I've been asked by students and by other teachers, "Why robot coding? How on Earth is that related to English?"
My response is usually "How is coding NOT related to English and writing?" This year, I decided to let my kids answer that question. Here is what they said:
Corwin: "It is similar to writing a paragraph because you have to outline everything beforehand. As well as the fact that you have to make an intro and conclusion in a sense. Essentially it’s like writing a paragraph in a different language."
Alina: "I think programming a robot is like writing a paragraph because you need to use the correct codes just like how you need to use correct punctuation and spelling.You have to read and test it to make sure it works correctly.You can always fix it to make it work more fluidly or have better punctuation."
Bailey: "For coding a robot the first thing needed to do is to have a basic outline of what you want it to do, much like how in an essay there is an outline. After that the codes are put together like how the body paragraphs are. Finally, you can edit the coding like how you revise an essay."
Here's the winning video for Team Courage 2018.
The lesson plans were pretty straight forward and can be found here. If technical lesson plans aren't your thing, the process went pretty much like this:
This year was the second year to run this lesson. In addition to being better organized with the grading and releasing kids into groups, I was also able to ask for feedback from the students. They gave me some great ideas for next year including:
I'm an 8th grade English teacher in Bellevue, Nebraska, and I'm excited about technology in the classroom.