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Kids can code

Posted on 8th Nov 11 by Guest

Guest Blog Post by Genevieve Smith from Dorothy Stringer School, East Sussex.

In my last blog I mentioned the project I am doing with Stanford Infant School, here is a bit more detail about what we’ve been doing.

I, along with a group of my year 9 students, will be teaching year 2 students at Stanford Infants how to use Scratch. Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art and share your creations on the web. It uses blocks that click together to control the animation or game. It’s really easy to use and gives great results!

When I say I will be teaching, what I really mean is that my year 9 students will be the ones teaching and I will be the assistant. I have designed several lessons to be delivered by the year 9 students in order to get the planning and basic awareness of Scratch set up.  All of the resources have been designed so that they can be taught by non-experts.

The end result will be a Scratch project designed by the year 2 students and will be in-line with the teacher’s assessment requirements.

I am so excited by the project I just want to shout it from the roof tops! Primary and infant school teachers’ are so busy teaching subjects across the board that they often don’t have the time to discover and become familiar with programmes such as Scratch, that are really beneficial to the kids. That’s why this project is so great, if secondary school teachers who are experts in a certain field can support primary and infant school colleagues, giving them a brain break at the same time as giving their own students a great experience, everyone’s a winner!

Shared practice

I recently did a team teach with Kevin Jones, a Computing Lecturer at Sussex Downs College. Both Kevin and I are delivering the Apps for Good course, but in very different environments. I teach it in school lessons and extra-curricular clubs.  Kevin is teaching it through the Software Development Btec course.

It was a great opportunity for me to see what teaching students at Btec level is like and what differences there are. There were not as many as I thought! The students desire to jump straight to the actual build of the app before even defining its purpose was very similar at both levels.

Kevin has promised to come to our school to see how I teach Apps for Good to my students (does he realise what he has let himself in for: 31 in class and hormones?!).

This is yet another great opportunity for sharing of practice and resources. By seeing how someone else is teaching the same subject at a different level I have some great new ideas for my own lessons and learnt that many of the same dynamic and challenges are applicable across different groups!

Here’s what Kevin emailed me after my visit to the College:

“ I just wanted to say how awesome it was having you come visit. It was like a cool ‘obs / team teach / mentor mashup
Thx for the tips, coach ;) “

For more like this go to: Guest Blog, Classroom Activities

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