The 2017 Hour of Code begins next Monday, December 4th and continues throughout the week. I’ve updated the HOC page on Rock the Lab to include the most recent courses and activities from which students can choose. I’ve also made a quick video to help you navigate the page and point students to the most appropriate activities for their experience level. Remember, Hour of Code doesn’t have to be just one week out of the year. Have students revisit this page often to help them become digitally literate.
I’m usually not a fan of teaching technology skills in isolation, but lately I’ve noticed students struggling when trying to use Google Apps in the computer lab. When a project takes twice as long to complete because students don’t know how to manipulate objects on a slide or share a document for peer feedback and collaboration, then technology no longer enhances the learning. It actually gets in the way. Every single lesson you design should have at least 1 of the 4Cs (Read more about Using G Suite to Foster the 4Cs here). The flow of your lesson can come to a dead stop if students aren’t proficient in even the basic skills of navigating G Suite. I’ve been working on a new section of Rock the Lab where students can earn Jedi Lightsaber badges to demonstrate mastery of Google Docs, Slides, Drawings and Sheets.
When students click on one of the badges, it will take them to a page where they can choose the K-2 or the 3-5 Lesson. Upon completion, students will share the documents with their teacher. Each page has a link to a Google Form where the teacher of record then fills in the information so students can be sent their badges. For logistics purposes, the badges are only available for NEISD students, however, anyone with the links can access the activities. Feel free to use and modify to fit your needs.
Wicked Star Wars Gifs. (2017). Abduzeedo.com. Retrieved 22 October 2017, from http://abduzeedo.com/node/82097
To access the Google Jedi Training Academy, click on the Technology button located on the homepage of Rock the Lab. I highly recommend you preview each activity before you allow students to begin. Directions and gif tutorials are embedded throughout, but be prepared to provide additional support if needed. Taking the time now to teach these skills will allow for more content creation and use of the 4Cs throughout the year. A student’s future teacher will thank you!
There is a new “Featured Lesson” section on Rock the Lab home page that will change every month. I’ll provide 2 different lessons that have a monthly or seasonal theme. This month we celebrate Black History with different types of multimedia content appropriate for all levels. K-2 students can explore videos, text with audio, and books from Capstone to learn about various African-American Leaders. 3-5 students will engage in the HyperDoc Learning Cycle process by researching 3 different African-American heroes of their choice. I would love to feature lessons created by other NEISD educators, so please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to submit a lesson.
NEISD students and teachers will be participating in this year’s Hour of Code during the week of December 5-9. Hour of Code was designed to demystify “code” and show that anyone can understand the basics without having any prior knowledge or experience. The hope is that more students, especially girls, will enter the field of Computer Science. Computer programming focuses on computational thinking, problem-solving, and literacy skills across multiple curriculum areas.
All NEISD campuses have a variety of devices from which to choose. Plan ahead and reserve a computer lab, cart, or make sure you have the age appropriate iPad apps downloaded on your device. If you choose not to use technology, there are unplugged activities such as the Binary Bracelet lesson that teaches students the binary format.
If you are not sure where to begin, I’ve created a page on Rock the Lab that will guide you through a grade-level appropriate lesson. Begin at the top with the video and then have students click on their grade level underneath. Happy Coding!
It’s only a couple of weeks away until the U.S. Presidential elections. I’ve added an Elections Resources page on my other website for students, Rock the Lab. Here you will find hyperdocs, videos, interactive vocabulary and maps, and many other resources that will engage your students in the election process. If you’re looking for an amazing picture book to read to your students, check out Passing the Bone: America’s Next POTUS written by Heather Patterson. She has provided lots of teaching ideas to go along with the story, which can be found on her website.
I know most of you are already setting up your rooms even though the year hasn’t officially started. This profession seems to attract dedicated individuals that go above and beyond. Here’s one thing you can check off of your to-do list…the first 9 weeks of Rock the Lab is complete. The purpose of this website is to provide students and teachers meaningful technology integrated lessons that support the NEISD Scope and Sequence. There are 2-3 lessons per content area and several lessons for keyboarding and coding skills.
One of my most favorite moments during the Summer Olympics was when the women’s gymnastics team won gold. The gif below expresses the perfect attitude for the beginning of the year. Just take a deep breath and say to yourself, “I got this”.