Echo Horizon students join millions for Hour of Code

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Photo courtesy of Sarah Aleksich busy—Oliver S. and Seth K. work together during this year’s Hour of Code.

From Dec. 9 to 15, National Computer Science Education Week was celebrated and the students at Echo Horizon School were able to join 10 million students in 170 countries for “Hour of Code.”

This event brought attention to the importance of computer programming by encouraging students all over the world to spend an hour engaging in coding at a developmentally appropriate level. At Echo Horizon, students in all grade levels from prekindergarten through sixth grade engaged in some form of programming activity for at least an hour during the course of the week.

As a five-time Apple Distinguished School awardee, integrating technology into classroom learning, and finding innovative ways to do so, is an everyday practice.

The Pre-Kindergarten students programmed their friends to follow a certain path by giving and following directional words. The Kindergarten students played Tynker Puppy Adventure, which is a game that teaches basic concepts of programming. First grade students used the Kodable iPad app, a maze game that requires students to use programming concepts such as sequences, conditions, loops and Scratch, a block-based programming language, to design geometric shapes. The second grade students used the Daisy the Dinosaur and Kodable iPad apps while the third graders used games on Tynker.com to learn and practice coding.

The fourth grade students used the “Write Your First Computer Program” tutorial designed by Code.org, which used Blockly (a block based programming language) and Angry Birds characters to teach coding concepts. They also played programming games on Tynker.com in addition to using Turtle Art and Hopscotch, programming applications on their MacBooks and iPads to write their own original programs to generate geometric patterns.

In the fifth grade students had the option of how to practice coding, either creating a holiday card using the Scratch programming language, playing programming games on Tynker.com or following the “Write Your First Computer Program” tutorial provided by Code.org.

Lastly, the sixth-grade students worked to build and program Lego Robots to sing and/or dance to holiday songs. In their classroom robots could be found moving and shaking to tunes such as “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” and “Jingle Bells.”

“The energy and enthusiasm around the various forms of coding was palpable throughout the school,” Echo Horizon Director of Technology and Director of Curriculum Elaine Wrenn said. “Students were fully engaged in planning, collaborating, troubleshooting, and creative problem solving.

This is just one of several hours that our students will spend programming throughout their years at Echo Horizon. This event was a wonderful way to focus attention on the importance of teaching programming in schools.”

Sarah Aleksich, saleksich@echohorizon.org , 310-838-2442.

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