A Look Inside Code Camp
Written by: Danielle Wood | Posted Jun 9, 2016

Guest post by Elizabeth Lybarger, Camp Instructor & Creswell Middle Prep Teacher.

A day-to-day breakdown of what went on inside one of our Scratch programming camps:

Day 1- We made a point to share and get comfortable with one another first thing. After going over Code of Conduct, we made acrostic name tags, discussed are commonalities and played some simple get to know you games. This was extended into our About Me creation. We also used our break as time to interact and have students interview one another. It is imperative, even when structure seems individualized through computing, to create positive environment for all.
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Day 2-We moved at a quick pace because I wanted to ensure we got through whole program. The students adjusted well. We did find that breaks and re-energizers were important for the brain. Luckily we had access to a gym where I brought balls for fun games. I took them on tour of our theatre during next break to get the creative juices flowing and as segue into build a band and scenes. It was great. Since we were fortunate to have smaller group, we used gallery walk to share out many times for individual projects, then students could go into journal and fill out reflections and positive feedback. This was also an opportunity for collaboration and debugging within their own developed pieces. It was so nice to see the kids using one another and feeling comfortable asking for help or probing about their ideas for certain aspects created.

Day 3- The students jumped right into the gaming build and we had them rotate to try one another’s game. There is always the projector to show as a whole group but it seemed more engaging to actually play the games and interact, allowing for idea sharing and changes to occur.

Day 4- We polished projects and I went into more advanced pieces for kiddos, even if I had to show examples online due to lack of tech or through my GoPro and own developed tools. I also shared apps that are safe among other website building materials to use as they grow in their coding. We had a dress rehearsal for our share-out so that students knew what to expect and created a comfort level with speaking in front of group. We established partners to help one another so that parents could see the kids working together, not just teacher to student.

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For those who don’t know, Scratch is a great introduction to computer programming. You can generate more than a dozen different programs in this drag and drop educational language. Students learned how to create their own blocks, debug faulty code and push their projects up to a shared space. This is one of several Scratch programming camps the NTC is hosting this summer. We are also offering camps in Python with Minecraft, Game Building in Unity, Building webpages with HTML/CSS/JavaScript, Raspberry Pi/Scratch Robotics, Animations and Games in Java, and Sphero. It’s not too late to join us! Camps run all the way through July 29th. See here for a full list of all We Build Tech Code Camp offerings, or contact Erin Whitaker for more information.
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