A student at Benson Hill Elementary School shows principal Martha Flemming what’s she’s doing during ‘Hour of Code,’ a national program that teaches students basics of computer coding and programming.

Students learn programming basics during ‘Hour of Code’

Schools across RSD participated in a program that taught students computer coding and programming.

Last Tuesday, Courtney Stepp’s kindergarten class at Benson Hill Elementary School was busy learning not just their normal ABCs, but those of a new language as well — computer programming.

The kindergartners were paired with fifth-graders who helped them learn the basics of coding and programming through the “Hour of Code,” designed to introduce young students to the basics of writing computer programs.

Hour of Code, a program from Code.org, is an introduction to computer science. Students are able to learn the basics of computer science, as well as develop skills including logic, problem solving and creativity. All the elementary schools in the district as well as some middle schools hosted the program between Dec. 5 – 11 as part of Computer Science Education Week.

According to Ellen Dorr, the school district’s director for Digital Learning, last year fewer than 3,000 students participated in the program. This year, the number is anticipated to be higher and the Digital Learning team is already thinking about integrating more computer science courses into the curriculum.

“We’re trying to add in more ideas like computer science and getting students into computer science classes in high school… part of that is developing a plan for articulation. Some of that is through early exposure,” she said. “Hour of Code is one of those opportunities to get kids exposed to computational thinking and logic, problem solving and creativity.”

Currently Hazen High School offers AP Computer Science and other schools offer basic computer programming classes.

Integrating computer science and programming classes are easier for elementary schools, but it can be trickier for middle and high school students. For example, middle schools participating in the Hour of Code would have to find specific content areas, like math, to integrate the program into, compared to elementary schools that could fit it anywhere in their schedules.

Participating in programs like Hour of Code is a first step to gauge student and teacher interest for the district. After looking at the data for this year’s participating classes and students, Dorr said her team will be analyzing what the next step is to “support our students and enabling them for the 21st century living.”

The district has been keeping up with 21st century living this school year, as they were able to purchase Chromebooks for students thanks to the technology levy approved by voters in February. The levy has also enabled access to graphing calculators and online programs like myON, as well as additional wireless capacity across the district and updating teacher laptops.

One of the priorities for the Digital Learning department is to increase learning opportunities and providing those opportunities. To achieve this, the district teamed up with King County Library System to provide students with full access to online materials and services. They’re able to log into their special accounts and access databases, e-books, as well as 30 free sessions each month of online homework help services, all without a physical library card.

“With Digital Learning, the real potential is having a student-centered learning environment where all resources that are available are being used and students have an agency and ownership over their learning,” Dorr said. “Hour of Coding is a place where some of that can be introduced — the idea that students are not just consumers but producers and creators and collaborators.”




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Life

Auburn Symphony Orchestra announces 2020-21 season

Begins with Summer Series scheduled to start June 21

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

Auburn dance studio finds creative solutions to keep going during COVID-19

Pacific Ballroom Dance moves to online classes; group returned home early from national competition

Photo by Haley Ausbun
                                Boon Boona Coffee in downtown Renton is well-known for its large cafe space, but owner Efrem Fesaha has found a creative way to keep people to to-go orders only, putting a table right at the door. The order from the Governor hasn’t been easy for small businesses in Renton, and many are just taking it day to day and hoping for financial relief from local and regional leaders.
Renton communities reach out during shut-in

Local organizations, volunteers and businesses try to make the best of quarantine

Renton and AARP team up for seniors

New fitness park to funded and will open late in the summer

Schindler’s legacy bounces along at Baden

CEO of Baden Sports died unexpectedly in February

Renton March 2020 Youth of the Month
March Rotary Youth of the Month

Rotary members recognize three Renton School District high school students each month… Continue reading

Courtesy of HLN. A screenshot from a preview of an episode of a new true crime show that highlights the Ingrid Lyne case, where a Renton mother was murdered.
Infamous Renton crime to make TV debut

It’s been over two years since a man was found guilty for… Continue reading

Photos courtesy of Linda Smith
Celebrating Black Excellence

Local organization honors Black History Month

Alyx Chamberlain, Jennifer Keil and Mario Pilapil, courtesy of Rotary Club of Renton.
Teachers of the Month for February

As part of their commitment to education, and to celebrate teachers in… Continue reading

Photo by Haley Ausbun
                                During halftime, athletes and coaches have individual meetings, while parents watch a video prepared by Highlands Community Church for whatever biblical principle teams are learning about that week at the Upward sports league.
Sports that help kids grow

Local church league gives to neighborhood