Monday, December 15, 2014

We Are a Community, After All

Today we concluded our Holiday Family Service Project. Altogether, our team of 50 kiddos collected over 1900.00 with which we purchased gifts and gift cards for our holiday family. Kids begin raising money on November 1 every year and we end the drive on December 15 every year. We celebrate, make the project fun for the kids and make sure the kiddos buy in to the idea of service to those who have run into tough times. We never want kids to lose sight of the fact that some people have hit a rough patch and need some help to get out of it. We try to teach our kids that we should all help each other and we should all be able to accept help from others. We are a community, after all.

Our goal was 1500.00 and we smashed it!

Kids with presents for our holiday family

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Hour of Code

Every once in a while, a special project presents itself and we feel that we have to take advantage of it. The Hour of Code is a huge national event that aims to get kids interested in coding. It is essential for as many kids as possible to learn and understand coding because it is the most important language of the future, if not the present. It didn't take long for either Melissa or me to determine that we wanted our kids to participate in the Hour of Code.

We introduced some of the coding tutorials a couple of weeks ago and saw immediate interest by at least 10% of the team. These kiddos would come to school early or stay late to work on the coding sites we had for them. They were making relatively complex designs and gadgets through coding. Some have even changed their 20% Time Projects to ones that involve coding. Neither Melissa nor I know much about coding, but we know enough to point the kids in the right direction and marshal the resources they will need in order to be successful.

What we didn't know about while we were planning our coding day was that an eighth grade team of five teachers was also planning an event. They extended an invitation for us to join them and we jumped at the chance. Our little hour of coding in our classrooms morphed into a four-session, two-hour coding buffet that ranged from robotics to apps to coding sites, all in multi-age groups. Through teacher collaboration, we were able to build this rewarding day for kids. Some kiddos may run with coding and invent all kinds of amazing things and some will not look at it again, but we have always been big proponents of experiencing all different kinds of learning because it enriches us as people. The Hour of Code was one such opportunity for our kids that we could not pass up.

Coding the light patterns of the White House Christmas Tree

Coding a dancing yeti? Yep!

Learning from each other.

How did you do that?

Coding snowflake movements and sound beats.