In Mrs. Kelbaugh’s regular elementary classes, students are learning computer science concepts like computer hardware, binary numbers, and more. So, why not coding? Currently, all of her students participate in some form of programming during their time in the computer lab.
During the past school year, Mrs. Kelbaugh’s junior kindergarten students used a coding program called Kodable to help them with their mouse skills. Her kindergarten students completed a course in Tynker, where they solved coding puzzles, which established basic programming concepts like sequencing, conditions, and loops. The Historic Anaheim Campus’ 1st through 5th grade classes have participated in the “Hour of Code” during the past few years, allowing Mrs. Kelbaugh to gauge the coding capability and interest level of the students. After the hour program, Mrs. Kelbaugh notes that the most difficult part was getting students to leave the computer lab when the class was over! This motivated Mrs. Kelbaugh to establish a “coding club.”
“It is my belief that learning to program is somewhat like learning to write or learning a foreign language. Children should be able to start as soon as they show an interest. So we wanted to use a program that the younger students could handle.” – Mrs. Lainie Kelbaugh
During Coding Club, students in 2nd through 6th grade use a program called Scratch. Scratch was developed by MIT and uses a block based, or visual programming language. With this program, coding is accessible, so that interested Historic Anaheim students can get started on these mathematical and computational ideas much earlier. Anyone, children or adults, can gain an understanding of the fundamentals of programming by using a tool like Scratch. Many feel that beginning with a visual language can actually provide an easier learning transition to other more difficult types of programming languages!
“Most of my kids fall in love with Scratch and I am sure it is because it can be used in so many ways. Children can participate in storytelling, interactive quizzes, simulations, art, animation, and of course, games. The great thing is that they think they are just playing, but underneath, they are learning actual programming techniques.”
Scratch’s motto is “Imagine, Program, Share.” This program allows students to learn problem solving and critical thinking skills, as well as learn to become apart of the global community.