It’s hard to believe the Hour of Code is returning in less than two months. That means, it’s time to start planning!
This year, I doubled up on our computer science programming by offering two coding clubs after school. Due to scheduling, we did not have room during the school day for this programming. So, we added these clubs after school. As a result, some students had to make choices among their extracurricular activities. As an athlete myself, I know I would never have wanted to have to make that choice nor should I have had to.
We tried to make it as accommodating as possible. In our <body> builders club, we offer flexibility for the “over-committed” folks. Our second option, Hello World, is taught by a group of area developers at cost. It functions like a course and offers two unique events – a city-wide hackathon and student panel.
Going forward, we hope to incorporate some of the coding programming into our regular curriculum. As it stands, we offer Computer Science Level 1 and Advanced Computer Science to mainly 10-12 grade students. We offer an information literacy course to all 6th grade students, but there is no formal programming between 6th grade and 10th grade – the critical years.
So, as I plan for the Hour of Code, I think back to our dilemmas and the dilemmas of many schools. After school programs are a great start, but they should not be where it ends. We need to move beyond the Hour of Code and bring in the programming into our curriculum. While I am not always for mandatory computer science, I do believe it should be offered to all students with easy access. I don’t believe students should have to choose between it and another passion just as they do not have to choose between their other main courses.
With that in mind, this year, I have planned a full week of activities for our Hour of Code. We will kick off the week with a parent coding event, followed by a panel of area developers discussing the rules of the trade. On Wednesday, we will have a teacher coding lunch. And, on Thursday, we will have a family coding night, complete with over 15 booths! We will wrap it up on Friday with a challenge for all to complete at least one hour of code. Through this immersive approach, I hope to increase demand for these course and push the courses into the curriculum.