throw it out and start over!

a few years ago, we overhauled our technology schedule for 4th and 5th grade and moved to what is now known as the 4cs program. i've been in charge of the 'coding' block since this beginning, and i made some significant changes this year.

as i began lesson planning over christmas break, i made a list of what i liked about swift playgrounds (our current curriculum) and what i didn’t like about it. as i began to think through it, i realized that what i didn’t like about learn to code 1 in swift playgrounds was how quickly the difficulty went up for our students.  by class five, students who didn’t naturally “get” the concepts of coding became frustrated. as i went to search for some different curriculum, i ended up on for coding curriculum due to its ability to create classes and monitor progress through our clever portal integration. for those of you who don't know what clever is, it's a way for students to use a qr code to log in to a portal. this provides them with access to multiple applications and services we use.

we're just wrapping up our quarter of coding, and i am thrilled with the results. allowed me to create new classes on the fly as students finished up with with our planned work. we even had an "hour of code" day where they went through multiple coding projects in a single day. i've heard great feedback from the 5th graders on how much they liked compared to what we used last year. as their teacher, i feel like we learned a lot more this year than in previous years and had more fun during the process. the previously difficult ramp-up was much more manageable, and i never felt like a student came to a problem they couldn't solve. one of the things a lot of students struggle with in 2020 is the ability to work through difficult problems without wanting to “google” it. even in an age of instant information, problem solving skills are still extremely valuable.

reflecting on the quarter of coding, i was reminded of one of the things that i love about brainerd baptist school. we're never content with doing just what we did last year. we're always looking to improve the learning journey for our students. even though our previous coding curriculum was working fine, the curriculum change provided students an opportunity to learn more in our short time together. i am extremely happy with the results, and i hope your students are able to benefit from this unique learning experience! 

bradley chambers