On Friday, December 12, 2014, four of my Honors Civics students stayed after school to participate in an Hour of Code. I would have had more students, however many students had an early release for the Christmas Dance which was later that evening.
Two of my students came back from the previous day’s activity to continue their work. This was the first time the two new participants were available to stay after. All four worked on iPads and used one of the free Lightbot apps available for an Hour of Code. We continued to use an Edmodo group dedicated to this endeavor as the platform for communication and organization.
I stood back after a brief overview and let the students discuss the events of the previous day. The two students who participated Thursday opted to continue on with the Lightbot puzzles instead of creating code via PageStudio. The new students joined in and they began working on individual tasks. I mirrored one student iPad onto my Interactive Whiteboard, IWB, using Apple TV.
The students were very quiet as they worked on their tasks, which was not what I was hoping for. The students were super-focused on what they were doing which was good, but I was hoping for more teamwork. As I observed what each was doing on their iPad, the student who was mirroring her iPad onto the IWB hit a snag and was stuck on a puzzle. I encouraged her to ask the others for help and reiterated that I was hoping for a group effort. As she asked for help, the students realized that they were all around the same puzzle and having similar issues.
The four students began to talk, collaborate, and test out possible solutions on their individual iPads, sharing their ideas with each other using the mirrored iPad. This went on for the rest of the sessions, almost the full hour. Their ability to work through the increasingly complex tasks increased in speed and the tasks were less tedious as they joked and talked out the solutions.
Overall, the session seemed to be a success. I posted an assignment in the Edmodo group to add to the enrichment assignment; write a reflection blog post on the Hour of Code, or record a short podcast reflection of their efforts. I am looking forward to seeing their thoughts on the activities and hoping for honest opinions. I would like to expand upon this event and getting their opinions on how to improve it is key. I also offered to continue with activities like these throughout the year if they are interested in doing so. Hopefully I will find out soon via blog post or podcast if they thought the effort was a success.
My major epic fail for the project was forgetting some Christmas cookies on my dining room table at home that I bought as a snack for the participants. I did remember to bring juice pouches for them, and had some animal cracker/cookies for snacks, but forgetting the good treats bothered me.