Computational thinking in k-5

Proctor – noun
1. a person appointed to keep watch over students at examinations.
2. an official charged with various duties, especially with the maintenance of good order.

Such is the definition of “Proctor”.  Thanks, dictionary.com.I always referred to the process of hosting a session at a conference as an “introducer and thanker” or just “host”.

However, at the CSTA Conference, they’re known as “Proctors”.  Either way, every session had one.

Those of us on the conference committee were instructed that we had to be a proctor for at least one session and I was fortunate to get my first choice for this one.

“What does integrated computational thinking look like in K-5 by Cheri Bortleman”

I was curious about the content and approach.  I’ve seen so many presentations claim that they’re teaching “Computational Thinking” because they teach Scratch.

That may ultimately be the tool that’s used when you take computational thinking into the coding realm but is it the first step taken?  Is it the only approach to be taken?  Does computational thinking fit into all areas?

I was really pleased to see that Cheri addressed these concerns.

We started with this activity done in pairs.

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After a debriefing, a modification that ended up with nested loop, then remixing a new activity, and reinforcement with a video of what it looks like when NBA players do this sort of activity, everyone in the room was on the same page.  Not only did they have fun and see the insights of this unplugged activity, everyone was working from the same definition of computational thinking.

There were great visuals posted on the wall around the room and, at the end of the session, I encouraged everyone to get their smartphones out and take 21st Century notes.

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As you can see, things scale up nicely.

We were encouraged to dig even deeper here:

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One Reply to “Computational thinking in k-5”

  1. So amazing. Thanks for sharing the visuals. I had an odd experience this weekend. As you know, I often explain to people who understand coding that knitting is computational thinking. This past weekend, I had the opposite challenge as I tried to explain to a very talented knitting designer that as she was writing her pattern, she was following many of the basic blocks used in coding (particularly repeat sequences, as well as if …then ). It was a more challenging conversation because she didn’t have the computational vocabulary/background to see the connections. Interesting stuff, and this will be hugely helpful for a workshop I’m doing at OLA in February.

    Liked by 1 person

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