Unfortunately, I don’t actually meet with the kids in computer class this week due to my own work-schedule conflict with our normal class time. However, I have created a Scratch math game that will be used over the next two weeks or more to demonstrate some cs concepts. We started out making shapes and talking about how technology can be used to do things for us… like drawing nice straight lines for our squares or very complex shapes that we would have trouble drawing by hand at all. The math game example will expand on that idea by 1) communicating with the user 2) passing messages between modules 3) performing math calculations and 4) combining simple activities to perform a complex action: teaching. I’ve uploaded the game to my profile on Scratch: MathGame1. Also, handouts will be created for use as guides in class which will describe and illustrate strategies for implementing the activities above, and will be posted once they are completed.
Midterms smacked me upside the head this year, so to make up for my silence I’ve got a monster report heading your way.
The last few weeks have been nothing short of chaotic at St. Viator’s, but as I’ve been told that’s nothing out of the ordinary. The week of October 19th Mr. C, the computer class teacher as well as my site supervisor, had a seminar to attend, so all the computer classes were cancelled for a day. I only worked with the kindergartners on their iPads to learn writing numbers above 10, as the teacher told me they were having difficulties writing numbers like 16 and 17. Naturally they found that the numbers app they have has a blank editor as an option, so they wanted to draw their own pictures and explain those to me rather than work on their numbers. Keeping them on task was definitely a battle of the wills.
The week of October 26th, Mr. C had to leave last minute as a chaperone on the 6th grader’s field trip. The original plan was to have the 8th graders come in during their morning slot, but Mr. C also had some electricians come in that day to do some rewiring, so since there were exposed conduits that plan was ixnayed. I went to the kindergartners at my usual time to continue working with them on writing their numbers and letters out on the iPads. Fortunately, the electricians were gone by the time the third graders were slotted to use the lab, so their class passed without incident. I wrote a couple puzzles for them to work on to help refresh their memory for Scratch. I took screen-caps of all the pieces they would need and gave them a simple problem to solve. They seemed to enjoy it well enough.
This last week of November 2nd for whatever reason did not go quite as smoothly as I would have liked. I had the sixth graders again for the first time in two weeks, so at that point I skipped the refresher Scratch course and had them start working on the project I had in mind for them. In a nutshell, what I want the sixth and third graders to be able to do is write a short story, and then animate it in Scratch, making full use of the sprites and simple commands I have taught them. With the aid of a simple story-starter site, the sixth graders leapt into the project with enthusiasm. I don’t think they’ll have much trouble finishing next week or the week after if necessary. After the sixth grade class I went down to the kindergartners to work on the iPads. They are getting a little better with writing numbers greater than 10, but they still like to test my patience and use the paint editor and not the program itself. I’ll take my victories where I can get them.
The third grade class worries me some. While most of them exhibited the same enthusiasm for the project, one or two of them I think are being intentionally obstinate, choosing to walk around and bother the other students rather than do their own work. While I encouraged asking their neighbors for help, that wasn’t quite what I had in mind.
They’re probably going to take a little longer than the sixth graders to do this project, which is fine. I just hope that next week goes a little better for them and that they’ll make more progress then.
As for me, I’m hoping not fall as far behind on posting like I did, so lesson learned.