Archive for the ‘Professional Blog’ Category



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  • Travelling anywhere from Nova Scotia in the middle of winter is a challenge, particularly when travelling so far away.  Time was of the essence and in addition to our departure being delayed by a day, we had to take a day off without pay in order to attend the full conference.
  • The huge nose dive that the Canadian dollar took in relation to the American dollar between submitting my application and incurring costs, also wreaked havoc on my pocket book.
  • Although I left for the conference prepared and confident to present, I quickly realized that although my session was innovative and progressive in Nova Scotia, it was not nearly as progressive or innovative on an international scene.
  • The conference in San Diego allowed me the opportunity to network with other educators who are further along in their integration of technology and have already overcome obstacles and faced the challenges that impede my instruction and create roadblocks in student learning.
  • Having the opportunity to work along side and learn with other educators who are doing what I’m doing, allowed me to look at my own practice with a different lens.
  • Having the opportunity to present to my own colleagues at the HRSB Innovation in Teaching Day forced me to consolidate my learning and put it into a format that could be easily shared and used by others.  I think this is so important!  Without that requirement, it would have been so easy to limit the benefits to the walls of my classroom.
  • Having quick access to APPS that were recommended to me during sessions was really helpful — best practices on how teachers can access free or recommended apps within HRSB would be really helpful.



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Lesson Overview

This lesson plan provides a general outline and tips to teach the Hour of Code.


Lesson Summary

DURATION: 45-60 mins

Getting Started: (2-5 mins)

Activity: (20-40 mins)

Wrap-up: (5-10 mins)

Assessment/Extended Learning: (2-5 mins)



This lesson plan is intended for use with learners of any age who are interested in computer science.

Learning Objectives

By participating in this lesson, participants will:

  • [Insert learning objectives based on chosen tutorial.]


Facilitation Guide



Materials, Resources and Preparation



Getting Started (2-5 mins)

Introduce the activity (2-5 minutes)

Kick off your Hour of Code by inspiring students and discussing how computer science impacts every part of our lives.


Show one of our inspirational videos to frame the discussion:

○     For K-8 students, we recommend The Hour of Code is Here.”

○     For older students, we recommend Anybody Can Learn.”


It’s okay if both you and your students are brand new to computer science. Here are some ideas to introduce your Hour of Code activity:


  • Explain ways technology impacts our lives, with examples both boys and girls will care about (Talk about saving lives, helping people, connecting people, etc.).

○     3D printing is being used to create limbs for amputees; microchips to find lost pets; Skyping relatives who are far away to keep in touch.

  • Explain that learning computer science is more than learning to code in a computer language, it’s about learning how computers and software are changing everything in our world.

○     Digital animation in movies like Inside Out, Shaun the Sheep, Star Wars or Hunger Games; recording music with GarageBand on your computer, mobile banking.

  • Let students know that it’s important to learn more about how technology works regardless of what career they want to go into.

○     Farming (using data for watering and fertilizing), fashion (programmable LED dresses at NYFW 2015), medicine (using robots for surgery)

  • As a class, list things that use code in everyday life, or a list of careers the require knowledge of coding or computers.
  • See tips for getting girls interested in computer science here.


Direct students to the activity (1 minute)

  • Write the tutorial link(s) you’ve chosen on a whiteboard. Find the link listed on the information for your selected tutorial under the number of participants.
  • Tell students to visit the URL and start the tutorial.
  • Tip: For younger students, load the tutorial page ahead of time or save it as a bookmark.

Activity (20-40 mins)

Facilitate and support students to complete the tutorial, alone or in groups


When your students come across difficulties

It’s okay to respond:

  • “I don’t know. Let’s figure this out together.”
  • “Technology doesn’t always work out the way we want.”
  • “Learning to program is like learning a new language; you won’t be fluent right away.”


What to do if a student finishes early?

  • Students can see all tutorials and try another Hour of Code activity at
  • Or, ask students who finish early to help classmates who are having trouble with the activity.
  • Debrief the activity.
  • Celebrate and pass out certificates and stickers.
  • Share photos and videos of your Hour of Code event on social media. Use #HourOfCode and @codeorg so we can highlight your success, too!
  • Do a gallery walk so students can see each other’s work.
  • Do a “Think-Pair-Share” to allow students to reflect individually, discuss with a partner and share out as a group.
  • Let participants know they can continue to learn at

Wrap-Up (5-10 mins)

Debrief & Close

Other ideas

Assessment/Extended Learning (2-5 mins)


Time permitting, challenge your students to reflect on the day’s activities and continue their learning. Consider:



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“The most powerful single modification that enhances achievement is feedback.  The simplest prescription for improving education must be dollops of feedback.” Hattie, 1992

3 questions students should be asking themselves about their learning–

Where am I going?

  1. Students need a clear statement of learning target.
  2. Students need to see exemplars of what they are being asked to do.

Where am I now?

How can I close the gap?

Nov 17

Hour of Code



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I recommend you check out this tutorial and activity with your students in preparation for participation in the Hour of Code in December.  This is my second year participating in the Hour of Code and I’m getting a little braver now that we have had our technology refreshed.  Today I introduced the concept of computer programming with these videos:

We also had our first coding tutorial in Minecraft.  My students loved this Minecraft Coding activity and were advancing quickly through the levels! I have only tried this on computers; still need to investigate the functionality of it on an iPad but I’m thinking perhaps it would work if we accessed it through Puffin…