St. Mary's Students Become Coding Teachers for the Day
Earlier this month, St. Mary’s Catholic School students in Collingwood welcomed visitors including students and staff from other schools, Trustee Shawn Cooper and Superintendent Jane Dillon-Leitch to experience an afternoon of coding. The teachers took a backseat to their students who played instructor and led their very own professional development workshop.
The young students, under the enthusiastic and able direction of teachers Jan Dance and Tina Moneypenny, ran learning stations in the new learning commons at St. Mary’s. Special visitors to the school experienced the possibilities of coding. They tried hands-on activities such as Unplugged Coding (working from spoken directions to physically move around a grid), Capture the Kingdom (a game involving the Dot and Dash robots and playing cards), and Drawing with Code (using writing utensils attached to the robots to draw shapes). When the adults ran into problems, they were reassured by their young instructors – “Don’t get overwhelmed. Just take your time.”
Visitors enjoyed hands-on learning centers, a discussion of how coding is implemented throughout St. Mary’s, and then paid a visit to the after-school coding club. They met with the Coders in Black (C.I.B.), Grade 7/8 students in the coding club, who shared their experience with coding and answered questions.
So how did those young instructors engage the workshop participants so well? They taught with humour and charm, they used a wide variety of hands-on lessons, the learning was placed in the hands of those being taught, and they perfectly demonstrated that it’s possible for everyone to code.