I have linked Coding into Communication and Inquiry using these two areas:
For Sequence we started with using coloured pieces of paper and laying them in a pattern on the floor. Students then needed to work together to come up with instructions for each one. It generated lots of conversation and thinking about each verbal instruction carefully.
We also applied it to following a recipe so it would link to out baking/cooking inquiry as well.
Next we looked at Decomposition. Using Linda Liukas' book "Hello Ruby, Adventures in Coding," has been a really practical guide to approaching these concepts with younger students. First we took geometrical shapes and used them to make an object or thing.
We then broke down the parts to see the different shapes it was made from. Afterwards we looked at drawings from the book to see which part might be missing or which part wouldn't be used. Several students were really quick to identify those parts. It was interesting to note that these activities clearly showed those who could instantly see as compared to those who took more time. The two who are exceptional at co operating and working together in a team picked up these patterns the quickest.
Today we looked at this book which I got out from our local library. I wanted students to focus on the three key areas of coding as outlined in this book:
1. Try, try, try again. 2. Being Creative. 3. Better together.
I gave my students sets of "transformable blocks car sets.' They had both possible instructions available and I had purposely removed or mixed parts to see what students would do when they encountered this challenge. I organised them to work in pairs and we started. It was really interesting to see who would keep trying, and work together in a creative way. Two of the three groups managed to co operate to get their task completed in a way they were both happy with. One group struggled and focussed too much on taking turns rather than sharing ideas and working as a team. This barrier would be one common with those not used to the 3 core areas we focused on. Most were happy to tinker and problem solve creatively but the group that set rules and stuck just to the 'status quo' were unsuccessfully in completing the task in the given time.
I had another group who worked together with Lego to build a small house with a garage. Even though these students are quieter, they were just as successful in achieving their goal. They just needed prompting to share ideas over the course of the activity.
I have enjoyed learning about coding alongside my ESOL students this term. Although we have just started to 'scratch the surface' of what coding is, it is a journey that I am looking forward to continuing.