Host an Hour of Code Event in Six Steps

Dr. Megan Nickels

Drs. Megan Nickels and Laurie O. Campbell are Assistant Professors of STEM Education in the College of Education and Human Performance at the University of Central Florida.

The push to expose today’s students to computer science activities has quickly become a global priority, with high visibility events, such as the Hour of Code (this year: December 3–9, 2018), reaching nearly 400 million students since its 2013 launch.

Dr. Laurie Campbell

In addition to the many responsibilities you face as a new teacher, you are now expected to facilitate a subject for which you may have had little experience. Very likely, you may wonder: How can I plan to successfully implement computer science activities in my classroom?

The easiest entry into teaching computer science is to host an Hour of Code event. The Hour of Code is an annual event held each December during Computer Science Education Week that invites students of all ages to learn the basics of computer science through highly engaging tutorials on an array of themes such as Angry Birds, Star Wars, and Disney’s Moana. During the one-hour event, your students will use computers, tablets, or other devices to complete the tutorials using Blockly, the drag-and-drop programming language (see Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Getting Started

Begin planning for your Hour of Code event by trying a tutorial yourself. Visit the Disney-sponsored Hour of Code to try a tutorial. Once you have the opportunity to try one or more tutorials, you can decide which tutorial will best motivate and engage students during your event. With your chosen tutorial in mind, follow these steps to ensure a successful Hour of Code event.

  1. Plan the learning configuration that will meet the needs of your students.

*Tip- Groups of 2–3 work well for young children in grades K–5. Older students are more successful with 1–1 technology.

  1. Decide what devices your students will use and make arrangements to have them available during your event.
  2. Schedule a specific time for your event and let students know that they are part of a global initiative to learn how to code their world.
  3. Garner excitement by introducing famous coders like supermodel, Karlie Kloss, or NBA basketball player Chris Bosh through Hour of Code videos.
  4. Finally, give the students an opportunity to discover drag-and-drop coding at your first Hour of Code event!
  5. Once the students have completed the tutorial, debrief with them about their experience and introduce them to more advanced coding tutorials at code.org or other websites such as Scratch and Code Avengers.

General Tips

  • Provide children with information or explanation about the programming blocks or procedures specific to the task. Use phrases such as You can expect … You will see …
  • Provide an advanced organizer for students who may have trouble remembering or sequencing programming blocks.
  • Provide strategy cues for the end of tutorial challenges.

Resource

Nickels, M. (2016, June 27). How do we prepare teachers to teach coding? Retrieved from http://gettingsmart.com/2016/06/prepare-teachers-teach-coding/

 

 

Workplace Bullying in Schools: Teachers Speak Out

Today’s blogger is Amy Orange, an Assistant Professor at University of Houston–Clear Lake, whose recently published article Workplace Bullying in Schools: Teachers’ Perceptions of Why They Were Mistreatedappears in the latest issue of The Educational Forum. In that article, she shares her research on teachers who have suffered mistreatment.

As educators, we are familiar with student bullying in schools and various ways to address the problem.

What isn’t publicly discussed as much is workplace bullying in schools. Yet workplace bullying in educational settings is more prevalent than in other environments (Fahie & Devine, 2014), with the exception of nursing (Berry, Gillespie, Fisher, & Gormley, 2016).

When I looked at the reasons why teachers felt bullied by their administrators, few patterns emerged that showed a single clear factor that led to teachers being targeted. Some felt it was because of their age and others felt that their own behaviors, such as being outspoken or questioning their principals, may have led to the mistreatment.

Others felt that their administrators were jealous of them, either personally or professionally. Some teachers perceived that it was simply about power and that their administrators needed to exert power over them for unknown reasons. Ultimately, most of them will never know why an administrator targeted them, but the perceptions they shared with me are their realities (see my piece in this issue of The Educational Forum).

Interestingly, when discussing my research with colleagues or at conferences, I’ve had some ask whether the teachers who felt bullied were “bad” teachers, as if that somehow excuses the administrators’ behaviors.

Others have asked how I know whether the teachers I spoke with were really bullied without talking to administrators too, as if the teachers’ perceptions of what happened to them were not valid without the administrators’ discussing their perspectives. If people feel bullied, it is real to them and they will react accordingly; it has consequences for their performance at work, their desire to stay in the profession, and their mental health.

