“How am I supposed to teach using coding in my math classroom when my students have never had access to coding?”
“What about me, the teacher, I am not familiar with coding either, how can I become more confident to use coding as a platform in my classroom that will allow students to better experience math?”
“Where in the world do I start?”
I started using Scratch in my classroom to help teach math two years ago. Using coding, primarily Scratch, to create rich tasks connected to the math content allowed students freedom in “creating” and “making” their way through math. The level of mastery of math standards they were able to demonstrate by the end of the year, using Scratch, completely blew me away. They begged for more and more coding experiences that would ultimately help enhance the math we were already learning in the classroom. However, getting to this point, took some learning and teaching of a new platform. During the first few weeks of school when there is a lot of time spent on procedures, getting to know each other, etc., this is the best time to begin teaching coding. By being strategic at the start of the school year, you will set up a classroom environment for kids where every child can be successful, no matter what prior experience they have had with coding.
Using Hyperdocs to Take the Pressure Off of You
I use a hyperdoc to teach my students Scratch, from a math lense, at the start of the school year. A hyperdoc is a digital document that contains hyperlinks to all resources the students may need to access during a lesson. This is a format that takes the teacher away from the front of the classroom and allows students agency over their own learning. Hyperdocs can be formatted in many different ways, but I have found creating a table in google documents where students have a column they can keep track of their progress has worked best for me. This format was presented to me by an amazing colleague who teaches in the Makerspace at our school.
The left-most column tracks the number of steps, the next column allows students to keep track of what steps they have completed, and the final column is where the teacher pre-creates links, activities, documents, that students may need to access during the lesson.
Why the Hyperdoc Format is Simply Amazing:
It frees you up as the teacher by taking you away from the front of the classroom.
It allows the teacher to help students one-on-one or in small groups, more face to face time is always a positive.
It is a format that allows for easy differentiation. Any document can be pre-formatted to fit the needs of each student without other students knowing they have different docs.
It allows activities to be paced at a speed that is appropriate for each student.
It is a visual tracker that can help students see the steps they have completed and what steps they have left to complete.
It is a great tool for progress monitoring by the teacher, when walking around or pulling up the students document on their own computer, they can see whether the student might need an extension or additional support.
Introduction to Scratch Hyperdoc
I created this Hyperdoc knowing that I wanted my students to create with Scratch during the school year. This, for many of my students will be their first experience with Scratch. This, for my experienced Scratch users will be their first experience using Scratch with a math academic goal in mind. This hyperdoc is structured with four challenges:
Introduction to the Platform
Events, Motion, and Pen
Sensing and Data
In each of the four challenges students are given a video introduction, an activity to practice the new skills, and then a place to demonstrate their work.
My colleague suggested, having students take “Screen Snips” of their work and pasting it in a row allows them to keep a mini portfolio of their work, while giving the teacher a chance to analyze their progress.
What if Students Finish Early?
Some experienced students may fly through the hyperdoc, so be prepared. Here is an extension opportunity for students who may finish early.
There are many different activities teachers use at the start of the school year to learn more about their students and to allow students to learn more about each other. Consider using the All About Me Project. Have students create a Scratch Project that through a sequence of animations and pictures the rest of the class learns a little bit more about that student. Here is my All About Me Project: