Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Coding with College Students

*In my attempt to keep my students anonymous I used a lot of s/he, him/her, etc.  I know it's confusing but I need to keep this as private as possible.

A couple of weeks back there was an article in the newspaper about the (Half) Hour of Code club I do in my library.  I was super excited to have my school in the paper for something positive.  Having it be about something I was doing was in the library was an added bonus.

Because of that article an education professor from Stephen F. Austin State University emailed me asking if I'd be willing to demo my Code Club to her future teachers.

Ummm, YES!

I didn't really know what to expect during our time together. So as any good teacher does I wrote down some things I wanted to highlight about our club and planned to be flexible.

During this brainstorming I decided to ask 6 of my Code Club students to join us.  I wanted them there to help teach the college students and tell why they liked being in the club.



My students so far exceeded my expectations it's not even funny!  I had tears in my eyes and goosebumps on my arms. I saw so many awesome behaviors from them!  I texted my principal to come down and see the awesomeness and called my assistant principal too.

So let me back up a bit.  I'm getting ahead of myself.  Ha!

I picked the 6 students who had never missed a club meeting. I also chose a range of students from GT to those who have an IEP.  I wanted my students to experience being the one who knows the most in a situation and I wanted the college students to see a what a student with an IEP can do.

My initial plan was to highlight a few points about my Code Club and how I knew nothing about code when I started.  I wanted to show the college students code.org, have them create an account, have my students walk around and help and show the college students where they were at on their own courses.

My plan went as planned until I turned my students loose.

My IEP student immediately broke the college students into groups and picked the college students that s/he was going to work with based on the color of their shirts.  S/he worked with everyone wearing a purple shirt.  Ha!  S/he took control, showed them the website, helped the college students create an account then started walking them through the courses.

I was shocked!  S/he took control and became the teacher.  S/he did not hesitate.  S/he used her manners and his/her polite words.  S/he was a different student than I had ever seen.  S/he was in her/his element.

And it made me cry and gave me goosebumps.  Here's an IEP student that struggles.  Like really struggles. Learning is not easy for him/her.  And now this student was shining.  Shining brighter than any of the other students who we all expect to shine in any given situation.

And that's why I called/texted my principal and assistant principal.  I wanted them to see him/her in him/her element.  I wanted them to see him/her shine.  I wanted them to have a positive interaction with him/her.

S/he started a pretty hard course with degrees, pixels and left/right turns.  I worked with her through the first one. Then told her to go show the principal.  The next one was even harder and they worked it together (I was secretly happy I had suggested s/he show the principal! HA!).  It was awesome to see them working the course together and having a positive interaction.

After, my principal said he wished he recorded her/him to show her/his teachers what s/he can do.  I wish I had thought to record it too!

I've tried calling his/her parents twice.  I know they need to hear some positives about their child. Unfortunately I haven't been able to get a hold of them but I did leave a generic message saying how awesome this student did during the day and that I'd like to tell them all about it.  The student said her/his dad let her/him listen to my message last night.  If I don't get a hold of them soon I'll just leave the story on their voice mail but I really want to speak to them person to person.

This is my why!

1 comment:

  1. How wonderful to hear that your student shone. Just shows that students can and do exceed our expectations when given the chance.