- What are your goals for your classroom? How will CS or code.org 1 resources help you meet those goals?
Currently I work with ESOL students in a variety of co-taught classroom environments. Often, these students need to make up for lost instructional time and develop English skills along with their other academia at an accelerated rate to be on grade-level with their native English speaking peers. I would like to use the code.org lessons to facilitate my students’ reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills in English while also boosting their capacity for higher-level thinking and collaboration. Although I am planning to “pilot” this goal with my ESOL students in grades 3-5, due to their potential lack of prior knowledge with the coding terminology and with computer resources, I plan to start us on the kindergarten “Course A” section of Computer Science Fundamentals. I suspect the K-2 lesson sequences will only take us a month (maybe less) to get through together and then I can ease my groups into the courses for their grade level once the background knowledge has been established.
The lesson plans on code.org are so easy to follow. I love the templates and the additional “unplugged” resources to help learners get hands-on with the coding concepts. I will also be using the “Think Spot” reflection journal template to help my students improve their writing skills. I love that it has space for drawing and writing, to encompass the needs of my English learners, regardless of their ability to communicate via writing.
- What are you most excited about when it comes to implementing some of these resources?
I am excited to see how completing these CS activities will improve my students’ overall literacy skills when combined with robust language arts instruction. Ultimately, I would like to have days when my students and I would work together or in pairs on some of the lesson plans and others when students could log in and work more independently. I am also eager for my students to develop bravery and resilience that will result from coding and solving the different puzzles in the lesson plans. Over time, perhaps the ESOL students could then pair up with their gen ed peers and teach them something new for a change!
- What challenges do you foresee in trying to meet your goals?
The ever present challenges of time to plan both personally and with my various co-teacher colleagues as well as securing the devices to use with my students when needed. It is often a tug-of-war at my school to get consistent access to laptops/ iPads around all of the other tasks that are going on during a given school day—and during standardized testing times of year it is nearly impossible.
- What questions do you have that this community might help you answer?
Has anyone had students access the code.org courses on their mobile devices? If students were able to use their phones to access the material from home, it would be helpful. Many of my ESOL families do not have laptops/ computers at home, but most of them do have smart phones.