## Take The New Code Breaker Courses!

Hello World! I am excited to share two new courses I have created to help teachers and students integrate coding into their classrooms. In full disclosure, the contents of the courses are available on this blog free of charge – BUT, I have taken the time to curate my favourite lessons and activities and put […]

## [ Video ] Introducing Computational Thinking #CodeBreaker

Computational Thinking can take on a variety of forms. As a generalization – it means to solve problems using technology – either with existing technology, or by creating technology to do things we haven’t done before. Let’s face it: I have put together this short video below. Please feel free to share it with colleagues or at conferences. The more […]

## Coding a “Catch The Pumpkins” Game! #Codebreaker

Hello World! The world is under attack! Pumpkins are being thrown down to the ground by the evil Pumpkin Witch and you must save the planet from being covered in pumpkin goop! (Is goop a word? Well, it didn’t underline…). In this activity, students will code a game of “Catch The Pumpkins.” Big Ideas: Geometry: […]

## Coding “Jump Scare” Halloween Props #CodeBreaker

Well, Halloween is just around the corner! What better opportunity to make use of the Micro:Bit accelerometer to build a script that responds to movement. Perhaps you want to make a haunted pumpkin? Perhaps you want to control your porch lights when kids approach? All possible with the Micro:Bit and OnShake command. In this video, […]

## Micro:Bit Remote Controlled Car #CodeBreaker

My wife’s grade 6 class is learning about circuits and electricity. One student in particular was curious to know if he could design and build a remote controlled car using Micro:Bit and servo motors. I was curious myself so I quickly jumped on MakeCode and put together these two videos. In the first video, […]

## The Power of Teaching Math With Code #CodeBreaker

I have long been an advocate for constructivist learning. Experiences where students receive feedback from each other as well as the environment frees up the teacher to consolidate with others. I especially love finding the teachers with passions similar to mine. Jeramie Oliveira is a math teacher at Simi Valley High School and someone I […]

## Paper Coding With the Interactive Whiteboard

In this activity I want to share a neat way to engage students with paper coding using the interactive whiteboard (IWB). Based on my research with Reggio Emilia, I have come to realize how important it is for the environment to be a third teacher. That is, teacher as teacher, student as teacher and environment […]

## Micro:Bit Chicken Coop Alarm

We have chickens. Three to be exact. You would have learned this from my recent activity Coding a Game of 2 Truths & A Lie. Their names are Chicken Ball, Chicken Parmesian and Chicken Piccata. Don’t be fooled, they are egg layers, not meat birds. When we first got them we were told not to “name […]

## Coding a Game of Two Truths & A Lie

Hello world! Welcome back to another school year! In this activity we are going to code an app for students to play “2 Truths and a Lie.” In the game, the programmer populates a list (array) containing three “facts” but one of the fact will be false. In my example, I use the second fact […]

## Back to School Inspiration

Teachers rock. While many have been back to school for a few weeks, most of Canada has started this week. In honour of those colleagues we admire, I asked my PLN to share why they love their coworkers so much. This is a great thread, be sure to check it’s entirety on twitter here!   […]

## Coding to Learn: Multiplication Tables & Micro:Bit

In this video we will build an app that chooses two random numbers and multiplies them together. The goal of the lesson is to create a game for students to practice multiplication tables (or addition, subtraction, division). As I mention in the video, there is plenty of opportunity to differentiate (two digit, three digit numbers, […]

## Coding a Messenger App With Micro:Bit

In this tutorial we will use two micro:bits to broadcast messages to each other over bluetooth. This would be incredibly useful if teachers wanted students to code secret messages for a story, share historical facts with one another, make your own “heads up” game or even have teachers broadcast questions to students. The possibilities are […]

## Coding to Learn Probability – Rock, Paper, Scissors With Micro:Bit

Last week I had an amazing time learning with staff and students from the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario. I had the great pleasure of visiting four schools in four days and see first hand what students are capable of. Believe me – they are capable of GREATNESS! On to Rock Paper Scissors. […]

## 3 Ways to Engage Students With Hard Fun

Once I was alerted to the concept of “hard fun” I began listening for it and heard it over and over. It is expressed in many different ways, all of which all boil down to the conclusion that everyone likes hard challenging things to do. But they have to be the right things matched to […]

## A Request For Feedback

This week I received an email from Janis Nostbakken who has an interest in data. They are hoping to collect information on the new web series I previously wrote about called Emerald Code. I have pasted the request below and hope you and your class can provide some feedback for them. After all, data and feedback […]

## The Emerald Code Show – Get With The Programming!

I am a big fan of cheesy 80s horror. I know, not quite the introduction you would expect from me. But hey, those types of movies are incredibly formulaic. Like an algorithm. IF (GoUpstairs) THEN YouDie(). When (Running) Don’tTripAndFall() //They always do Right?? I see the world in algorithms. I think Papert would consider this […]

## Dystopia! Coding Through Stories!

The Story The year is 2153. In a world run by evil bots, it’s dangerous to be human. Lance, Freya, and their friends are trapped in the Rathouse Orphanage. Will they escape or will the Commander and his sidekick catch them? I am always on the hunt for new tools, games and apps, especially in […]

## Breaking Blocks & Changing Lives

This morning I tweeted an article titled “Spatial skills higher among those who played with construction-based toys and video games in childhood.” It is a great read with many interesting points. From the article: Childhood play experiences strongly shape a person’s spatial skills, according to a new CIRES-led study—those skills can be critical to success […]

