You Want To Get Started With Coding? Figure Out How To Walk To The Bathroom Or Sink!

Setting up a classroom this year is a bit like a puzzle. I cannot tell you the amount of time that Paula and I spent measuring out desks and tables, moving furniture around, and problem solving as part of the process. Just look to Twitter to find out that we are certainly not the only ones involved in this set-up process. Anyone who enjoys my parking tweets knows that spatial awareness skills are not my strong suit, and these skills were definitely tested this past week.

For everything we discussed, we probably spent the most amount of time conversing about the bathroom and the sink. We know that these two spaces will be,

  1. high traffic areas,
  2. used often,
  3. and require some waiting time.

This is why we have a huge opening by the doorway. It’s also why we ordered floor tape from Amazon (arriving tomorrow, as apparently Labour Day is not a holiday for Amazon πŸ™‚ ).

On Tuesday this week, among other things. Paula and I will be determining a flow of traffic around the room. We’ll be creating arrows, marking waiting spaces, and engaging in the use of some directional language with each other, so that we can use this same language — with ease — with our kids. The new Math Curriculum for Grades 1-8 has led to a lot of conversation, and the addition of coding has been part of this conversation. Coding is also evident in the Kindergarten Program Document as part of the Demonstrating Literacy And Mathematics Behaviours Frame.

In the past, Paula and I have spent some time talking about how we might support low-tech and high-tech coding through play. This year, the adventures to the bathroom and the sink will provide the greatest coding opportunities.

  1. What is the most efficient way?
  2. What directions must kids follow to get there?
  3. What directions must kids follow on their way back?
  4. How do we debug the program to get to the bathroom and/or sink when problems arise?

We see opportunities here for vocabulary development, problem solving, math learning, and real-world coding as part of our COVID-world kindergarten classroom. Now imagine if we extended beyond our classroom to the school at large.

  1. What directions will our class need to follow to get outside? To get to the gym? To get to our hooks?
  2. How will these directions vary from other classes?
  3. How might we debug problems when the directions don’t work?

I have to wonder how similar questions might be explored in different grades. How might this exposure to low-tech coding be later applied to high-tech coding? The Coronavirus made authentic block coding a part of our walking world, and made me realize that I need to be far more adept at determining left versus right … never mind some turns! πŸ™‚


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