Computer Keyboard

Hingham Education Foundation funded a multi-year initiative called CODERED, which enabled the implementation of Computer Science in all Hingham Public Schools.  As part of this, during the 2017-2019 school years, HEF funded the professional development of teachers serving as innovation fellows.

 

The innovation fellows represent all of HPS: K-12 teachers, and specialists who received in-depth training with research partners such as the Tufts Center for Engineering Education Outreach and MIT App Developer. In turn, these innovation fellows continue to take their training and creativity to develop and integrate computer science and digital literacy lessons throughout the current dynamic K-12 HPS academic core curriculum.

 

To learn more visit hinghamschools.com/academic-programs/computer-science/.

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Holly Kelfer

Art teacher, Plymouth River School

Describe your experience as a computer science fellow. 

“‘I have always been interested in this field since grad school. Having this opportunity to be part of team has been exciting. I have really enjoyed learning new technologies and sharing what I know with my colleagues.”

 

How has the professional development enriched your teaching?

“The professional development has allowed me to take my lessons to a new level.  The result has been increased student interest and deepened thought. This initiative promotes the engineering process and collaboration (between kids and between teachers).  I have seen an increase in my students’ focus and on-task behavior. Two wonderful effects have been watching students teaching and supporting students and the resulting boost of self-esteem in art.”

What new skills or tools have you learned?

“So far, I have learned to use stop motion animation, Scratch, Scratch Jr, Beebots, Dash and Dot (with their accompanying Blockly and Go apps), Apps including Assembly, Tayasui sketches, pixton, canva, Tinkercad, OSMO masterpiece, and green screen.”

 

What does computer science integration “look like” in your classroom?

“‘There can be a lot of computer science opportunities in art. It promotes team building and collaboration.  These lessons are loud (in a good way!) with kids working all over the place. There’s a lot of movement in the classroom with students eager to share what they have created.”

Describe a favorite CS lesson that you have tried with your students.

“My favorite CS lesson so far has included our use of stop motion animation with color mixing. I’ve also really enjoyed using Dash to review geometry with my fifth grade students.”

 

How have students responded to the new computer science lessons?

“My students keep asking ‘Can we do this again next week?’  They ask me to write post-its with the name of the program or technology we used during the period, so they can tell their families about them and continue at home.  I have had students go home and send in movies that they’ve created at home. These lessons really build upon STEAM week at PRS.”

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Wendy Rapson

Teacher, Foster School

Describe your experience as a computer science fellow. 

“My experience has been especially exciting as I have been learning with the kids.  It is a shared experience as we explore technology together.  My students have really enjoyed taking part in partner work with our iPads.  Additionally, we have been exploring apps that tap into their creative sides.”

 

How has the professional development enriched your teaching?

“The professional development has definitely shown me a broader world of use for technology in my classroom. This technology can be integrated throughout the curriculum. The fellowship has introduced me to more creative materials through its collaborative relationships.”

What new skills or tools have you learned?

“I’ve had the opportunity to build upon my knowledge of technology.  Specifically, I’ve learned a lot about coding and how this can be accessible to my kindergarten students.”

What does computer science integration “look like” in your classroom?

“My kindergarten students enjoy using and manipulating Beebots.  They collaborate with each other to explore this technology.  Research has shown that students learn more in partner groups.”

Describe a favorite CS lesson that you have tried with your students.

“My favorite CS lesson has been our use of the green screen to augment our ‘get to know you’ book.  This shared experience enabled group cohesion among the class much sooner in the school year than in previous years. The technology definitely enhanced the experience for my students.”

 

How have students responded to the new computer science lessons?

“My students have responded very positively.  They love playing the math game they developed.  Computer science is not only “cool” but necessary.  Children really need these skills earlier in life, and it’s exciting to see their excitement.”

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Erin McGrath

Teacher, Foster School

Describe your experience as a computer science fellow.  

My experience as a computer science fellow has been a positive one.  I have really enjoyed participating in the professional development, collaborating with colleagues, and working with my students as we develop the CS curriculum. 

 

How has the professional development enriched your teaching?

I have learned how to use several apps in the professional development sessions.  The professional development has given me new tools to assess my students’ learning.  It has helped me think of new and creative ways to engage students.

