Thursday, November 3, 2016

Storytelling Coding

The children continue to express an interest in coding so in order to capitalize on this, I asked them to think about some fun obstacles that they might like to encounter if they could have an adventurous walk to school.

They thought it would be fun to walk through a forest, jump over a lake, move through a city, and go around hot lava! I printed realistic over head pictures after doing a google search and we placed them under our clear plexiglass coding board so they could be easily seen.

The children decided where home was and indicated this with a little wooden house. We used an overhead picture of a school and decided this was the end point. The children decided where the obstacles would be and these were placed underneath the clear coding grid.

One child was the player and another was the programmer. The player was moved around the board based on coding directions from the programmer. The programmer was able to help the player move with the commands 'go up', 'go down', 'go left', 'go right' and 'jump'. We decided quickly that other commands like 'swim' might be fun to try as well!

It was fun to observe the children program the child around the obstacles.

They weren't interested in a clear path to school and instead led each other on whimsical journeys around the board, jumping over water and coming close to the hot lava, even when it wasn't anywhere near the school!

An extension we'd like to try next is to use a favourite read aloud and encourage the children to create the setting and characters for the text. Once they do they can use the coding board to retell the story by mapping out the character's journey through pictures depicting the setting!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Outdoor Coding

It's been so beautiful around here! We have been fortunate to have a warm end of Autumn and this has meant lots of learning potential outdoors. The children's interest in coding continues so we used the opportunity to turn our cement pad into a large grid using tape. Chalk lines would work just as well!

The children love stuffed animals so for this activity we used one that is really popular with them! We agreed on the starting grid...

...and using a dry erase board the children took turns coding one another. One child was the programmer and used the board as well as giving oral directions to help the player move from 'start' to 'finish' along the grid.

Because we had agreed upon the commands and symbols that represented each and were using them consistently in our coding activities, the children were very familiar and comfortable using them in new coding situations (e.g., "go up", "go down", "jump", "go left", "go right").

Many children wanted to experience both roles - that of programmer and player. Because the children were giving each other directions this activity really strengthened their oral language skills. They had to effectively give commands that would lead the player in the desired path and the player needed to carefully listen to the directions in order to be successful. This activity promoted team work and collaboration.

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