Hour of Code

An Hour of Code is a movement to introduce students to the basics of computer science.
A movement to introduce students to the basics of computer science.

I’ve heard about it. I’ve supported the teachers in my school to try it. Now… it’s time for me to sit down for an “Hour of Code”. OK friends, maybe longer than an hour!

The Hour of Code movement is a grassroots movement that has already introduced over 100 million students worldwide to the basics of computer science. The program was started to give every student an opportunity to try computer science for one hour. In an hour anybody can learn the basics of “code” by participating in computer science activities.  Computer science helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity.  All skills that are important to pursue a 21st century career path. Our elementary school first participated in an Hour of Code in 2015 during Computer Science Education Week (held in early December each year).

Today, Hour of Code activities are available year-round (tutorials and activities). The one-hour tutorials are available in over 45 languages.  The tutorials are self-guided, and all materials are free of charge. Planning guides are easy to read and available for every age and experience-level, from kindergarten and up. Schools can enroll their class and enjoy the fun. The tutorials work on all devices and browsers and there are also unplugged activities for groups that can’t accommodate the tutorials!  Code.org is the ultimate resource if you are learning about an Hour of Code or you are already working on it with your kids.

Hour of Code: One Hour Later….

Well, it was longer than an hour but……I worked on an activity to code my characters to dance! See Dance Party. No experience necessary, easy to do and fun! Can’t wait to have my grandkids try it!

Thinking about giving it a try?  Computer Science Education Week 2019 will be held December 9-15. Be part of the largest learning event in history. Certainly, worth a look. However, it you can’t wait until December, try some of the links. Have fun!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Exit Tickets (Slips) in the Classroom?

Exit Tickets are a quick and easy student assessment
Exit Tickets are a quick and easy student assessment

Recently while observing student teacher lessons I realized that each of them used Exit Tickets as their closure activity. Although they each teach different grades and subjects, they all used Exit Tickets as the “go-to” strategy to check for understanding. And it worked! 

What are Exit Tickets (slips)

An exit ticket is a formative assessment tool used to assess student learning and to plan future lessons. Typically, a prompt or a question, it is given to students at the end of a class that is tied to the objective of the lesson taught that day. They are usually in a multiple-choice format or an open response. These mini assessments are meant to be no more than 1-5 minutes and not graded.

10 Exit Ticket Benefits

  • Allows students to self-assess
  • Clarifies main concept of the lesson
  • Keeps students engaged in the lesson
  • Assesses student understanding
  • Creates an additional review and reinforcement opportunity
  • Invites students to ask questions or clarify thoughts
  • Guides teacher lesson design based on student understanding
  • Helps organize small group instruction
  • Provides data on student progress.
  • Opens a communication channel between teacher and student

Exit slips are easy to use for teachers and students.  They can be used at every grade level. So, why not give them a try?

Great article on Exit Slips by education expert Robert Marzano. Check it out. 

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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STEM/STEAM in Classrooms

 STEAM aims to spark an interest and life- long love of the arts and sciences in children starting at an early age
STEAM aims to spark an interest and life- long love of the arts and sciences in children starting at an early age

We all know the importance of marketing in selling things.  It’s all around us every day!  A great marketing campaign that has entered the school doors is the STEAM movement. Yes, it may be the catchy name but kids, parents and teachers now think STEAM is cool! Some of us have known all along about the cool factor of science but now the word is out. Now, we are all “living and loving” science. And, that’s OK!

What’s STEAM All About?

The rebranding of Science and Math is a result of the need to better prepare students for higher education. Students in the 21st century workforce need to have the skills and knowledge to be innovators.  The acronym was first introduced as Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and is now often referred to as STEAM with the inclusion of an A for Arts. STEAM lessons include the following:

  • Makes connections between standards, learning objectives and assessments.
  • Focuses on real world problems
  • An integrated approach to learning
  • Crosses all 5 disciplines (science, technology, engineering, arts, math)
  • Teaches kids how to ask questions, experiment and be creative.  

STEAM projects aim to spark an interest and life- long love of the arts and sciences in children starting at an early age. Lessons are designed to teach skills to be good learners, therefore, the skills can be translated into almost any career. Teaching kids to think critically and solve problems will help them to thrive in the 21st century. 

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Historical Dates: Oct. & Nov. 2019

Including Historical Dates in lessons gives relevance to learning.
Including Historical Dates in lessons gives relevance to learning.

For kids in school, knowing historical dates helps them relate to history and builds their general knowledge. Knowing these dates can help teachers engage students in conversations and students may even be impressed  by their teachers historical knowledge!

Knowing historical dates provides opportunities for students to learn history and build their general knowledge. Take a look and impress your students!

