GCISD Hour of Code: Reflection from 7th Grade Math

Today's guest post comes from William Boykin, 7th grade teacher at Cross Timbers Middle School.  Follow him on Twitter @Cadre5GCISD

My seventh grade PAP Math students at Cross Timbers Middle School participated in the GCISD Hour of Code on May 13, 2014.  The day started with a discussion about the one million computer coding jobs that may be unfilled in the year 2020 because of the lack of coding classes offered by U.S. high schools.  Next, we watched a video with testimony by some of the most famous software developers such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.  They encouraged students to learn code, stressed the importance of computers in their future, and spoke about how they began their coding careers.  I also showed them a clip from President Obama celebrating the Hour of Code week and challenging the students to become involved.  Finally, the students used their iPads to navigate through the Code Monster web site.  Code Monster allows students to edit Java script code while manipulating geometric shapes.  It provided easy-to-follow directions, and allowed the students to advance at their own pace.  

 By the end of the class period, students gained valuable experience writing and editing code, and were exposed to a new skill that could lead to a hobby or career they had not considered before.  Many students displayed an attitude change over the course of an hour.  The idea of computer code can be very intimidating to adults and young students, but as they followed the instructions and applied their basic math knowledge to the program, their confidence grew along with the level of enjoyment and excitement throughout the room.  It was as if they realized they CAN do this if they put some work into it, and that it doesn’t take a genius to enter code.   

Overall the Hour of Code day at CTMS was very successful.  The students explored a new skill, and were given the opportunity to continue the coding journey at home.  As a teacher, it is exciting to introduce students to new ideas they may not have considered before.  You never know when you are going to change the future of a child, and maybe this was one of those days they will never forget.