 

What new skills or tools have you learned?

I have always had an interest in technology, but had never really had the opportunity to learn about coding.  I’ve learned a lot just by using the Scratch, Jr. app.  I’m learning right alongside my students, which is great because it shows my students that you can continue learning new things even as an adult.  

What does computer science integration “look like” in your classroom?

Computer Science looks fun and engaging in my first grade classroom!  Often people think that children using technology will be isolating and not allow them to socialize.  I have found the opposite to be true when integrating CS in my classroom.  My students work on our iPads in partners and have great conversations when planning their projects.  They help each other to troubleshoot when something isn’t working.  Students often seek out others that are more talented in this area who may be able to help them when they encounter an issue that they cannot solve.  I intervene to help when students are really stuck and unable to move on, but usually my students are able to work it out together.   

 

Describe a favorite CS lesson that you have tried with your students.

My favorite CS lesson is our “Journey on the Mayflower” Scratch, Jr. lesson.  I developed this lesson with Charlotte Bessoud (first grade teacher at Foster and a CS fellow).  In this lesson, the students code two scenes in Scratch, Jr.  The first scene is at the dock in England.  Students code a character to choose a tool from our social emotional learning Toolbox program.  They choose from the patience tool, breathing tool, quiet/safe place tool, and personal space tool.  After choosing a tool, they record their own voice giving a reason for choosing that tool. For example, they might say “I chose the patience tool because it is a long trip across the ocean.”  Finally, they code their character to get on the Mayflower ship.  In the next scene, they create a background using a map of the Mayflower journey from England to America.  They must then code their Mayflower ship to sail across the Atlantic Ocean to America with their character in it.  

 

How have students responded to the new computer science lessons?

My students this year and last year have responded very positively to the CS lessons.  They love being able to show what they have learned in ways that don’t involve just pencil and paper.  Using apps like Scratch, Jr., Stop Motion, and Book Creator to demonstrate knowledge allows students to be creative and be digital producers rather than just digital consumers. 

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Nancy Busey

Grade 1 Teacher, Plymouth River School

Describe your experience as a computer science fellow. 

“It has been a wonderful experience to be a CS Fellow.  I feel fortunate to be part of this group of fellows and exciting initiative for HPS. I have found the workshops to be very valuable in exposing me to the tools I will be using to integrate CS into the classroom.”

 

How has the professional development enriched your teaching?

“The PD (professional development) has enriched my teaching by helping me “think outside the box” in my approach to teaching any concept.  It has also opened up a new toolbox of resources that I can use to support students’ access to curriculum.  One other aspect of enrichment that I have found very valuable is the ability to collaborate with teachers of the same grade level at the other elementary schools.”

What new skills or tools have you learned?

“I have learned Scratch Jr, Stop Motion, Green Screen, Bee Bots and Dash, to name a few.”

 

What does computer science integration “look like” in your classroom?

“CS in my classroom looks fun! Students are engaged, excited and enthusiastic about any topic that involves a component of computer science.  I like to give students an activity to complete and then challenge them to modify the activity in a different way and share that information with their peers. I think inquiry-based learning engages the students in an activity immediately.

 

At PRS, we have been using the engineering design process over the past few years during STEAM week so most students were able to quickly apply some of the skills used during STEAM to computer science programs being introduced.  It’s amazing how quickly they adapted.”

Describe a favorite CS lesson that you have tried with your students.

“I have tried a couple CS lessons with my students, but my favorite was using stop motion animation to show the voyage the pilgrims took from England to the new world.  The students were fascinated with the stop motion and how it worked.  I also liked a lesson we did on seasonal change in Scratch Jr.”

 

How have students responded to the new computer science lessons?

“To say that the students have LOVED the new computer science lessons is a huge understatement!  The CS tools that we have introduced are highly motivating for all learners in the classroom.  

 

I am a believer in Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences.  As a teacher, I am always thinking about how to meet all of the learning styles and different types of intelligences in my classroom.  It is refreshing to see that some of my student’s unique ways of thinking and learning can be met and maximized by using some of these CS tools.  It has been wonderful to experience the excitement this initiative has brought to my classroom!”