How I Use It
I used CS First with 4th graders but modified it so it fit our schedule and purposes. We did one "activity" over the course of 2-3 weeks so there was more time for reflection and sharing. We incorporated gallery walks and peer reviews as well which worked well. After two activities we had the students create a project that had to do with their Language Arts curriculum (they had written Haikus and we asked them to create a program to present the Haiku). The creativity students were allowed and the students' desire to do things they had not yet learned was very motivating and many students spent time at lunch and at home tinkering until they got the result they wanted. There was also significant collaboration as students would figure something out and help others. After the Haiku project students were eager to return and learn more through the videos.
I think this is a phenomenal resource for teaching. Integrating the material into curricular material worked well for us this past year. The combination of learning through the CSFirst activities and the creativity encouraged when applying the lessons made the project successful and effective. The lessons themselves also allow for significant creativity within given parameters. The design of many of the lessons allows students who finish more quickly the opportunity to learn additional skills while other students can take the time to learn how to accomplish the core task at hand.
A few students had some difficulty grasping the content from the videos and had increasing difficulty as the demands of the program increased. My goal is to support those students more effectively in the future.