Beyond the Hour of Code: A new podcast celebrating STEM Education

Beyond the Hour of Code Podcast Episode 1

Welcome to Beyond the Hour of Code!

Hello and welcome to the first episode of a brand new Podcast called Beyond the Hour of Code. If you are an educator or parent looking for information about how to enhance your classroom lessons and activities through STEM education, coding, and robotics activities, this is the podcast for you.

First of all, thank you for clicking on the link and checking out this post. My name is Sam Patterson and together, we will take a journey through the simplistically complex world of coding and programming and learn how to help your kids learn these vital 21st-Century skills.

Why teach Coding and Programming?

Mitch Resnick, the researcher who developed Scratch, describes programming as a medium of learning and comprehension building. When students are asked to program fish to swim in a coral reef they are going to ask how a starfish swims. They will wonder if a whale belongs in the reef. They will ask the other student in their table group what color they should make the seahorse. Students will get the books off the shelf and look up the images and stories the class has shared in order to make an accurate model. Programming this challenge instead of making a poster allows the students to move past the simple question of “what is it” to more advanced questions like “What does it do?” and “How does it relate to the rest of the environment.”

Programming is a vehicle that allows teachers to help students develop a more complete understanding of any subject. At it's most integrated, programming becomes just another way we have students process information. In the youngest grades, programming slows them down enough to enforce procedural thinking.

Why create a podcast to support coding and programming in the classroom?

For the last 5 years, I have had the opportunity to work with students in grades K-5 as a STEM teacher. I have learned over these years how important it is to give students a structured, content-rich, exploratory space for them to learn. With several years of classroom activities and hundreds of lesson plans saved up, I recently released my first book “Programming in the Primary Grades: Beyond the Hour of Code.” which was written to help you learn how to create the same activities that I provide to my students.  

Programming in the Primary Grades: Beyond the Hour of Code will explain all of the platforms available and help teachers develop their own sequence of activities and skills that move students from leveled apps into content area lessons in open studio apps. By the end of this book, teachers should have a good understanding of several basic types of programming-based content area lessons and their own list of ready-to-roll lessons to support learning.

The multi-grade focus of the text is designed to help teachers see how programming skills build year over year. It can also help teachers develop an understanding for how programming skills are applied to content area learning and how that changes from one year of instruction to the next.

Just like math, reading, and writing, once teachers see how this knowledge and practice builds over years, they can release themselves of the responsibility of teaching “all” of programming.

We use robots to layer social learning goals on top of prior learning goals.

Let's take this journey together

There are literally hundreds of thousands of podcasts on iTunes, but there is only one podcast that will help you learn how to bring challenging and exciting coding and programming lessons to the students that you work with each and every day. Please take a moment and click on the Subscribe button on the right side of this blog post and join me each week for Beyond the Hour of Code, the podcast.

About the author, Sam

Sam is Makerspace coordinator at Echo Horizon School, the nicest little school on Los Angeles' West Side. In the classroom since '02 Sam has taught grades PreK-12. Every lesson is a writing lesson.