Bugg Report: Coding in English Language Arts during CSEdWeek

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This week we are immersing computer science across the elementary curriculum at Bugg Elementary in Raleigh, NC. Each day we will be teaching new and existing lesson ideas that engage students in their regular classroom content areas with a coding twist. Students will use CodeSnaps to explore their mastery of content in fun, engaging lesson ideas. We will culminate each day in a Bugg Report to capture the day's lessons and share some of our #HourOfCode / Computer Science Education Week adventures. So follow along!

Day 4: English Language Arts

We enjoy integrating coding into ELA way too much! We love relating the work that computer scientists do to animate our favorite major motion pictures to the first activity we had students complete - programming Sphero to retell familiar stories. Today, we utilized two group structures for this activity. In the first, we had teams of students write code for independent portions of the story. Next, we combined each group’s code and ran one giant program with all students watching. The other approach was to build the story’s program as a whole-class activity. We used Itsy Bitsy Spider (er, Itsy Bitsy Sphero in this case) for the whole-group story retell.

Students watch as their code controls Sphero to retell a familiar story.

 

 

ELA Grids

We also used grid-based activities, which are great for integrating ELA content into coding. Students used versions of the CodeSnaps Show with Code lesson, Finding Word Families. For younger students (e.g., K-2) we had them identify a path through the grid containing only words that rhyme with "cat". Older students (in today’s case, 4th graders) had to find a path through the grid containing only facts (not opinions) -- an active standard being addressed in their ELA classroom. In addition, the students have been studying rainforests, so we placed facts and opinion statements that related to rainforests. This approach to a coding activity creates a unique, engaging, collaborative opportunity for students to demonstrate their mastery of these ELA concepts.

Word family grid.

Fact vs. opinion rainforest grid.

The possibilities for integrating coding with English Language Arts seem endless. What other ways have you integrated coding into elementary ELA? For other ideas integrating coding across the curriculum, check out this post and our other Bugg Reports from CSEdWeek.

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About Author

Scott McQuiggan

Scott McQuiggan leads SAS® Curriculum Pathways®, an interdisciplinary team focused on the development of no-cost educational software in the core disciplines at SAS. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from North Carolina State University in 2009, where his research focused on affective reasoning in intelligent game-based learning environments. His research has been published in more than 30 journal articles and refereed conference proceedings, and been recognized through several best paper nominations including Best Student Paper Award at the International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction.

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