Girls Rock in Hour of Code!

As we have the past two years, we participated in Computer Science Education Week December 5-11, 2016. “Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is an annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take interest in computer science”, as and as we have in the past, my students tried their hand at computer program using the website  Hour of Code by Code.org. My preKindergarten through grade 2 students worked together with their classmates on the Promethean board to work through the coding activities, while grades 3 to 5 students used their Chromebooks. One of the many things I love about Code.org is that they highlight women in many of their tutorials and posters which is wonderful for my female students – this helps these young girls  to imagine themselves as computer programmers.  

As you can see from the pictures, all had fun while learning the basics of computer programming – I hope my students will continue to explore computer coding (with their parents permission and encouragement)!

Interested in reading about our previous Hour of Code events here in the  Flower Hill Media Center?  Click on the links below!

Coding is a Easy as 1-2-3-click! (2015)

MCPS Moment (2015)

Celebrating in the Library-December Edition (2014)

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Digital Citizenship Week 2016

Digital Citizenship Week (Oct 16-22) is a week, sponsored by Common Sense Media, that is focused on learning what it means to be a digital citizen.  The  Common Sense Media “comprehensive curriculum is designed to empower students to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in our digital world”. As a Common Sense Media (CSM) Certified Educator, I regularly incorporate CSM lessons throughout the year because digital citizenship is part of information literacy taught in media lessons.

During Digital Citizenship Week 2016, my students in Kindergarten to grade 2 learned about A-B-C searching and how, just like in the library, you need to use your alphabet to search online.

My students in grades 3-5 learned more about what it means to be a good digital citizen, and how they could become a Super Digital Citizen by following a few common sense rules.

My grade 5 students also had some time to play the Digital Passport , CSM’s “award-winning suite of engaging games that address key issues facing kids in today’s digital world”.

The Common Sense Media curriculum includes parent handouts and family activities that I send home with my students.   At a future Flower Hill ES PTA meeting I will be sharing information about the organization as CSM is now partnering with the National PTA.  Stay tuned!

 

 

Coding is as easy as 1-2-3-click!

 

csedlogo15

As a lifelong learner, my goal is to learn something new every day, and to inspire my students to do the same.

hour of code banner

Celebrating Computer Science Education Week each year is one of the highlights of the school year for my students.  Each December we participate in the Hour of Code and learn beginning computer programming by coding games such as Angry Bird, Frozen, or Flappy Bird.  Hour of Code often uses Blocky which is a visual programming tool where students click blocks together to write code. To my students delight, Hour of Code added a Star Wars programming game and a Minecraft programming game this year.   Hour of Code encourages students to challenge themselves, work collaboratively, and explore computer science in a fun and engaging way.Hour of Code 2015 (6)

We were thrilled this year to be spotlighted in Montgomery County Public Schools’ MCPS Moment – to view the video, click here. My students did an amazing job during the filming!

Hour of Code 2015 (28)

If you are interested in giving your students the opportunity to explore computer programming, consider some of the following sites.

Blockly Games is a series of educational games that teach programming. It is designed for children who have not had prior experience with computer programming.

Other beginning programming educational websites that use Blockly are listed below (Courtesy Google Developers):

 

Blockly Games

Games for tomorrow’s programmers.

App Inventor

IDE for Android apps from MIT.

Code.org

K-12 computer science.

OzoBlockly

Programming line-following robots.

Wonder Workshop

Robots for play and education.

Open Roberta

Programming Lego EV3 robots.

Gamefroot

Make, play and share games.

Gameblox

Introduction to Game Design from MIT.

Made with Code

Encouraging girls to code.

scriptr.io

Powering your Internet of Things.

Guest Post: On Digital Citizenship

Guest Post: On Digital Citizenship

This post appeared on The Media Specialist’s Guide to the Internet on July 31, 2015.

Our 21st Century libraries are the perfect place to explore, and what better way to practice digital citizenship than by connecting with others around the world!

Common Sense Media’s vast website is chock-full of resources related to kids, tweens, teens, parents, and media. Their Digital Literacy and Citizenship educational resources and curriculum are well written, aligned with the Common Core State Standards, and they are kid, tween, and teen friendly.  Their Power of Words, Pause and Think Online are great videos to share with elementary school students, and Oversharing: Think Before You Post is perfect for tweens and teens.

One way to incorporate the Digital Citizenship curriculum and to honor the Digital Citizenship pledge is to connect with other schools via Google Hangout or Skype, and practice what they have learned in a fun way.   By celebrating various literature-inspired holidays with other schools within your district, the United States, or worldwide, elementary students can  hone their 21st Century communication skills.

In September, we celebrate courage, creativity, and collaboration with International Dot Day, We read books about art and taking risks, and share dot-inspired art with other schools.

In October, we celebrate Read for the Record and collaborate with other schools to share the book of the year.  Also in October is Digital Citizenship Week – the perfect time to teach this topic, and practice new skills like communicating kindly with someone else online.

In March we celebrate  World Read Aloud Day where my students connect with other classrooms around the United States to share information about each other’s state and read aloud to one another. Mo Willem’s Elephant and Piggie books are perfect books for Gerald, and the other, Piggie, Older students can the younger grades – one school can read the part of read two-part poems such as Joyful Noise by Paul Fleischman  or read a Readers’ Theater version of a book, such as Judy Schachner’s  Skippyjon Jones- Lost in Spice, dividing the parts between the two schools.

Another favorite holiday I celebrate with my students Poem in Your Pocket Day.  This year, after reading a few examples of list poems, we collaboratively created list poems, using Google Hangout, and typing together on Google Drive as our students created and dictated the lines of the poems.

As students go farther and farther into their exploration of cyberspace, powerful digital citizenship lessons such as these will serve them well.

My collection of Digital Citizenship resources can be found here, or check out Julie’s blog!

Melissa McDonald is the School Library Media Specialist at Flower Hill Elementary School in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and is the author of the blog, The Creative Librarian – Adventures in School Librarianship.