Teaching programming to elementary age students has recently become a huge passion of mine. Since attending ISTE three years ago, I began to explore ways to integrate programming and robotics in to the curriculum. This year I wanted to move beyond the 'Hour of Code' activities and was lucky enough to find the Google CS First curriculum AND a willing teacher.
I ordered the materials and we eagerly awaited their arrival.
I was super impressed with the kit Google sent. It had individual 'passports', stickers to mark completion of that day's challenge and certificate of completion of the entire unit. The students were excited to get started!
At the start the activities were very challenging. Scratch was new to many of them so it took several sessions to get their confidence up. Once they understood the program they literally took off. I was very impressed with their determination and rarely did we hear, "I need help", "I can't do this", etc. Unlike other 'challenging' learning experiences, students really wanted to figure it out themselves, or with the help of their peers and we, as teachers, thankfully became bystanders, only stepping in when we really needed to.
That's really what I love about programming. I saw them collaborating, problem solving and demonstrating a 'I CAN' attitude. I saw them THINKING....