Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bugs Below!!!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to help introduce the programming concept of bugs and debugging to a fabulous group of Kindergartners! This class has been learning the basics of programming through sequencing arrow codes with Kodable for the past few weeks. They learned that computers and their Fuzz Friend aliens are not very smart and need their help because they only know how to read a secrete "code" known as arrows. They have been giving their Fuzz Friends the code to travel through the mazes. This activity will help extended their basic understanding of sequencing, create a connection between an idea they already know to a key concept of problem-solving and programing.

Bugs! That's a BUG! 

We began this activity by having the students "think" about a time they made a mistake. After a few moments to think, I shared an example with the class. It went something like this, "One day, I was writing my name and wrote the wrong letter. I made a mistake! Everyone, what I did I make?" The class responded with, "You made a mistake!" I continued to build the excitement in the room. I asked if anyone wanted to share a mistake they had made with the class. After my first volunteer, I had the class respond to their idea by finishing my statement. I repeated the students mistake, "When he spilled his milk, he made a ______!" The class all joined in to finish my statement with mistake. Before calling on the next student, I introduced our concept for today's activity. I told the students, in programming when there is a mistake we call that a bug! So I changed my sentence frame to include this concept. Instead, I said, "When he spilled his milk, that' a BUG!"  We continued to let students share examples of mistakes or problems. After each example, I repeated the mistake and the students responded with "That's a BUG!" This really helped the students develop a strong connection that in programming the word "BUG" means a problem, mistake or error! In programming we need to find bugs and fix them. When we fix problems, we call that debugging!

Next we played a video on debugging by on YouTube. Check out this video here! After watching the video, we introduced the Debugging: Sequence and Algorithm level in Kodable. The students were all excited to see the "bug" in the maze. Our introduction activity helped the students gain an understanding to why their was a "bug" in their maze and they knew their was a mistake that they needed to find and fix in their code.

During centers, all the students had an opportunity to continue working programming their alien Fuzz Friends through the mazes of Kodable!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Using QR Codes in the Classroom

Have you seen QR codes on products in the store? How about on your fast food cups and bags from the store? Flyers in the mail? QR codes have been showing up everywhere. Where have you seen them? Should they be used in the classroom??


QR codes can serve many different purposes in the classroom. 

QR stands for Quick Response. Once a QR code is scanned with a QR code reader, the embedded content in the QR code is instantly shared. QR codes can be linked to online websites, videos, contain audio and text information. QR codes can be linked to anything related to your classroom.

Do you have a classroom website? You can create a QR code for your website to send home to parents to easily scan your QR code to access your website. Do your students produce digital work? You can create QR codes to share their work. These QR codes could be printed and used to make a bulletin board. Do you want integrate technology into your classroom with a fun, engaging activity? You can link reading or questions to QR Codes which require your students to scan the QR code to discover their assignment. These QR Codes can be printed on a handout or posted around the room for a scavenger hunt!!

Making your own QR codes are easy! In Monday's Tech Madness session on using QR Codes in the Classroom we explored two different options for creating your own QR codes. My personal favorite is using the website,! This website allows you to paste links to any online site or type your own content to instantly create your own QR code. You can easily change the color of your QR Code and download the QR code image to easily be uploaded into any word processing program. Another easy way to create your own QR codes is using Google's URL shortener and clicking on details to access a QR code for your website.

There are many FREE QR code readers available for iOS and Android devices. If you have iPads, I highly recommend using QR Code Reader by Scan to have students scan QR codes. This App works well and does not contain Ads like other options I have tried out before.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Coding with Kodable

With so many things going on in the world of Educational Technology right now, I've lost track of time and have forgotten to make time for blogging! I need to start making blogging a priority and continuing to document and share my journey.  Last week I was busy everyday, from team teaching and demo lessons to attending an all day conference head at the Twitter Headquarters in San Francisco! What an AMAZING experience!!! Common Sense Media rocked their first Teacher Institute!

Link to Slides
Even though I have been slacking on my blog posts, I am rocking my professional development goal for myself! This year, I am trying to provided weekly, hour-long, technology related PD opportunities for any and all teachers in my district. Anyone can sign up and come learn about a new tool, concept or strategy for free. This week's Monday Tech Madness session was on coding with Kodable! Check out the slides here!