Whilst no grade in our elementary school has fully embraced the idea of passion projects, genius hour, itime etc there has certainly been an interest in the idea of putting aside time during the week for students to explore and develop their own interests outside of the curriculum.
Following a grade 2 visit to grade 7 to play and rate their games created using Scratch, a number of grade 2 students expressed an interest in learning how to create the games themselves. (My grade 4 class, who have spent 6 months developing their coding skills, also visited the grade 7s but with a focus on the coding aspect of the game. They came back inspired and ready to set about designing their own increasingly complex games.)
And so began a great collaboration, with grade 4 students acting as mentors for the grade 2s. They have initially been paired up for 1:1 coaching with a hope of moving towards just a couple of older students being available on rotation for questions and feedback during the daily grade 2 itime. The grade 2s left the first session very excited to have created their own Flappy Birds game. After reflection the grade 4s recognised that they needed to take a step back and created a set of guidelines:
- don’t take over
- let them explore
- help them read the instructions
- let them make mistakes
- answer their questions
- use words to guide them, don’t do it for them
- model coding yourself by working alongside each other on your own projects
We’ll see how it goes! We will rely on the code.org tutorials that worked so well for introducing coding to grade 4. However, we will have to see how it goes as they move through the more complex levels.
Any suggestions for resources for coding with grade 2 students gratefully received!