Note: This year I am blogging weekly reflections at my school site (weskids.com) in order to provide more transparency in my teaching for parents, students, and the community (local and global). I will be cross-posting most of the entries here at Bit By Bit as well. You can see the original posts at the “Reflections by Mr. S” blog.
Over the past couple of weeks, Kindergarten classes have been using iPads in the Computer Lab. We first learned how to share them with a partner and how to operate them safely by playing a simple math game. Once routines were established, we moved on to learning how to PROGRAM.
Using an incredible, free iPad App—Daisy the Dinosaur—students learned the basics of programming. It is amazing to watch such young students approach problem solving without fear or hesitation, as well as witness what incredible readers they’ve become over the year (students had no trouble reading the commands to give Daisy, such as: jump, move, spin, turn, roll, etc). I showed the “bare essentials” of how to use the App, and then let students have a go. I gave them 2 challenges as well: see if they could program Daisy to go under the sun as well as have Daisy touch the sun. In order for students to do this, they had to figure out how to program numerous commands to get Daisy to cross the long field, and to give Daisy numerous “grow” commands until she was high enough to touch the sun. Some students figured out that they could also make Daisy “jump” to touch the sun!
This week, we also learned how to set up “loops” to repeat commands, as well as “if, then” commands. An example of an “if, then” command would be: “If I shake the iPad, Daisy will SPIN.”
Things to do at home with your scholar:
- Download Daisy the Dinosaur if you have an iPad!
- Ask your student what his/her favorite part of programming with Daisy was.
- Ask your student to describe how he/she solved the challenges.