. I quickly found a couple of short Scratch Jr. videos on youtube and used those to demonstrate what I needed. It wasn’t so bad, you can easily stop and re-play video sections and you can turn down the volume and add the “words” that you like. The teacher will be able to get Scratch Jr. installed eventually but I couldn’t do it quickly.
My second visit went really well – since the kids already had some coding background I covered the first 3 lessons in a little over an hour. I really like the “unplugged” discussions and the fairly short sessions at the computer for students to test the concepts and still get to play around a bit.