The new Kodable updates are a definite WIN! This week the first graders were introduced to the program. WOW! Were they excited!! Kodable is extremely engaging (it’s the one app kids don’t want to close when it’s time to leave). More than that, though, it is an excellent tool for learning computational thinking.
Using the great lessons offered by Kodable, we began with a vocabulary discussion:
Next, we practiced following commands written as symbols.
After a couple of practices where I pointed to the symbol code as students performed it, I challenged them to follow a string of symbols on their own. They worked at their own pace with eyes glued to the whiteboard. They were EXTREMELY focused and it was really cute to watch.
After that, we went into Kodable and worked through the first puzzle together and then they were off! I loved watching them work through each level, talking it out, helping each other.
When class was over, NO ONE wanted to close Kodable. Thankfully, Kodable now has the ability to link school and home accounts. Click here for instructions.
Thank you, Kodable, for an engaging way to learn computational thinking and the basics of programming!
I’m not sure why but I hadn’t pulled out the Ozobots for the fourth graders this year so when they arrived at the lab and discovered Ozobots set out, they could hardly sit still to get instructions!
Needless to say, I presented the instructions in record time! Their job – add color codes and paths to the outline of the Cat in the Hat’s hat. iPads were set out so students could video their Ozobots. A few did that and then air dropped video to me so that I could add to what I took. Here’s a glimpse at what happened.
4th, Seuss & Ozobots from Trinity Valley School on Vimeo.
I would hear groans from students who couldn’t get their Ozobot to follow the code they thought they’d drawn. Then, I’d hear from someone else who announced that their code worked and they were more than happy to share tips on how to better draw effective codes.
Lesson learned for me – I need to do MUCH more of the exploration time for the students. Yes, there are times when I need to do direct instruction but watching the fourth graders interact reminded me how important it is to allow time for uninterrupted learning to occur.
A couple of weeks ago, I purchased 8 Ozobots. Ozobots are small robots that can be “programmed” by using a series of color combinations (OzoCodes) drawn by markers on white paper. These were introduced to a 4th grade class that just happened to have some skilled Ozobot users!
After watching a couple of the students, I decided to ask their teacher if they could share their knowledge with a first grade class who happened to also have some college student observers from TCU.
We got permission and I presented the plan to two students who were absolutely thrilled to be asked! They suggested two others so we ended up with a fabulous group of four! I was a bit concerned that they would be somewhat intimidated by the college students. Didn’t even cross their minds – one boy told me, “No problem! I can teach the college kids.”
The fourth graders arrived before class started. They had spent their weekend drawing Ozobot paths to share with the younger ones!
The first graders were in awe of the older students! One little girl stated, “I just love these 4th graders coming to teach us Ozobots.”
What leaders these older students are! Our four young teachers were amazing! They all walked around providing tips and offering any guidance needed to make sure the little ones (and the college students) were successful at drawing codes for the Ozobots.
At one point, one of the fourth graders pulled me aside to share, “Uh, Mrs. Arrington, that little boy is getting marker on the table. What can I use to clean it up?”
And, as the older students left, I was asked, “Can we come back next week and teach?” We will definitely have to make that happen!
What is an Ozobot? A tiny robot that can be programmed by drawing “OzoCodes” using colored markers. Various color combinations cause the Ozobot to perform different functions.
To celebrate Seuss Week, the first and second graders were given a couple of hat shapes that were missing parts of lines. The children drew codes in these line breaks to program the Ozobots.
The third graders drew their own hats. (Or, at least these were supposed to look like hats!)
For the younger students, it was easier to concentrate on drawing the color codes rather than create a hat and draw code.
Even with the older students, there was some frustration that the Ozobots didn’t do what they were supposed to. We talked a lot about how everything had to be “just right” – lines not too thin or too thick. A code has to have all the colors about the same size. If you color too hard with the blue marker, the Ozobot thinks the color is black. I told the students that the Ozobot is like Goldilocks who had to have everything “just right” at the Three Bears’ house.
Lots of practice and problem-solving occurs with this activity! It’s loud but, my goodness, it is loads of fun!
Here are the templates I created:
Ozobot Dr. Seuss hats