Code Breaker: Increase Creativity, Remix Assessment, and Develop a Class of Coder Ninjas! by Brian Aspinall

5. How Other Teachers Do It

  • Jessica Konecny (@MrsKonecny) teaches 1st grade in Ontario, Canada. She uses the app Lightbot, which allows her students to get involved in coding. She starts with the entire class working together to solve problems. Prior to doing this, she had no experience with coding. She got advice from another 1st-grade teacher via Twitter and plans to try ScratchJr next to animate student narratives.
  • Valerie Volland (@MrsVolland1) teaches 5th grade at Brian’s school. She uses Hopscotch as a coding tool. Having no experience herself she simply turned the students loose and it wasn’t long before they were helping each other and watching YouTube videos to learn more. She finds that its hard to tell the kids with IEP’s from the rest of the class during these activities.
  • Melissa Dann (@meld70) has explored coding concepts with five-year-olds in Melbourne, Australia. Kids work in pairs with one child being the robot and the other being the programmer. They take turns with these roles. This is an activity that also works well on the playground where there is more room. Kids who can’t count to 20 learn how in order to take 20 steps, for example.
  • Unplugging the Hour of Code Part 2
  • Space Shooter
  • Coding Non Linear Stories With Twinethreads

6. Grit, Perseverance, and Alzheimer’s: Why Coding Matters

  • This short final chapter features a touching story of one of Brian’s former teachers who was a big inspiration in his life. It helps him persevere with the process of allowing his students to work together on messy problems rather than fall back on the safety of rote memorization and routine assignments. Brian’s final quote “Nothing changes how we think more than the ways we interact with each other,” helps make this point. Thanks, Brian.
  • Tennis for One
  • TEDx Talks
Brian Aspinall

Brian Aspinall

  • Brian is an educator, three-time TEDx speaker, coder, and consultant. He is an internationally recognized thought leader in digital skills education. He received the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in coding and computational thinking. His undergraduate degree is in computer science.
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