Thursday, December 19, 2013

Our #HourOfCode Experience

So I had heard about the #HourOfCode movement for quite a while.  I even signed up a few months ago saying I would take part.  Then the month of December quickly came upon me and I just had far too much on my plate to even consider "losing" a day of instruction to allow my kids to try this whole coding thing.

Then last week I heard about how much fun Mindi Vandagriff had doing it with her 4th graders.  Through her excitement and the awesome photos she took I figured I might give it a try with my students.  Now I love the idea behind coding but didn't think my kids would "get it".  So Mindi told me about and the awesome Angry Birds/Plants Vs Zombies FREE coding activity.  I checked it out and was blown away by it!  So I figured I might just give this whole coding thing a try.

Then I heard about how much fun Drew Minock and Brad Waid's 3rd and 4th graders had.  And those guys are always on the cutting edge of what is cool and fun in technology.  If those guys were having a blast doing it, I knew I should try it too, so that pushed me over the edge and convinced me I was doing it.

The morning of our #HourOfCode was a DISASTER.  There was just one thing after another that threatened to cancel our entire experience.  I'm one of those teachers who teaches every single day.  Just because it's the week before Christmas doesn't mean it's time to just lay around and play games all week!  We're learning!  Well not everyone agrees about that and things tried to get thrown in the way of our schedule.  But thanks to an awesome teammate who rearranged her day and combined with my classes, we were able to find an hour per class to let them try it out.

We begged the 3rd grade team to borrow the school set of Chromebooks, I took out the 3 iPad/iPad Minis, the Google Nexus 7, and even that dreaded Surface tablet, and we utilized the couple of desktop computers in my class.  We really utilized every resource we had to try and make this work.

Well once we got the kids online, the whole event went off without a hitch!  It was an incredible experience to hear their excitement, wonder, and joy of programming.  They really had the time of their lives!  I was shocked at how much some of these kids really bought into the whole idea of computer science and programming.  Let's just say, we now have an after school technology/program club that will be starting in January!  Kids begged me to!  Here are some of my favorite quotes from the day:

"This is really hard, but I like it!!"

"Mr. N!!!  I made it glitch! I'm a computer programming genius!"

"Mr. Nesloney, I couldn't figure it out.  But I kept trying and then eventually it just came to me! I passed another level!!"

and my favorite quote of all..... "I'm a freaking genius!"

Many adults, myself included, don't quite understand the idea behind teaching kids code.  But after today, I'm a changed man.  The excitement level alone in my kids made it totally worth it!  I can't wait to find ways to take this even further, and even more so for our soon to be started after school club!


  1. We did Hour of Code this year and my kids loved it!

  2. Excellent - I did hour of code too with my computing club and they thought it was fantastic.

  3. I'm not a teacher, but I helped a 3rd grade class with the Angry Birds activity, and it was mixed. Some students enjoyed it, but some really struggled.

    It was really enlightening to see students who just got tired of working and started relying on their neighbors or the high school students running the hour of code class. A lot of the students were masters of guessing and manipulating the high school students into giving them the answer, but really didn't learn how the more complicated blocks worked.

    I mainly answered their questions with questions. "what do you want the bird to do next?" and "I don't know. Run it and let's see what happens."

  4. "Mrs.Weber....this is so good for my BRAIN!" My favorite quote from Hour of Code

  5. I had planned to do the Hour of Code with my fourth graders.(While planning and trying it out myself, my 9th grade grandson said "Hey, not fair ~... how come we didn't get to do fun stuff like this in fourth grade.... or now?" I said "Because none of your teacher's are as cool as your Grandma!"). The next day I mentioned my plan in the Teacher's Lounge. From there our Technology teacher wanted to do it with all of our grade 3-6 students (400 kids)... then about another 8 classroom teachers wanted to do it during their scheduled computer lab times that week. Many of our students got a minimum of 2 hours of coding that week before Christmas with amazing reactions! Everyone wants to continue. This was absolutely amazing :-)

  6. Hour of Code was one of my most favorite activities of 2013! Looking forward to continuing learning and teaching coding at my school!

  7. Like I posted last night during the Twitter chat, coding gives kids a sense of power when using computers, rather than feeling controlled by them.

  8. That is awesome to hear...I got my students to do the hour of code and they really enjoyed it. As a technology teacher I always love it when I can convert others to programming or any type of technology. =D

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