Tag Archives: tried and true

Tried and True – Parallel Poetry

an example of Parallel Poetry done by one of my 4th grade students
an example of Parallel Poetry done by one of my 4th grade students

On this blog, I tend to post about a lot of ideas that I find, and some readers don’t always get a chance to know if I ever tried them – or if they were complete flops.  This week, I want to feature a few past ideas that I did try and that were successful – and that I definitely want to do again.

If you teach a poetry unit, I strongly urge you to check out this post that I did on Parallel Poetry.  It has definitely been one of my “Tried and True” lessons throughout the years for me, and I am always delighted by the results from my students.  I felt so strongly about the power of this activity that I submitted it to Ian Byrd for his Byrdseed TV.  (You need a subscription to view the full lesson.)

While we are talking about poetry, I would also direct you to Newspaper Blackout Poetry if you have never tried it.  This past year was our first attempt, and I definitely plan to do it again.

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Tried and True – Hour of Code

On this blog, I tend to post about a lot of ideas that I find, and some readers don’t always get a chance to know if I ever tried them – or if they were complete flops.  This week, I want to feature a few past ideas that I did try and that were successful – and that I definitely want to do again.

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One of my 2nd grade students using the Hopscotch app during Hour of Code

Last year, my students participated in the Hour of Code during CSEd Week 2013.  I have a pull-out GT program, and I did coding with every grade level that I had at the time (1st-5th) throughout Computer Science Education week.  The students really enjoyed it, and many of my older students continued various coding projects afterwards at home and at school.  The younger ones were always excited when I included a coding activity in one of our centers the rest of the year.

In my post on Trends for Education in the 2013-2014 School Year, I predicted that the topic of teaching coding in our schools would be popular.  There have been many articles to attest to this in recent months.  There is even a regular #kidscancode chat on Twitter in which educators participate to discuss the place of programming in our schools. (Tweet @kodable for the next one scheduled if you are interested.)  Google has offered its own material to support the resolution to introduce more young people, particularly girls, to coding.  I believe that 2013’s Hour of Code really brought the discussion to the mainstream – and this year will be even better.

In a recent e-mail advertising this year’s Hour of Code (December 8-14, 2014), Hadi Partovi promises that, by fall,  Code.org will offer :

  • 3 levels of elementary courses (K-1, 2-3, 4-5)
  • Free, one-day curriculum workshops for elementary teachers beginning in September. Sign up to be notified when a workshop is scheduled in your area.
  • Middle school programming activities for math and science classes. Learn more

Of course, that is in addition all of the wonderful tutorials and courses already being offered on their site!

The great thing about Code.org resources is that you do not have to be familiar with coding to introduce your students to the subject.  The site addresses all levels of knowledge – and even give “unplugged” activity suggestions for those without access to a computer.

I definitely intend to participate in Hour of Code again this year, and I hope many more people will, too!

For more coding links, check out my Programming for Kids Pinterest Board.

Tried and True – Global Cardboard Challenge

The Cardboard Theater created by one of my 3rd Grade students for the 2013 Global Cardboard Challenge
The Cardboard Theater created by one of my 3rd Grade students for the 2013 Global Cardboard Challenge

On this blog, I tend to post about a lot of ideas that I find, and some readers don’t always get a chance to know if I ever tried them – or if they were complete flops.  This week, I want to feature a few past ideas that I did try and that were successful – and that I definitely want to do again.

In 2013 I stumbled across the Global Cardboard Challenge, and decided to see what my GT students could do with it.  I had great hopes for it – and I was not disappointed.  Here is one of the posts that I did while we were in the midst of the project.  My GT students in 1st through 5th grade all participated.  You can see some of their creations here.

When I say that I have never been so completely useless as a teacher in my life (except when I administer standardized testing), I am not exaggerating.  Why was I useless?  Because once the students got to work, they were completely engaged for hours at a time – and they really did not want my help or suggestions.  I stood around and made cuts in boxes and distributed packing tape.

I am planning to expand the Challenge this year to include not only my GT students, but also students in a Maker Club that I am going to be sponsoring after school.  We also have a fundraiser in the works where the students will display their final products at a local business and the community will be invited to play the cardboard games for a small donation to a charity that my students will determine.

This year’s Global Cardboard Challenge is scheduled for October 11, 2014.  But you do not have to actually create on that date!  Go to the site for the details and resources, and think about what works for your community of creative kids.  And, if you or your students have not seen Caine’s Arcade, the amazing video that inspired this event, make sure you watch it!