Coding Workshop at St. Mary's

Sharing Wonderful Ideas
Posted on 04/07/2017
C.I.B. (Coders in Black)

We’ve all been to those workshops – you know the ones – we try to take unobtrusive naps, write texts, check emails. Well, none of that occurred at a recent PD session at St. Mary’s School, in Collingwood. The teachers (groups of students at the school) would not have understood if their students (visiting teachers and Vice Principals, a Superintendent and a Trustee) were not fully engaged in the lesson. And engaged we were….

The young students, under the enthusiastic and able direction of teachers Jan Dance and Tina Moneypenny, ran learning stations in the new learning commons at St. Mary’s.  Special visitors to the school experienced the possibilities of Coding. They tried such hands-on activities as Unplugged Coding (working from spoken directions to physically move around a grid), Capture the Kingdom (a game involving  the Dot and Dash robots and playing cards), and Drawing with Code (using writing utensils attached to the robots to draw shapes).  When the adults ran into problems, they were reassured by their young instructors – “Don’t get overwhelmed. Just take your time.”

Visitors to the school enjoyed a discussion of how Coding is implemented throughout St. Mary’s, hands-on learning centers, and then a visit to the after-school Coding Club. They met with the Coders in Black (C.I.B.). They saw for themselves one way in which to fully engage students (of all ages) in Math.

So how did those young instructors engage the workshop participants so well? They taught with humour and charm, they used a wide variety of hands-on lessons, and the learning was placed in the hands of those being taught.  Once again, our children teach us so much.