Even if it is a misunderstanding or misperception, it should be dealt with so that both the teacher and administrator reach an agreement about how to positively work together and treat each other with professional courtesy.

Prior research found a connection between low autonomy and the likelihood of being bullied in the workplace (Baillien, De Cuyper, & De Witte, 2011; Bowling & Beere, 2006). Therefore, one potential approach to managing this crisis is to increase the amount of autonomy teachers have in the workplace; hopefully this could contribute to decreases in workplace bullying in schools. Another approach may be to change the culture of the workplace. Changing workplace cultures that condone bullying, rather than refusing to deal with the problem, is not easy; but everyone deserves to work in an environment that is not harmful.

There are no simple solutions to this problem. One of the major issues with addressing workplace bullying is that we can’t create policies to make people treat others decently—kindness can’t be legislated. But we need to hold adults in schools to the same standards we do students and create the expectation of treating people with respect.

KDP is proud to partner with Routledge to share an essay from the current issue of The Educational Forum with the education community. Access the article at Taylor and Francis Online, free through October 31, 2018.

But It’s Only a Theory! A Case for Great Science Teaching in Elementary School

Today’s blogger is Lauren Madden, an Associate Professor of Elementary and Early Childhood Education at The College of New Jersey, whose recently published article Teaching Science Is a Sacred Art” appears in the special issue of The Educational Forum on educator activism in politically polarized times. In that article, she argues for enhancing elementary science and offers tools to help teachers in this process.

So often, when the public or political sphere engages in debate about scientific ideas, “it’s only a theory!” becomes a popular refrain from those denying the existence of evolution, the pattern of climate change, or the efficacy of vaccines.

Once the term theory is mentioned, somehow an enormous body of visual, mathematical, and practical evidence gets equated to a guess as to which Kardashian sibling might be pregnant.

As a result, the public begins to question the expertise of actual scientific experts, and science becomes politicized.

Well, so what is a theory? In science, a theory “is an explanation of some aspect of the natural world that has been substantiated through repeated experiments or testing” (Ghose, 2013). Some theories that are not [yet] controversial include cell theory, or the idea that all living things are made of cells, and the theory of heliocentrism, the idea that the earth revolves around the sun. These are not simply guesses—they are critical ideas that explain the way in which our world works. Knowing what theories are, along with other aspects of the nature of science, is essential for unpacking political debates about science and necessary for building a scientifically literate citizenry. And this process must start with the youngest students at the elementary years.

Then where do we start? In a recent essay in a special issue of The Education Forum dedicated to educational activism, I outlined a broader argument for enhancing elementary science teaching and offered tools to aid teachers in this process (Madden, 2018). One such tool is Lederman’s (2014) guest editorial in Science and Children, which provides straightforward suggestions for elementary teachers to help their students better understand what science is (and isn’t).

Teachers do not need to be experts on everything, but they do need to know what makes science science and how to help students learn to be good consumers of scientific information.

For teachers looking for tools specific to science topics that have become controversial, KDP offers some excellent ideas. For example, the UNESCO guidelines for teaching about climate change can be found at KDP’s climate education resource center.

Teachers are sometimes seen as change agents, but at a simpler level than that, teachers are knowledge agents. Elementary teachers hold the key to helping future generations understand the scientific process and navigate a highly politicized world. And perhaps in the future, we can look forward to eye rolls at the misuse of terms like “theory.”

What strategies do you use to help students unpack politicized nonscientific information?

Leave your ideas in the comments, and let’s work together to build a scientifically knowledgeable populace.

KDP is proud to partner with Routledge to share an essay from the special issue of The Educational Forum with the education community. Access the article at Taylor and Francis Online, free through September 30, 2018.

 

References

Ghouse, T. (2013). “Just a theory”: 7 misused science words. Scientific American. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/just-a-theory-7-misused-science-words

Lederman, N. (2014). Nature of science and its fundamental importance to the vision of the Next Generation Science Standards. Science and Children, 52(1), 8–10. doi:10.2505/4/sc14_052_01_8

Madden, L. (2018) Teaching science is a sacred act. The Educational Forum, 82(3), 303–308, doi:10.1080/00131725.2018.1458360

Asking the Question: What Is the Purpose of Public Education in a Democracy?