## The Case for Thinking in Code

Last week the Federal government of Canada announced a \$50 million investment in Computer Science & STEM education. A big move following similar initiatives happening with our friends in the south. I am pleased with the program and its goals, but have some concerns about “coding.” In Code Breaker, I write about the notion of […]

## Coding Fact Triangles

Fact Triangles are similar in some ways to flashcards although they are a better way of showing and practicing fact families. Fact Families are sets of three numbers that can be divided or multiplied together and they help develop the understanding of the relationship between multiplication and division. Below are two examples: Source: https://www.helpingwithmath.com/resources/oth_fact_triangles.htm A […]

## Code Breaker Swag

Hello World! Today Code Breaker sits as the #3 Best Seller in “Experimental Education Methods” on Amazon.ca! What a fantastic ride this last month has been! With the success of Code Breaker’s release, we have noticed a significant increase in web traffic to our other resource, Hour of Curiosity as parents and educators continue to […]

## The Great Micro:Bit Giveaway!

When I decided to give away a few copies of my book, Code Breaker, I never anticipated the overwhelming requests for a copy! I am so grateful to have such interest! I have written a great deal of content about how to get started with coding at Hour of Curiosity so I decided “why not […]

## A Coding Interview With Annelyse De Marco

Happy New Year and welcome back to school for 2018! Over the holidays I noticed Annelyse De Marco doing some pretty amazing things in her classroom so I reached out and asked for an interview. Annelyse and her class participated in the Hour of Code and there was plenty of fun to be had! 1) Who […]

## A Coding Interview With Tereza Salerno!

I reached out to Tereza Salerno after seeing a tweet online. Tereza had mentioned she tried coding this week with her class. Curious, I sent her an email asking for more information. Have a read through of our conversation below. My biggest take away is the sense of accomplishment her students felt. Amazing! 1) Who […]

## A MindShare Moment Podcast – “It’s OK to be where you are, it’s not OK to stay there.”

Special thanks to Robert Martellacci for having me as a guest on the MindShare Moment Podcast. Always a pleasure to chat with you! Good luck with your grand opening! From the December issue of the MindShare Learning Report: At our recent Canadian EdTech Leadership Summit, I questioned why we are still talking about, ‘pockets of innovation.’ […]

## A Chat With Stephen Hurley From VoicEd Radio

Stephen Hurley is someone I have followed online for quite some time. This last November we finally met face to face for the first time at the 8th EdTech Leadership Summit150 – Ignite the Night event. Stephen gave a fabulous Ignite talk about his passion for radio. In fact, Stephen has followed a 50 year […]

## Code Breaker Book Giveaway!

Happy Computer Science Education Week! Happy indeed! My book, Code Breaker, was released yesterday. Here is the description from Amazon: “Crack the code for your students’ success! Future-ready students need to be creative. They need to know how to communicate their ideas and how to collaborate as problem solvers. To master these and other twenty-first-century requirements, they will need […]

## Coding & The Power of the PLN

Computer Science Education Week is Dec 4 – 10 and many educators are looking for the best resources to engage their students in a variety of ways. I LOVE being connected to SO many fantastic educators across the globe. Just today I was tagged in a tweet from someone looking for a coding resource. While […]

## Pedagogy Before The Hour of Code

Hour of Code week (err….Computer Science Education Week) is quickly approaching and the number of participants continues to grow rapidly. Social media is full of smiling faces, glowing screens and happy teachers engaged in wonderful coding tutorials. But this is where it falls apart. Tutorials. The end. Done. Finished. The box is checked. Next! […]

## Minecraft Mathland

References: Drake, S.M. (2014). Designing across the curriculum for “sustainable well-being”: A 21st century approach. In F. Deer, T. Falkenberg, B. McMillan, & L. Sims (Eds.), Sustainable well-being: Concepts, issues, and educational practice (pp. 57–76). Winnipeg, MB: Education for Sustainable Well-Being (ESWB) Press. Retrieved from: www.eswbpress.org/uploads/1/2/8/9/12899389/sustainable_well-being_2014.pdf#page=65 Fullan, M. (2013). Great to excellent: Launching […]

## Law of Large Numbers – Coding a Dice Roller Simulator

This simulation demonstrates the law of large numbers, a key theorem in probability theory, which describes the result of performing the same experiment a large number of times.     According to the law, the average of the results obtained from a large number of trials should be close to the expected (theoretical) value, and […]

## Indigenous Trail Trees & Coding A Micro:Bit Compass

I feel very fortunate to be able to travel often and meet amazing educators across the globe. However, when I am driving in a new area, I rely on my GPS heavily to navigate me through the concrete maze of city noise.  It is hard for me to imagine a time before the Maps […]

## Paying Attention to Spatial Reasoning

Paying Attention to Spatial Reasoning “Spatial thinking is integral to everyday life. People, natural objects, human-made objects, and human-made structures exist somewhere in space, and the interactions of people and things must be understood in terms of locations, distances, directions, shapes, and patterns.” (National Research Council, 2006, p. 5) What Is Spatial Reasoning? “Spatial thinking […]

## The Power of Math Visualization

According to Gary Stager, Seymour Papert described Mathland as a place inside of computing where one could learn to be a mathematician as casually as one would learn French by living in France Papert and his team developed LOGO, a programming language, in 1968 to engage youth in mathematics and to program computers to […]

## 10 Reasons Kids Should Learn to Code

Coding Improves Academic Performance Math: Coding helps kids visualize abstract concepts, lets them apply math to real-world situations, and makes math fun and creative! Writing: Kids who code understand the value of concision and planning, which results in better writing skills. Many kids even use Tynker as a medium for storytelling! Creativity: Kids learn through […]