Sonoma County Office of Education

Technology for Learners

Hour of Code: Sonoma County Kindergarten Teacher Advances the Value of Coding

Author: Rick Phelan
Published: 12.10.13

Prestwood KindergartenersThe Hour of Code is an opportunity for every student to try computer science for one hour, anywhere across the globe. It aims to increase interest in computer science through tutorials, learning environments, and curriculum. Selected links from the Hour of Code website are offered below:

Hour of Code of Overview
Introduction to Hour of Code with Angry Birds

Why Coding is Important to Learn

  1. It encourages curiosity and reflection about how electronic devices work
  2. It can be a springboard for vocational awareness and inquiry (What are coding careers in my future?)
  3. It’s a great way to support some key mathematical practices from the Common Core State Standards—reasoning, attention to detail, and perseverance
  4. Self-expression and creativity skills can be extended through web page activities, robotics, and “maker” projects

Coding with Kindergartners
It doesn’t matter how old you are—anyone can learn to code. Kristi Draluck is a kindergarten teacher at Prestwood Elementary School in Sonoma Valley. This is Kristi’s second year of doing coding activities with her classes. When asked about the value of coding with kindergartners, Kristi said, “Kindergarten is really the perfect age to learn to code and introduce kids to technology. It is an age when students are in the process of developing their cognitive abilities. It is like learning a second language. Coding gets kids to think about solving a problem like a programmer.”

Kristi started coding with her students last year, using Daisy the Dinosaur and Light-Bot on iPads. This year, Kristi’s students are coding on iPads, Chromebooks, and desktop computers. Here are some of the additional coding applications that Kristi recommends:

Blockly Maze
Blockly Angry Birds

Kristi makes the following observations about coding with students:

Students can grasp concepts easily and quickly. There is no language barrier. They work independently and collaboratively. They learn by doing, by trial and error, by hands-on experiences. It ties into the Common Core State Standards ideology beautifully. They love completing a level and solving the problem or writing a program! There is great pride taken in their accomplishments. It develops self-esteem. Coding develops patience, perseverance, and commitment. And there are some students who are really good at it, like they’ve been doing it all their lives—and they aren’t always the kids you’d expect.

Blog: Technology for Learners