October

Fire Prevention Week (October 9- October 15)
National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15 – October 15)

Oct. 4 World Smile Day

Oct. 8 Yom Kippur (10/08-10/09)

Oct. 9 Fire Prevention Day

Oct. 9 National Bring Your Teddy Bear To School Day

Oct. 14 Columbus Day

Oct. 25 Make A Difference Day (10/25-10/26)

November

Nov. 5 Election Day

Nov.. 11 Veterans Day (Observed)

Nov. 28 Thanksgiving

Isn't education ALL about reaching the kids?
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Great Calendar Resource

3 Writing Strategies to Use Evidence

Ways to help student use evidence to answer open-ended questions.
Ways to Help Students Read and Write

Answering open-ended response questions is an important task in third and fourth grades.  Looking for evidence is the key and organizing your thoughts. As the length of reading passages increases, many students struggle locate information. Teaching kids a “list of steps” and pairing it with an acronym helps students respond to a written article. Kids like acronyms because they are easy to remember. Three strategies to try in your classroom are: R.A.D., R.A.C.E and C.E.R.   

R.A.D. (Restate, Answer, Details)

  • RESTATE the questionto start the beginning of the answer.  
  • ANSWER the questionby going to your notes and looking for the answer. Read and circle any information that you have in your notes that will help you answer what is asked. 
  • DETAILS should be included from the text as evidence.

R.A.C.E (Restate, Answer, Cite, Explain)

  • RESTATE the question.in your topic sentence.
  • ANSWER the question that is being by including it in your topic sentence.
  • CITE evidence from the text to support your answer.
  • EXPLAIN how the evidence from the text supports your answer. 

C. E. R. (Claim, Evidence, Reasoning)

  • CLAIM – A statement that responds to the question being asked using words from the question.
  • EVIDENCE – Provide (facts) from the text as evidence to support your answer (claim). (No opinions, just the facts)
  • REASONING – Explain how these facts support your claim.  You may need to include background knowledge along with the facts to explain your reasoning.  

Using one of these strategies will help students answer open-ended questions.  It will also be helpful when students face high stakes testing. Having an acronym to hang on to will help reduce test anxiety.  

Isn't education ALL about reaching the kids?
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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ReadWorks a FREE Reading Resource (K-12)

ReadWorks provides K-12 teachers with nonfiction and literary resources.
ReadWorks provides K-12 teachers with nonfiction and literary resources

I LOVE this site. ReadWorks is Amazon shopping for EVERY type of teacher!  Everything that you need to support your student’s comprehension.  It’s all in one place and FREE

ReadWorks is a nonprofit that provides K-12 teachers with nonfiction and literary articles that support reading comprehension and vocabulary learning. Resources are easy-to-use, research-based, and FREE (I guess I said that enough). Articles are leveled for reading instruction and can be printed, used digitally or projected on a Smartboard.

ReadWorks Includes:

  • Reading Passages
    • Over 5000 K-12 passages
    • Search by grade or by Lexile
    • Written by experts, curated by educators
    • On curriculum topics
  • Questions Sets
    • Text-based questions
    • Multiple choice and written answer questions
    • Explicit and inferential questions that build a deeper understanding of the important elements of a text
  • Vocabulary
    • Carefully selected, high-impact words
    • Multiple definitions and authentic sentence examples
    • Practice with word families and metacognition
  • Article-A-Day
    •  A 10-minute daily routine that dramatically increases background knowledge, vocabulary, and reading stamina
  • Paired Texts
    • Two texts related by topic or theme
    • Question sets to draw connections and comparisons
  • Step Reads
    • Less complex versions of original passages.
    • Designed to provide access for struggling students.
    • Preserve the integrity of the original text, including vocabulary, knowledge, and length.
  • Lessons and Units
    • Based on trade books.
    • Support instruction of longer texts.
    • Include complete lesson plans with guided practice and independent practice.
  • Student Tools
    • Audio versions of all reading content
    • Ability to highlight, annotate and adjust text size.

ReadWorks encourages teachers to share their resources with other colleagues. Pass it on!

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ThreeRingsConnections’ Newsletter: September 2019

Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.
Nelson Mandela

Nine months down in 2019, how are you doing on those New Years Resolutions? If you are still working on catching up on professional development, take a look at this month’s newsletter. All 13 September  posts are below, as well as ALL the posts since I started the blog in September 2018. My New Year’s Resolution to get the Threeringsconnections’ newsletter out on a timely, consistent schedule is accomplished: 9 down and 3 more to go! Have a great month!

September 2019 Archives

September’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite September Posts

See some posts coming next month
See some posts coming next month
  • The Grand Canyon for Kids
  • Hour of Code
  • 3 Writing Strategies to Use Evidence