Today’s blogger is Aaron Samuel Zimmerman, an Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education at Texas Tech University, whose recently published article Democratic Teacher Education: Preserving Public Education as a Public Good in an Era of Neoliberalismappears in the special issue of The Educational Forum on educator activism in politically polarized times. In that article, he argues that teacher educators play an essential role in preserving public education as a public good.

In your opinion, what is the purpose of public education?

  • To prepare students with the skills they need for the workforce?
  • To provide students with credentials that will facilitate their social mobility?
  • To cultivate the virtues that students need in order to participate as active citizens within a democracy?

Americans tend to hold multiple (and sometimes conflicting) priorities when it comes to public education (Labaree, 2011). We tend to believe that public schools can prepare students for democratic participation while simultaneously preparing students with the knowledge, skills, and credentials they need to advance in a capitalist economy. When we examine the current state of public schools in our country, however, we disturbingly find that schools tend to function almost exclusively as private businesses catering to consumers rather than as public institutions committed to preserving the public good (Ravitch, 2014).

I understand this to be just one more symptom of neoliberalism, the political and economic ideology that places a premium on privatization and self-interest. At this point, the influence of neoliberalism in our country is so prevalent that we are hardly even aware that it consistently shapes our values and decision-making (Giroux, 2008). One need look no farther than Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos—and, before her, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan—to see the way in which neoliberal values have crept into public education. Parents are treated as customers, schools are positioned as businesses producing a product, and students are taught how to become diligent workers (and faithful consumers) in a capitalist economy.

Sadly, teacher education tends to perpetuate neoliberal ideology. Most teacher education programs (both university-based programs as well as alternative routes to teacher certification) focus on helping teacher candidates learn how to raise student test scores (Kumashiro, 2010). Indeed, teacher quality is often measured by standardized test scores (Harris & Sass, 2011); but, unless teacher educators actively challenge this paradigm, early-career teachers will enter the profession assuming that high scores on standardized tests represent the ultimate goal of public education.

Of course, this is not to say that we should never measure student achievement or teacher quality through standardized tests. Public education in our nation, however, is in danger of being completely overtaken by this neoliberal logic. Teachers in public schools do more than help students achieve a credential; public school teachers also play a formative role in sustaining democracy by cultivating the virtuous dispositions required for democratic participation (dispositions such as open-mindedness, honesty, imagination, and generosity; see Huber-Warring & Warring, 2006). Our country’s democracy will suffer if teachers and teacher educators do not actively defend public education’s democratic purpose. We need to remind ourselves that public education can do so much more than provide students with degrees, grades, and GPAs. Public education has the potential—and, perhaps, the responsibility—to nurture democratic citizens.

Therefore, I would like to ask teachers and teacher educators the following questions:

  • What do you believe is the purpose of public education?
  • Do you actively pose this question to the aspiring teachers whom you mentor?
  • Do you pose this question to the members in the communities whom you serve?
  • What are ways that we can collectively invite teachers, students, and, indeed, all citizens to reimagine the role that public education can play in our democracy?

I titled this blog entry “Asking the Question” because, indeed, asking the question is half the battle. If we do not actively ask ourselves questions about the purpose of public education, other people will answer the questions for us . . . and those answers are likely to be justified only by a profit margin.

KDP is proud to partner with Routledge to share an essay from the special issue of The Educational Forum with the education community. Access the article at Taylor and Francis Online, free through August 31, 2018.

References
Giroux, H. A. (2008). Against the terror of neoliberalism: Politics beyond the age of greed. New York, NY: Paradigm.
Harris, D. N., & Sass, T. R. (2011). Teacher training, teacher quality and student achievement. Journal of Public Economics, 95(7–8), 798–812.
Huber-Warring, T., & Warring, D. F. (2006). Are you teaching for democracy? Developing dispositions, promoting democratic practice, and embracing social justice and diversity. Action in Teacher Education, 28(2), 38–52.
Kumashiro, K. K. (2010). Seeing the bigger picture: Troubling movements to end teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1–2), 56–65.
Labaree, D. F. (2011). Consuming the public school. Educational Theory, 61(4), 381–394.
Ravitch, D. (2014). Reign of error: The hoax of the privatization movement and the danger to America’s public schools. New York, NY: Vintage Books.

 

Proudly Announcing the 2017-2018 Award Winners

These awards honor individuals and chapters for their significant contributions to Kappa Delta Pi and the education world.

