A tech for travelers website just popped up that has great ideas for apps and tools that will be useful for your upcoming globetrotting. Check out this article on 16 Apps you need before your next flight!
For the Grade 3 “How We Express Ourselves’ unit, Jennifer Ribachonek, our Learning Specialist, and Randa Bakkar, a grade 3 teacher, coordinated to use Storybird; an internet-based community, dedicated to the art of writing.
Using the writing process, students in grade three planned and wrote traditional stories; applying the literary elements such as plot and theme. Students also created archetypal characters and some stories included a moral or a lesson. Storybird helped students to chose pre-created images to illustrate their fables, stories, legends, myths, and fairy tales.
Stories will be on display in front of the Marmara library. Please take a moment to read some of these imaginative tales and be sure to congratulate the authors on their amazing work!
As Early Years students prepare for the next grade level, we begin to look at strategies they will need to help them be successful in their new classes. One of those strategies is researching.
For the past few weeks, Mr. Smith, our Hisar Early Years 3/4 teacher, has been working with students to support them with their research questions. Understanding that asking specific questions is an important skill, students are asked to think about what they really want to learn. So last week, Mr. Smith asked Ms. Wachowiak, our Primary Technology Integration Specialist, to come in to discuss keywords and research questions.
Two students, Folke and Sebastian, were very curious about big cats. They wanted to know, ‘What are the differences between jaguars, cheetahs, and leopards?’ We used photosforclass.com to help up look at images to see if we could ‘spot’ any differences. After looking at several photos, we found that we had even more questions than we began with!
Afterwards, the students shared their thinking with the class using the iPad app Explain Everything which prompted many more questions and some interesting theories. Additionally, students have begun to incorporate their new found knowledge when engaging in play based learning activities. Big cats are no longer just animals, but rather a cheetah which is the fastest animal on the planet or that a jaguar that has very powerful legs. Please see the video below and hear our questions regarding these amazing animals.
We recently discovered an infographic regarding permissions and photos found on the Internet. We thought this was an informative graphic and very helpful. See for yourself above!
At IICS, we have been looking into avenues that allow students to personalize their learning experiences. As a result, MYP students have begun to participate in Exploratory groups where they delve into subjects that they are interested in learning about within a structured environment.
One such group is our student coders. These brave computer scientists are led by Phillip, a tenth grade student, and our Primary Technology Integration Specialist, Claire Wachowiak. These students have begun learning about Java as well as the reasoning behind coding with some unplugged lessons.
Although this time is set aside for MYP students, two fifth grade students, Hanako and Joey, have expressed an interest in coding and have begun to join this group to learn more about Java.
The other day however, Hanako, Joey, and Ms. Wachowiak decided it might be interesting to demonstrate Makey Makeys. So last Tuesday, Hanako and Joey took the lead to teach these eighth and tenth grade students a lesson in Makeys; Joey even used his own game he created in Scratch to show what these invention kits can do. Please check out the video below to see these grade five leaders in action.
It is wonderful to see students as young as 5 years old become completely engaged in creating simple step-by-step instructions using a program like Scratch Jr or witness an 11-year old solve a problem and move up a level after debugging a misstep within her instructions. But do these students know that this is computational thinking? Do they understand that with these programs they are decomposing, abstracting, searching for patterns, and creating algorithms?
Much like a person would use a recipe when baking a cake, a computer is programmed with a set of instructions to perform a task or multiple tasks. With coding unplugged (no technology devices within the lessons), students are beginning to see the logic and reasoning behind coding. They learn to use symbols to communicate and that these symbols must be clear and precise. Students also learn how to take a big problem and break it down into smaller problems to create basic computer programs.
With coding unplugged, students gain a deeper understanding of computer science while developing the skills of critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, creativity, and perseverance.
If you are interested in coding for children, the primary school is currently using Code.org resources. However, please feel free to explore more resources below:
After visiting a Coderdojo in Kadıköy, Claire Wachowiak, our Primary Tech Integration Specialist invested in some Makey Makey kits. She was inspired by the level of engagement and collaboration that she witnessed and thought it would be an interesting way to introduce students to some hands-on computer science at IICS.
A Makey Makey is a tool that helps students learn about the basics of computer science. By using a circuit board, alligator clips, and a USB cable, a Makey Makey uses a closed loop electrical signals to talk to the computer or website.
Three students, Phillip, Joey, and Hanako explored this tool last week. Please check out the video below to see these students in action; collaborating, learning, and creating.
When we asked second grade students what coding means to them, they came up with some very interesting responses:
- giving commands
- following step-by-step (directions)
- hard, frustrating
- being specific
- happy when you figure it out
- (following a) pattern
- figuring out the least amount of movements to solve a problem
Most students who participated this year’s Hour of Code would agree. Students describe coding as the language of computers. Essentially if you are using technology, code is involved.
However, coding isn’t just about learning a language, it is a skill that encourages collaboration and promotes problem solving, including critical thinking. It helps student to develop their logical thinking skills as well as nurture their creativity.
Please watch the video below to see IICS students coding. If you are interested in learning more about coding, please check this out for more resources.
At a recent LTEN conference, Claire Wachowiak and Brycen Davis, our Technology Integrationists, met Bager Akbay. Among other things, Akbay runs a Coder Dojo in Kadıköy. A Coder Dojo is a community-based programming club for young people. In these free clubs, kids learn how to code, create apps, and explore technology in a comfortable and open environment. How can we bring this to IICS? Ms. Wachowiak and Mr. Davis, along with tenth grade students, Philipp and Ayush, decided to take the ferry to the Asian side to find out.
Upon visiting this Coder Dojo, they found an environment of engaged students, many of them using the same tools that we have been using at IICS. Both students and volunteers learned together in a space that invited creativity and learning. As we watched the students collaborate to solve problems, a 3D printer produced student made designs. We witnessed another student using a ‘Makey’ to bring his code to life. It was an atmosphere that encouraged innovation and fun.
Over the next few months, IICS will be looking to bring this energized spirit around coding and computer programming to IICS. We want to thank Bager Akbay and his crew for their generosity in allowing us to visit this Coder Dojo.
Talk to your kids about coding! Below are some coding resources if you would like to explore this innovative world.