Recently, I traveled to the Bahamas with my husband on a business trip. I know that people travel daily, but I do not usually travel by plane as I am an elementary school technology teacher. It was a treat to travel for me but required a lot of preparation. Once we arrived in the 80 degree weather, I knew that it had been worth it to make the sub plans, pack the bags and fly. As a teacher, I prepare students for daily journeys into the unknown. I feel rewarded for facilitating their experiences with technology which opens up new possibilities for them to communicate, create, collaborate and critically think.
I used an app with my first graders today called Collins Big Cat: Around the World Story Creator. It gives wonderful scenery, animals and objects for students to use when creating their own story. I began the lesson by having the app read the story “Around the World ” by Anne Wilson and James Carter aloud to students. They would guess where the animated plane would fly to next. I showed them on an actual globe where each continent was located. They were able to collaborate on shared iPads and plan their own story about where they would go if they traveled on a plane around the world. The picture above is a screenshot that I took of a student’s page in his group’s book. He was motivated to choose the scenery then type the text on the iPad. I love the choices in this app and how it allows students to build upon a picture book that can be read to them. The words that the little boy wrote in the picture above resonated with me because there are truly many places to be in the world including at the edge of the unknown. My fifth graders later in the day went to tutorials as a part of the Hour of Code and explored many new places in the world of coding! Most of them had never coded before so they became explorers into new worlds! See my pictures and description below of their experiences with coding on the iPads!
I have also been introducing my students to the Hour of Code to get them excited about computer programming. This movement which began in the USA has already reached 11 million students who have visited code.org to learn how to code. I took pictures of my students’ iPad screens as they worked through the levels of a tutorial on how to program an Angry Bird and Zombies through a maze by using conditions and loops. Students loved getting to figure out how to maneuver the characters through the maze. Mistakes were made at times and frustrations arose, but my students persevered and were able to reach the 20th level and receive completion certificates. They were so proud! I felt confident that their experiences would lead them to having continual interest in other programming possibilities.