This year’s pool of winners include chapters with inventive and impactful programming, dedicated counselors and officers who are leaving an incredible legacy for their respective chapters, and chapters who serve their institutions well through their overall actions to support the education community both on and off campus. Thank you to all who applied for your thoughtful entries!

Winners will be recognized at Convo 2018 and throughout the KDP Chapter webpages, blogs, and chapter highlights.

Chapter Program Awards

The Program Awards recognize chapters for demonstrating excellence in one of six program areas: service, professional development, fundraising, membership, education for sustainability and communication.

Professional Development

Kean University — Professional Development Workshop: Strategies for Effective Lesson Planning with Practicing Educators
Lindenwood University —Teacher Tips
Mercyhurst University — Teaching and Learning Expo
Rowan University — Mindfulness in the Classroom
Seton Hall University — Praxis Prep!
Shepherd University — Literacy Leaders Conference
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte — Teacher Toolbox Tuesdays
University of Rhode Island — KDP Career Fair Spring 2018

Membership

Nova Southeastern University — Membership Initiation – Virtual Ceremony
Stevenson University — KDP Family
University of Nebraska at Kearney — DESIGNING THE FUTURE: Building & Growing Our Legacy

Community Service

Governors State University — Hashtag Lunchbag
Indiana Wesleyan University — Books: The Gift That Opens Minds
Middlesex County College— Hands of Hope Fall Harvest Festival
Rowan University — Annual Pajama Party
University of North Texas — Teach Denton Mentorship

Education for Sustainability

Seton Hall University — ELLs in the Mainstream: A Toolkit for Pre-Service Teachers
Governors State University — Education for Sustainability: A Political Action Event

Fundraising

Kean University – Yankee Candle Fundraiser
Liberty University — Concessions Nights
Stevenson University — 20th Anniversary Celebration Raffle Baskets
University of Rhode Island — URI School of Education T-Shirt Fundraiser

Communications

Purdue University Ft. Wayne — Communication Plan to Promote Rho Kappa Chapter
Shepherd University — Kappa Delta Pi – Delta Psi Facebook Page

Phoenix Award

The Phoenix Award recognizes those chapters that have taken significant action to improve their overall level of effectiveness in chapter management and programming.

Alpha Zeta Xi Chapter – Reinhardt University

Distinguished Chapter Officer Award

The Distinguished Chapter Officer Award honors current or immediate-past officers who set positive examples for their chapters by representing the ideals of Kappa Delta Pi.

Alexandra Schrunk, — Membership Chair, University of North Texas
Caitlyn Murphy — President, Kean University
Cassandra Marques-Leach — President, University of Rhode Island
Grace Kibe — President, University of Memphis
Hannah Gaston — President, Liberty University
Jessica Thompson — Treasurer, University of Central Florida
Miranda Rachel Spina — President, Camden County College
Paige Millirons — President, University of South Florida
Yasmeen Anis — President, Flagler College

Regional Chapter Counselor Award

The Chapter Counselors achieving this award are leaders who represent the mission and ideals of KDP and who have achieved excellence in the role of Counselor.

MidwestDr. Susan Beesley, Marian University, Indianapolis
NortheastLeana R. Malinowsky, Kean University
Southeast Dr. Sandra Trotman, Nova Southeastern University
WestDr. Jeanne Tunks & Dr. Ricardo Gonzalez-Carriedo, University of North Texas
Community College/OnlineMrs. Jennifer Souza, American Public University

Dr. Victoria Tusken Becomes KDP Executive Council President

(July 1, 2018, Indianapolis, IN) – Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) is proud to welcome the newly elected 2018–2020 Executive Council President. Dr. Victoria Tusken will lead the Executive Council in realizing the strategic goals of the Society and developing a vision for the organization’s next 3 to 5 years that allows it to be of maximum service to teachers and the teaching profession. The Executive Council will work in partnership with KDP Executive Director Faye Snodgress, as well as Snodgress’ successor.

“All of us, who have a role in education,” shared Tusken, “bear the responsibility to equip today’s students with the necessary skills to become participating citizens of an increasingly global 21st century. To that end, Kappa Delta Pi remains committed to supporting quality teacher preparation and programs, to retaining quality teachers in the classroom, and to advocating for equity and global sustainability for all.”

