Thursday, December 17, 2015

Sharing is Caring


Our fourth grade classes enjoyed sharing their research and learning from one another about Native Americans. Students brought history to life as they recreated the landscapes, homes and tools of various tribes. 

As students visited one another's classrooms they took careful notes about the tribes their peers researched. It was so wonderful to see how they learned about the history, geography and traditions of Native Americans from different regions in the United States


It was also a special treat to have a class from Futabakai Japanese School spend the day at Dryden. Our student ambassadors did a great job welcoming them, showing them around our school and participating in some special cooperative activities together. It's exciting to see the children learn about one another's cultures and build friendships. 


It was so uplifting to experience the generosity of the Dryden community during the donation drive to benefit the local organization Northwest Compass this week. Northwest Compass supports those who are vulnerable or in crisis. We are so thankful to all who donated. 


Another way our students shared in the community was by caroling at a local grocery store after school with our music teacher, Mr. Deptula. During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it was so nice to see the customers slow down and smile as they strolled past our jolly carolers. 


December can be a frigid month, but listening to young children sing always warms our hearts. First grade sang about holidays around the world, helping us experience the beauty and wonder of many special cultures and traditions. It's amazing how music connects us all. 

May this season of sharing and caring bring peace and joy to all!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Coding Craze Continues!

This week, Dryden Technology Facilitator, Mrs. Breaux, is our guest blogger. She has a wealth of coding apps and activities that she wanted to share with you:

In honor of the #HourOfCode, students were treated to lessons in coding during the month of December.  Lessons were carefully crafted to move students through several skill sets used in coding.  It’s important to note that many of the skills used in coding apply to learning in general.  For example, problem solving, perseverance, critical thinking.

The first lessons involved Kinesthetic exercises, referred to as “unplugged”lessons, followed by an iPad App lesson, and ending with a experience.  Students were captivated by the “unplugged” lessons, thrilled with the iPad lessons and enthralled by the options. In other words, students enjoyed the coding experience.

You can view pictures and videos of the student coding experience on twitter by following @DrydenTech or on the Dryden School Facebook page.

Links to apps and video used in lessons, as well as additional resources, are included below.  Many of the apps, as well as are free.  Students may be interested in continuing the  coding experience at home.

For Grades K - 2
Coding Unplugged Grid/Arrows on floor from
Kodable App on iPads Course 1 lesson 4, Maze Sequence using ARROWS. iPad or Computer.

For Grades 3 - 5
Lightbot Hour of Code App on iPads
CargoBot App on iPads

Addtional Resources
Google: Made w/ Code and Other Projects (block code) offer a variety of challenges that can be accomplished in short time frames.  Access from a browser on Computer or iPad. Easy to do at home or in classroom centers.  StarWars and Minecraft projects for the hour of code  New 2015!! Code with Anna & Elsa of Frozen (block code) an hour of code instruction with progressively more challenging coding steps. Angry Birds (block code) more hour of code fun with the popular angry birds series. Play Lab (block code) in addition to moving blocks and selecting variables, this set of exercises offers fill in the "words" to increase the skill level.
All these options from CODE.ORG can be accessed from a browser on Computer or iPad.  Easy to do at home or in classroom centers.  No login required.

Khan Academy Hour of Code: Drawing pictures with code and/or Drawing pictures with Blocks  both featuring snowmen!  Also try Khan hour of code from 2013 projects.

Scratch Hour of Code 2014 : see additional projects here
The folks at MIT developed Scratch and Scratch Jr in an effort to get younger students engaged in coding.  Scratch can be a little more challenging, but students quickly adapt and love it.  

A game that allows kids to learn the basics of programming, Cargo-bot is the first game programmed entirely on iPad using Codea. A puzzle game where users teach a robot how to move and reassemble crates into color patterns, this app provides  high-quality retina graphic, and recordable solutions users can share on YouTube.  YouTube also has great "cheats" as some of these puzzles are quite a challenge.

Light-bot App (coding concepts for younger students)
Similar to Cargo-bot, but a little easier, this coding app is a programming puzzle game: a puzzle game that uses game mechanics that are firmly rooted in programming concepts. Light-bot lets players gain a practical understanding of basic control-flow concepts like procedures, loops, and conditionals, just by guiding a robot with commands to light up tiles and solve levels. Light-bot features 40 levels and 20 challenge stars to collect.

Daisy the Dinosaur App (younger students create with block code)
Learn the basics of computer programming in this coding app that has an easy drag-and-drop interface that students of all ages can use to animate Daisy to dance across the screen. Students will intuitively grasp the basics of objects, sequencing, loops and events by solving this app’s challenges. After playing Daisy, kids can choose to download a kit to program their own computer game.

Hopscotch App (blockly code for older students)
Hopscotch requires a login.  It teaches students to code using simple, intuitive building blocks. Students can create games, animations and other programs, as well as tell stories in this colorful, interactive environment. Students can program characters to move and use commands like shaking, tilting, or even shouting at the iPad to control them. Hopscotch was inspired by MIT’s Scratch.

Kodable App
Kodable is a game offering a kid-friendly introduction to programming concepts and problem solving. For kids ages 5 and up, and tools for adults as well.  This app is ideal for grades K through 2 aged students.

Happy Coding,
Beth Breaux

Dryden Technology Facilitator

Friday, December 4, 2015

It's More Than Just Coding

The Dryden LMC has taken coding by storm this month! Our school pledged on that all of our students would do an hour of code this month, but in reality we are doing so much more.  
This week, students were introduced to how coding works without using computers. They worked with partners to create and follow programs using grids, arrows, pictures and cups.

As we delve deeper into coding this month students will be using a variety of computer activities from to strengthen students' coding skills.

Students in the primary grades are enjoying the Kodable app on the iPads.

Throughout these experiences, students are learning far more than just coding. They are learning from iterations--making mistakes and correcting them as they work on solving increasingly complex problems. They are learning about the importance of precision and accuracy. They are learning the language of coding, and how coding is like learning and using a foreign language. They are learning to effectively communicate and collaborate with one another. They are discovering patterns and developing their creativity as they formulate new codes.