Across Ontario, there are educators finding exciting and innovative ways of bringing coding and computational thinking concepts to students. In this article, we share the #12BlocksOfCodemas activities challenge created by Ryan Smith of Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB).
Ryan was inspired to create these challenges as a way to engage students in simple and fun, introductory coding tasks and so he created an opportunity for students of the TLDSB to complete coding challenges, and then submit their code via an online form to be eligible for a prize. The TLDSB has received over 600 submissions during the competition, which is in its second year running.
Each day, Ryan will post the activities on Twitter. The activities are geared towards the K-8 grades and students and teachers can select which activity they’d like to focus on each day. Activities are usually open-ended in nature and/or focusing on coding with a purpose.
Ryan is posting three different activities on each of the twelve days - one for each coding environment that is typically used in the TLDSB- Scratch, Makecode for micro:bit and ScratchJr. Students can submit their code using the url for the Scratch and makecode applications or a screenshot of their programs created with ScratchJr.
Ryan has generously shared these activities for use by educators and their students. Check out the #12BlocksOfCodemas TLDSB activities, which we will update as each activity becomes available. You are welcome to take them as is, or adjust based on student and teacher interests and readiness!
The TLDSB has been actively engaged in other coding initiatives. One project involves using Minecraft Education Edition, historical archived data, and interviews with residents to build a digital version of the city of Gravenhurst as it was in the 1920s. This is an extensive project that also involves 3D printing and the local museum.
Thank you to Ryan and the TLDSB for sharing these activities. Let us know how you use and/or remix them!
Link to the #12BlocksOfCodemas (updated daily in December 2018)
Ryan Smith (@ryan_psmith) has been a Technology Services Consultant with the TLDSB for just over 3 years. In this role, he has the privilege of working with teachers and students to integrate technology and coding into their classrooms. He codes in many different platforms and environments. His personal coding project is learning about how to use a Sparkfun Redboard with Arduino IoT applications in fun ways. He was a teacher of science and math at Huntsville High School before he started working at the board level. When he is not at work, Ryan loves mountain biking with his wife and two kids on the trails in and around Muskoka and playing hockey.