An Hour of Code Reflection via @ArcherJoe #CodeBreaker

An Hour of Code Reflection via @ArcherJoe #CodeBreaker

This is a guest post by Joe Archer. Click here to view Joe’s blog.

Well… Lakewood Elementary School’s 2nd Annual Hour of Code Event has concluded, the hard work and effort was well worth it, but the learning outcomes from this event were much more inspiring and enjoyable for me watching unfold!

Check out the Simcoe Reformer’s Article; Lakewood Students Learn to Code

The three ladies above approached me a few weeks prior to our event that we hosted, after I had mentioned that our classroom would be planning the event again this year. Last year they all partook as we launched the Hour of Code at Lakewood’s Girls Can Code Event, which they all thoroughly remembered and enjoyed.

I was asked if I would consider letting them plan and organize the entire event. At first I was a little taken back, slightly as this was my baby…but taking a step back I thought how empowering would it be for these exceptional students to take the lead and run with it. So, somewhat unwillingly but very optimistic the driven, determined ladies took over with the planning. They had multiple planning meetings with each other during recesses, nutrition breaks, which they met with the Administrator within the building to share their desire to plan a day for ALL to enjoy an Hour of Code. They had a date set, a target group (Grade 2/3 students as we have 6 classrooms and 6 periods within our daily schedule), which would fit the timeframe / periods we had to work with.

From here the girls, met with all teachers involved asked when their preps were, organized a timeframe that worked so all teachers involved would not miss their preps as well. They then devised, edited and presented me with a classroom schedule, teachers involved and even a letter they created inviting all classrooms to our event, delivered the letters and within two days we had it written in stone….it was on like donkey kong!

We had a meeting the following day discussing what centers we would provide for the grade 2/3 students coming in, looked at classroom numbers (students to devices we would have on hand), found out we were short (problem solved by asking teachers involved to donate classroom devices to our event for the day as their admission into the Hour of Code). With this problem solved the ladies came up with 8 stations; Makey Makey, Micro:bit Fidget Spinners and Critter / Faces, HourOfCode.Org, MinecraftEdu, Scratch, Inksmith’s K8 Robot and Box Island.

Once, we determined our stations the girls requested a meeting to discuss their next job assignments. They presented me with station leaders, whom excelled within the given stations they choose (which were all right on the money), then shared the support teams within the lead students team. They shared that for them to manage all 23 other classmates it would be too much, therefore by running one station themselves and ONLY have 7 other lead helpers coming to them they would be able to manage 2 each…if I would help with one of the stations too. Another problem solved!

The ladies then met with each leader in the group shared their thoughts and feelings and then asked them to meet with their team and devise a ‘plan of attack’, which occurred the next day during our ‘learning commons’ period. These leaders then came back and shared the next day their plans with myself and the girls, which was well done. Now the ladies decided to create lists (I think to ensure Mr. Archer kept / got all his ‘toys’ ‘gizmo’s’ and ‘gadgets’ back) as Mr. Archer is a tad bit OCD and is obsessive at times with returning his personal items. The lists included a checklist of items that would be collected the day before into a small bin to take down for the leads stations to run smoothly (i.e., Micro:bit Fidget Spinners; Real Fidget Spinner, 5 Micro:bits, 5 cords to transfer files, 5 power sources), which the leads would also gather and check off prior to leaving the Learning Commons space once the event was over (I greatly appreciated the attention to detail they had).

The girls shared these with leads, asked for feedback (if anything was missing, again adapted lists and again this was checked off the list). I found with each given day they became more and more particular ensuring all the fine details were wrapped up and tied up with bows! They also decided to have ballots, for feedback on the grade 2/3 students favourite stations they visited during their hour visit with us, they told me I could use the ballots for math (which we did this week, data management graphing and analyzing the outcomes; favourite stations, least favourite….looked at possible reasoning why, how to encourgage people to go to that station next year; looked at creating ads, comics, witty sayings etc…).

The day before we had a mock ‘run through’ during our ‘Learning Commons / Library’ period, which ran smoothly! The girls then also tacked on another addition; creating a checklist for each student to ensure they tried everything. They even told me when I did my ‘Welcome Presentation’ to ensure to encourage them to visit at least 4 stations, if they did they could throw thier checklist in a box to be pulled for prizes the following day (class by class too). I obtained stickers from Microsoft for Microbits and whatnot for the kids too!

Low and behold the day was upon us….the outcome; smooth as ice! Incredily seamless infact, no issues that couldn’t be problem solved with ease! They tought of everything and then some! The best part was they requested a ‘reflection meeting’ with me the following day…..I thought to miss recess again, but it was to help me plan for next year with my new group of kids! Too funny eh?!?!

So….what was learned?!!? Well….just like coding; run a program, regroup when testing ‘if not work’, iteration needed, ‘fixed’ re-run, mastered then move on, innovate, recreate better…when run into trouble, revisit ‘if not work’, iteration needed….insert forever loop! In a round about way the ladies learned how to manage, run and plan a seamlessly incredible event for 140+ peers at the age of 11 years old.

One word….amazing! My thoughts? Well….to be honest, prior to sharing what I think I would love to hear what you all think….

I did rely to my good buddy Brian Aspinall the effort and work the gals put into this event. He was pumped to see what the outcome would be, very proud to hear the interest the girls had into running the event and sent a signed copy of his Code Breaker Book for the girls! I will pitch this as well…..Block Breaker coming soon in the new year!! Woot woot!

Anyways, please take a peak at the Sway (click highlighted text) for Lakewoods 2nd Hour of Code to see within our event.

One proud teacher is what I will say!

Way to go ladies! Well done, blow away with the effort, focus on all the fine details and committement to planning!

Looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks of the girls effort! Please share!

Moving ahead….even though the Hour of Code / Computer Science week is over we can always continue to use and implement coding / programming into learning each and everyday moving head! Take a leap of faith, well worth the risk!

Until next time….

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