I am a 5th grade ELA teacher at a Title I school (90%+ free/reduced lunch, 98% minority) in the inner city of Tampa, FL. This year's 4th & 5th graders scored 20% proficiency in reading last year. In this challenging environment, education isn't a high priority - existence is. In conversations with them, some don’t believe education is a means to a positive future, others don’t aspire to be more than they currently are. Most tend don't work up to their capability. The truth, however, is that they are intelligent and resourceful individuals who've overcome obstacles I would've shuddered to face as a student. The ability for academic success exists within them, we need to help them find it.
The goal of this project is to inspire these students to discard their "academic apathy" and forge ahead to a future filled with promise and purpose.
Help me give my students experience in the logic of coding with the Edison Robots. Coupled with the code.org courses, this two-pronged technology program equips students with vital thinking and reasoning skills, which are applicable in reading and math as well. Code.org uses a block-style coding structure embedded in computer games (Angry Birds will be the first one). The students alter code by connecting the appropriate blocks in the appropriate sequence to get the bird to capture the pig (Angry Birds). The complexity increases with each level in the distance the bird must travel, the varying course options and the obstacles the bird must overcome. There is an efficiency factor as well, where students need to complete the program in a limited amount of lines of code. They are even awarded a higher score for using fewer lines of code. As they progress through the 18 Lesson course, I'll allow work on the robots that correspond with the lessons. In the two years I've used it in my previous school, the students who embraced it were successful. There are limitations to Code.org, however.
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