Right now in OLPC we are working on our geography lessons that we post online for people to use. Each of us got assigned a continent to research. With our research we will create a Scratch lesson to teach the students about or assigned continent! With our research we are to find different things about countries in our continents like culture, dress, food, landmarks, etc. So far my favorite part is coming up with fun lessons to ensure that the students are enjoying how they learn!
In class recently we have been working on Scratch to make interactive online geography lessons. We have been figuring out Scratch through trial and error, and it is really fun! I find myself always learning new ways to do things and its really fun that we are able to help educate people about the world. My favorite thing is the programming in Scratch, and it is really great to know you are helping someone.
This semester in One Laptop Per Child we are working on projects to create educational programs through Scratch. My class is making lessons about parts of speech, and it is a big test of our skills. We have to work with things that are much more complex than anything that we have done before, and we are being challenged a lot. We have had a lot of trial and error as we attempt to make simplistic games to teach young children about English.This challenge has really thrown my confidence in coding for a loop, but I feel that I am slowly gaining it back as I figure out more about how to make my program look how I planned.
The first semester flew by, and I am excited to see what this one brings!
Recently in One Laptop per Child we have just started creating our own Scratch lessons on the different parts of speech. For mine, to teach students more about the use of adjectives, I created a game on Scratch where they are asked to choose which word best describes different characters. In order to do this, I had to set up a score box that would keep track of the user’s progress, which meant figuring out what code to use for adding/deducting points. I also created a part of the lesson where the user would have to identify which word in a given sentence was the adjective. For this aspect I was able to reuse the code I’d already set up in the previous exercise, where the addition/deduction of points was linked to whether a specific word (the correct answer) was submitted, or if any other answer was given. Other girls in our class are working on similar projects for nouns and verbs, so we will cover the three most basic parts of speech.
This semester flew by so quickly, I simply cannot believe that were already writing a semester overview! We started out the year learning how to wipe hard drives and learn how to program the computers to have Ubuntu on them so the people receiving them will have access to programs similar to Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, and during this process we learned how to switch hard drives of computers. After this project we moved on to reviewing Scratch a website used to code most of us learned last year, except this year we had to learn how to teach it! Once we reviewed our skills it was time to teach the fourth graders of CSG! At some points it was frustrating for me because when they would ask me questions about how to get their sprite, or character to do certain tasks I had the proclivity to just do it for them. I would have to remind myself that me doing for them wouldn’t teach them anything, this pushed me to use my words to try and help them get to their goal without doing it for them. Seeing what these kids came up with was a really fulfilling moment because it seemed as though all our hard work of trying to explain coding in the simplest definitions we could think of paid off and I hope the fourth graders enjoyed it as much as I did! I can’t believe how much this class has accomplished in such a short amount of time, it’s truly been an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to see what we do next semester.
Last time we had OLPC, we taught fourth graders a little more about Scratch and let them explore different ways to use it. We also gave the girls a project to complete. We told them that they had to make a story using Scratch, and they made some super creative and cool stories. I saw one about dogs, one about music, and even one about flying hippos. I thought seeing what the girls did after we taught them was super rewarding. It felt like all of our teaching really paid off! I am so happy that I got to teach those girls. Teaching them helped me learn a lot. I learned a lot about how to help younger kids, and how sometimes changing the way you explain things can really benefit a student. I think that this experience will really prepare me for what I will be teaching in Barbados, and I had a lot of fun!
Check out the photos page for pictures of our teaching.
Please check out all the photos that we just uploaded! They illustrate our teaching experiences in November when we taught the CSG 4th graders some Scratch skills.
This week in One Laptop Per Child, we finalized our teaching plans for the 4th graders. Our class taught them how to use Scratch, an online program that teaches students to code. On Wednesday, we split into two groups, one group taught an early class, while the other group taught another class later in the day. We played games with the fourth graders to help them understand how coding works, by using coloring and walking games where they had to use instructions to complete the tasks. Once they were ready, we helped them log into their Scratch accounts, and began playing with the program. We showed them how to move their sprites, make their sprites draw shapes, and say Hello! Teaching the fourth graders was lots of fun, and I can’t wait to teach them again next week!
This week through teaching the fourth graders, I have learned more about teaching others, and explaining things in a way so that everyone can understand. Teaching a group of children who have never used Scratch before, can prove surprisingly difficult. It is necessary to explain tasks in a way understandable by everyone, a visual can help to show what you’re talking about. This is great practice for teaching the students in Barbados, and also helps us become more accustom to Scratch!
This week in One Laptop Per child we have taken a break from our usual installing software and are learning about Scratch. Scratch is an online or downloadable coding platform that simplifies coding for beginners. As we have been learning a lot about how to use Scratch we have also been planning a lesson to teach Scratch and other coding basics to the fourth graders here at CSG. This is a great opportunity for the fourth graders to learn more about how to code as it is extremely useful knowledge that can be applied to many different fields. This is also an incredible chance for us Upper School students to both learn how to teach and communicate with the younger girls it also teaches us about Scratch and how to use it through the process of teaching.
Currently in One Laptop Per Child, we have been preparing to teach 4th grade students at Columbus School for Girls about the world of computer coding through an online programming website called Scratch. Scratch offers simplified overview of computer programming, and was developed and catered toward kids to give them exposure to coding (Example of Scratch project below). Over the past few weeks, we have begun to brainstorm and plan the lessons that we will teach the elementary school students. Before we begin teaching them how to use the program, we plan to play a couple of games and ask a few questions to get the students thinking. In one game, we are planning to have the students instruct us on how to walk in a square, however they will notice that they have to be very specific in their wording to get us to complete the task, just as they will when they are working on the computers. While we plan on teaching some aspects of the actual program, we are also planning on allowing them learn through exploration and discovery on their own, keeping them interested, and giving them a sense of independence.
Over the course of the class so far, it has been such an incredibly rewarding experience. I am excited to share Scratch with the Lower Schoolers, in hopes that it will pique their interest to join a technology class in Upper School. The impact that we have already made, and will make on the lives of others is more than I ever thought possible when I first joined this course. Making technology more accessible one computer time has had so much more impact than I initially realized, in that even just one computer can change the life of a child. Additionally, I have learned so much about myself through this experience, and that I tend to close myself off and confine myself to my community, and forget about what a big world we live in. I have learned that I need to take more time to make differences in others’ lives, because even the smallest acts of kindness, no matter how large the impact, are making the world a better place one step at a time.