Saturday, May 17, 2014

Food for Thought: Being grateful for how lucky we are.

Dear all,

As we get near the end of the year, and tiredness sets in, I believe it is important to reflect upon the things that make our world at ISHCMC such a pleasant one. Often when we get tired we forget this and have thoughts that are unkind, destructive and ungrateful rather than kind, constructive and happy. As a community of learners we must always try to find the right path forward, welcome everyone for their strengths, work collaboratively to be the best we can be and recognize and appreciate the journey we are making as educators. I believe it is important to regularly put our lives in perspective and get beyond minor personal grievances and focus on how lucky we are and how we can sincerely share that fortune with others.

At the start of the year I shared a video on gratitude and quote with you. I think that it is an appropriate time to re visit gratitude and its importance, re-focus and energize ourselves positively  ahead of the last few busy weeks of the year.


"Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious Human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly of others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can."

Dalai Lama XIV

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Food for Thought: Coding in our literacy curriculums

Dear all,

Hope you have all had a relaxing few days holiday and that this will have re-energized you for the last 6 weeks of the year. As some of you already know I am keen to see coding as part of our literacy curriculum in the future and thought I would introduce Kenneth, a 4 and a half year old, to the concept to see if the idea is accessible for Early explorers. We purchased an app for $1.99, Light Bot, which involved moving a robot around a course, lighting up squares, changing directions and jumping up and down. He enjoyed it till it got to the point where he had to repeat loops of actions and programme these as different lines of programme that could be repeated to complete the course. So far this concept appears difficult for Kenneth. What was very interesting was his willingness to check his work before it was complete to see if he was doing it right and then correcting what he had done and building upon it. Unfortunately, he could not play completely independently because the app required someone who could read to explain the instructions.

Visiting classes and ASA's where coding is taking place it is obvious that it energizes and engages students and once you have looked through this food for thought you will see that it will empower them as well. This is what we want for our ISHCMC students, it is our vision for the future.

Where am I going with this?

In the last week of the year we are hoping to have an hour, first thing in the morning when we invite parents to join their children and spend time together learning to or actually coding. If 33 million others can do it, so can we!

Here is the 5 minute promotional video:

Here is a 2 minute video about how Computer Science is the "new literacy" for the 21st century:

And here is the site that you should all visit to get ahead of the students.

The site is easy to follow and has lots of links that you can start to follow and build your own knowledge and skills.

Late addition with comment:

Nick Kwan

@the Author of the article . . . as a long-time computer science teacher, my favourite lesson of all time (year after year) was introducing recursion to HS students . . . by reading aloud "The Cat in the Hat Came Back". Try reading Dr Seuss to G12 students and watch the magic happen as they move from being dumbfounded and amused, to understanding the connection with CS. Dr Seuss gives you a fabulous visual description of recursion which cannot be beat! To this day, I have old students write to me to say that whenever they see the word recursion, think about something recursive, or write a recursive solution/algorithm/function . . . they think of the Cat in the Hat. Wonderful stuff
Thank you Claire for this addition to the  post:

Here are some additional articles supporting the idea that coding is important for our students:

Here are a few sites that you could explore to increase your knowledge of coding    (For pre-schoolers)

Have a great last 6 weeks of the year,

See you on Monday,