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OCSD elementary students enjoy coding

Coding and programming have become both challenging and fun for Oswego City School District elementary school students.
While the schools recently celebrated Computer Science Education Week and the Hour of Code, which is an educational activity for students to try coding, student interest and teacher support has expanded to include both daily opportunities for coding/programming lessons and the establishment of a club.
At Charles E. Riley Elementary School, all students learned basic coding skills during library time with their teachers and library media specialist Molly Clark. During a visit from Stacy Dawson’s third-grade class, students followed an Hour of Code lesson where they used coding blocks to create a virtual dance party. The third-graders followed directions for each of the nine steps to figure out how to change characters, switch placement and dance moves and alter the background.
“Coding is all about trial and error; you’re in charge,” Clark said.
The children giggled as they created a moose that flossed, duck that dabbed and cat that did a body roll, among several other combinations. Third-grader Karlee Fountain said the easiest step was changing the background and the most challenging piece was putting coding blocks into their correct places.
Over at Kingsford Park Elementary School, fifth-graders in Kelly Moxley’s classroom were proud to show off their coding achievements, using CS First by Google. The free coding curriculum walked students through various steps of how to tell a story by using Scratch, a visual programming language. Once the entire challenge was completed, students also learned more about dialogue, setting, premise, characterization, interactive stories, personal narrative and imagination.
“The most fun part is we get to work together to figure out what to do,” said student Noah Whalen.
Classmate Johnathan Budd said Moxley “encourages and pushes us to do it at home, in case we’re interested in computer science when we’re older.”
Moxley said the higher-level thinking and problem-solving skills that goes along with coding and programming can be used in other academic areas. It has also taught confidence, as her students share their miniature projects with their classmates.
Because the interest in coding has grown so much as KPS, Moxley was recently granted permission to form a KPS Coding Club. Aside from the fun, the club will come with added benefits of improving skills necessary with reading, writing and math.

Jaelyn Taber, Riley Elementary third-grader flashes a smile after she was able to figure out
several steps to a recent computer coding challenge.

Kingsford Park Elementary School fifth-graders Johnathan Budd and Noah Whalen show off the
progress they made during a coding activity in teacher Kelly Moxley’s classroom.

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