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Topic: Introduction to Programming

For our class, Hong 2011 Fall, we tried to introduce programming using the laminated programming blocks. Then, we cut out pictures of the programming blocks and introduced challenges for the students, where they had to use the blocks to program on the paper.

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  1. We found them to be a great way to visualize how to program. However, since we are in an ESL class, many of the kids had trouble differentiating between "direction" and "power" and understanding that we were trying to simulate a computer program.

    With kids who are at a more advanced level of English, it could be a useful tool to break programming down into the useful parts before using the laptops, so that kids don't get overwhelmed. However, for our students, "programming" on paper proved to be difficult, too.

    For next week, we will continue with the paper programming, and then start to use laptops. Hopefully, using the laptops will encourage kids to listen and seek to understand what is going on in the course. At this point, we can't tell if the kids are choosing not to listen or truly don't understand.

    If programming on computers proves difficult for the students, we have a few options. We can program as a class, using the smart board and a class car.

    Alternatively, we may switch to non-programming activities all together. 

  2. We continued basic programming skills for this week. 

    We projected one of the CEEO laptops onto the Smartboard. That visual was very helpful in teaching the kids what they need to change and control when programming. 

    As can be expected in any classroom, some kids understood immediately and could write the challenges/programs easily. Others needed help. Luckily, the kids were very keen on helping each other, and by the end, everyone was able to complete at least 2 or 3 challenges.

    For next week, we'd like to start with a challenge that will change an important variable, like power. We are thinking about doing snail car.