An ongoing attempt to keep track of my Code Club volunteering, so that if I do it again, I’ll do it better.
Today’s session on the the next – and final – project from the first part of term 1, got off to a slightly slow start when I realised I’d forgotten to send the worksheets to the school for printing in time so turned up empty handed. It just meant I had to pad for a bit while Mrs Stone saved the day; so despite my best intentions, I did start off by walking them through the first steps of the project together.
It’s the ‘fireworks’ one which proved to be quite tricky when I ran it with the last group, so I was slightly apprehensive this time ’round. We got as far as making a rocket shoot up to wherever you click before the worksheets made it to the class, and we handed them out before I explained that everyone was going to be left to continue on their own. Cue all sorts of panic and confusion. The prospect of having to follow the worksheet without prompting was clearly a bit scary for some, so it took a bit of coaxing before everyone could work out where they were and how they could continue. Once they picked up the thread however, it was all systems go.
I spent the rest of the hour dashing round the room trying to give subtle hints about where certain code blocks could be found and pointing out how to use operators in place of explicit x & y coordinates (which was by far the biggest stumbling block for them), so I was pretty knackered by the end but the progress they all made was great.
No-one finished the entire project but the vast majority of the group got to about page 6 (of 8) so I took that as a big success. It is a bit of a step up from the previous 2 games so I knew that completing it all was a big ask and in my head, I’d allocated next week to finish it anyway, so I was semi-glad that it panned out that way. It’ll also give me time to sort the certificates out.
One thing to note is that the print outs we gave were in black and white, which proved to be a problem when it came to identifying the code blocks (in terms of where to find them). It’s obviously more pricey to go for full colour but it’s definitely worth doing.
Oh, and today I was overly pleased to see that a whole wall in the IT room is now dedicated to Code Club! Lots of photos of the kids at work on their projects, and quotes like “we use Scratch”, “we have fun”, and “we help each other”. It’s very cool. I’d post a photo if I had parental permission. I can at least share this photo of me which is on the board with the caption “we listen to Matt”. I’m honoured! (I’ve blurred the kids faces just in case – they do normally have features).