The Elementary Tech Times

A parent newsletter about technology in our schools

December 2016

We participated in the global Hour of Code!

During Computer Science Education Week (December 5-11), our schools joined the largest learning event in history: The Hour of Code. More than 100 million students worldwide have already tried an Hour of Code.


With the Hour of Code, computer science has been on homepages of Google, MSN, Yahoo! and Disney. Over 100 partners have joined together to support this movement. Every Apple Store in the world has hosted an Hour of Code.


Our Hour of Code is making a statement that Region 6 is ready to teach these foundational 21st century skills. To learn more about the Hour of Code, ask your child to show you what they've learned, and take some time to explore the games, tutorials, and other information at https://hourofcode.com/us.

Computer Science is Changing Everything

Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2

Students in these grades use their iPads every day to build reading, math, writing, and fine motor skills. They use a QR Code Scanner to access video storybooks or specific websites shared by the teacher. Kindergarten students use the Paint Kid app to draw and label pictures.


We also learned that we do not share information about ourselves with strangers online. Information children should not share online includes their last name, their school name, home address, birthday, or their phone number.


For Hour of Code, students used the free app Kodable to learn some of the basics of coding. Children give directions to the character to help it navigate a maze. Each level progressively requires sequencing, problem solving, and perseverance.


Some 2nd graders also tried the new Moana game at Code.org for an extra challenge!

Kinders using Kodable

Grade 3 & 4

Students in grades 3 & 4 have had some serious talks lately about staying safe online. This will be an ongoing conversation at school, and we recommend making it a frequent topic of conversation at home, too. Children (and adults) need reminders that what we do online is very public and can be viewed, shared, or even manipulated by strangers. Students should never share photographs of themselves or their friends online. Additionally, children should never use a photo of themselves as an avatar for any online service or game.


Students have also published their first stories of the year in Google Docs and are becoming more comfortable using Google Docs and Google Classroom. They use their chromebooks daily for reading and math skill building, as well.


For Hour of Code, students in grades 3 and 4 had many options on code.org. Many chose the new Moana, the Minecraft, or the Flappy Birds game tutorials. These games use a drag & drop block format to connect commands together, guiding the actions of the game character(s). Each level progressively gets more complex, requiring increasing commands and adding loops and conditionals.

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Grades 5 & 6

Pre-teens know everything about the internet... or at least believe they do. Many of our 5th and 6th graders are online a lot more than any of us realize. Students in these grades are continually discussing online safety (see grades 3-4 above) as well as the "Power of Words". Both kids and adults sometimes need reminders that what we say online is public and forever. We are talking to another person, not just a computer, and that other person has feelings, just like if we were talking to them in person. Students discuss how texts, messages, and online comments do not have the benefit of facial expressions or tone of voice, and that emojis do not necessarily communicate clearly.


During Hour of Code, students in these grades had lots of choices on code.org. Many beginners tried Moana or Minecraft, while those with more experience used Tynker and Scratch game tutorials. A few of our students at this age are even working with JavaScript or other code languages.

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