Effective now through June 2020, the KDP Executive Council includes the following leaders:

Victoria Tusken (DeKalb Community Unit School District #428), President

Elizabeth Elliott (Florida Gulf Coast University), President-Elect

Peggy Moch (Valdosta State University), Immediate Past-President

Rose Cardarelli (Eagle Development, LLC), Member

Peggy Marciniec (University of Wisconsin–Platteville), Member

Barbara B. Meyer (Illinois State University), Member

Shannon L. Rice (Jefferson Central School), Member

Suellen Reed (Indiana Department of Education, retired), Member

Christine Sleeter (California State University–Monterey Bay), Laureate Representative

David C. Berliner (Arizona State University), Advisory Member

Ali Jafari (CourseNetworking), Advisory Member

Tusken was first elected to the Executive Council in February 2014 to serve a 2-year term as the Professional Representative, a position that no longer exists on this leadership board. In February 2016, she was elected to the Executive Council to serve as the President-Elect for the 2018–2020 biennium.

To learn more about the leadership of Kappa Delta Pi, please visit our website at http://www.kdp.org/aboutkdp/index.php.

5 Perfect Summer Side Gigs for Teachers

Today’s blogger is Joyce Wilson, who has worked as a teacher for decades. She believes knowledge is the key to a more successful and fruitful life. 

When school lets out for the summer, teachers collectively exhale. For many, this two-month break means travel, getting back into hobbies, or catching up on favorite books, movies, or shows. But for others, that’s 10 weeks without a paycheck, which can be a bit nerve-wracking. As an educator, you have many skills and talents that you can put toward a side job to help supplement your income during those summer months.

Not sure where to start? If you want to earn extra income during the summer, this list might offer some perfect opportunities to work side gigs or even start your own business.

Sell Your Materials

As a teacher, you have amassed an enormous amount of materials, activities, and ideas that you can sell online to other educators. You could spend the summer getting your own business off the ground—building a website, recording a few videos, setting up e-commerce, and uploading your materials—so that this income can roll in year-round. A little time and effort now can generate passive income even when you resume teaching.

Give People a Lyft

An ideal summer job for teachers is one with flexible hours that they can wrap around any schedule they want. That’s what makes ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft great gigs; they let you set your own hours, use your own vehicle, and meet new people. If you want to work, you do; and if you feel like spending a few days enjoying your break, you don’t have to work. Many people can earn as much as $20 an hour driving for a rideshare, which requires minimal processing and training.

Work Online

From freelance writing to online tutoring, working online can be a great summer gig for educators, and there are lots of opportunities out there. ACT hires educators to be item writers who ensure that test questions reflect what is actually being taught in classrooms. The eNotes Educator program frequently hires educators as answer writers for their online homework help section. Some teachers report making nearly $40 per answer writing for eNotes. English teachers who enjoy the world of online learning can hop over to VIPKid and earn up to $20 an hour teaching English to second language learners. Similar to working for a ridesharing company, you can often set your own hours and workload by freelancing online.

Teach Other Teachers

Your experience and knowledge is worth sharing—and being paid for. Teach other educators how to use your innovative ideas by setting up courses on a platform like Udemy. Let’s say you have a curriculum that incorporates social media, or have a communication style that works with even the most distant of parents. You can create an online course and promote it on Udemy for other educators to learn from.

Caring for Others

Summer is a great time to earn extra cash as a babysitter, dog walker, or part-time caregiver. With kids out of school for the summer, many parents scramble to find accommodations, and who wouldn’t love an in-home summer nanny who is a certified teacher? On websites like Sittercity.com, you can apply for jobs that involve—you guessed it—caring for others, which is something teachers tend to excel at.

Be Wise About Managing Your Finances

Whichever gig you choose, be sure to start by creating a financial plan. When starting your own business, you need to spend your money wisely; one way to do that is to choose the right credit card. Many business credit cards offer cash back rewards, which could help you purchase more materials for your classroom, while others help you build credit, which would be very helpful for a new business. Having a business credit card can also help you establish and stick with a budget for keeping your venture up and running. Many websites for these cards have built-in budgeting tools, and seeing a breakdown of your expenses each month—although you should check them at least weekly—will help you see where your money is going and whether you’re investing it in the right areas.

Whether you need the extra income or just want to stay busy, summer is a great time for teachers to flex their entrepreneurial muscles. You can teach kids English online or walk dogs in your neighborhood. You can help make sure college prep test questions are up to snuff, or hop in your car and drive people around town. Your expertise as an educator can be your strength in a side gig.