Thing 11: Coding

I am hosting a Coding workshop after school for 6 weeks in February and March.  This “Thing” is a good way to get the ball rolling with coding.  I’ve dappled in it just a little bit myself, but I’ve never taught coding to my students.  We don’t have handheld devices for students so I decided to use code.org to introduce my students.  I know my elementary aged kids are fans of Minecraft and code.org has a video by the creator of Minecraft to introduce coding.

I’ve typed up an outline of how we might spend our time during the coding workshop.  This really forced me to try out all of the areas we could cover during the workshop.  Code.org does a really great job breaking down the coding into small comprehensible chunks for kids to understand.  Vocabulary words are emphasized and for each lesson there are short videos with someone explaining the concepts of coding in real-life examples like beekeeping or glassmaking.  I was impressed with the celebrity-status of some of the people in the coding videos.  Code.org hosted very creative individuals responsible for high profile movies and games young people enjoy today like Star Wars and Frozen.

Here is a link to my outline: Coding Workshop Outline

I am glad to be hosting a Coding Workshop after school.  While browsing Code.org, I thought this skill is applicable to math and ELA as well, especially when working on skills like algorithms and angles.  Next year during the week of the Hour of Code, I will certainly teach my students some coding skills and after this workshop, I hope I become more comfortable with the process that I can see more easily how to overlap coding with math, ELA, or even Science and Social Studies.

Thing 22: Productivity Tools

Evernote

I’ve heard of Evernote before, and it is mentioned several times in the Thing 22 task description.  I decided to take a closer look.

For my first note in Evernote I decided to see how it works to compile research for a possible summer vacation.  When I visited NPS.Gov, and tried to copy the web address I found that Evernote prompted me to add a chrome app called Web Clipper.  I was glad to find right away that Evernote is compatible with Google Chrome as our school is going with Chrome.

First, I collected an article.  Next, I took a screenshot of a what it would cost to fly there.  Before adding it to my notebook, I added notes, highlights, arrows, and circles.  I realized I could also manipulate the article once in my notebook as well.

While doing research, I kept going back to Evernote to look at how my clips and articles would appear.  This is totally unnecessary however.  You don’t even have to have a page open for Evernote to work.  I really love this because it’s always a nuisance to go back and forth between pages to find and correlate information.

Here is a link to my first Evernote Notebook:

Summer Vacation Notebook

Wunderlist

For my next Productivity Tool, I chose Wunderlist.  I picked this one because it is compatible with Chrome and the many devices I carry around.  I’ve even had the delightful realization that now, I could put my Wunderlist on my husband’s phone and get a little help with groceries and other miscellaneous tasks!!

I also keep lists everywhere and lose them.  The first list I was excited to make was a movie list.  I haven’t found a single useful place to store a list of movies and I always see titles I would like to remember to look up later.

Wunderlist made it really easy to get started because it had a list of popular topics people make lists with.  I used all of them.  I love lists and I’ll say it again, I love that this will keep my list on the computer and my phone.

Wunderlist will also allow you to use a microphone to record your list.  I can see how this would be useful in the classroom if it allows you to record for a length of time.  However, I couldn’t get it to work on my computer.

When you check something of the list, there is a very satisfying “ding!”

 

Other Productivity Tools

My school is using Google Chrome.  I use Google Drive for almost everything.  At the beginning of the school year I was using Microsoft Word, but it was freezing up on me.  I am encouraging my school to allow third grade to have a Google Account so that I can allow them to collaborate on projects together with a Doc.  I love Google Drive.

I also use Dropbox occasionally.  Dropbox was really handy when I switched from my old job to my new school because I had a lot of things saved as Documents on my desktop.  It made it much easier to drag and drop the documents into dropbox rather than email each one individually.

I added a few of the resource articles to my Evernote account, beginning a notebook for school and future exploration.

I am excited now to use Evernote and Wunderlist in my personal life.  Evernote will help with all my excessive planning and Wunderlist is going to simplify communication with my husband.  In the classroom, Wunderlist could be great for older students to keep a checklist for an assignment.  The problem is the email requirement.  Evernote will be great in the classroom as well, with research and organizing information.