A Letter from Guest Writer Maria Cohen, Technology Coordinator and Preschool 4s Teacher
Dear Harbor Families,
Happy December! Ahh, a new month means another Open Classrooms here at Harbor. Tomorrow, students and teachers alike are looking forward to showcasing our STEAM, technology, and maker-centered experiences that are regularly integrated into our classroom teaching and learning. This year, our Kindergarten through grade 3 students have 1:1 iPads in their classrooms, and with that access, are able to utilize apps like Dreambox, Kahoot!, and Raz-Plus to support their individualized learning, as well as to create original and often collaborative projects! Preschool and JK students are frequently exposed to technology resources we have at school including our large screens to project movement breaks and interactive read alouds, Osmo hands-on games to recognize letters and shapes, and even the Tinkercad software for 3D printing, to bring an idea related to a thematic unit to life.
We look forward to Computer Science Education Week next week. You may have already heard the news from your child(ren), because we are celebrating with an hour of code in classrooms! Over 100 million students worldwide have participated in Hour of Code - and we are eager to join in. The Hour of Code is a global computer science initiative that creates a fun and creative environment for students to be introduced to the concepts of computer programming. Coding also connects learning with other subjects like math, language arts, science, and social studies - similar to our interdisciplinary approach at our school.
Here at Harbor, we have several resources to appropriately introduce students to coding - some of which do not even involve technology! Students are working with various manipulatives and programs to learn to drag and drop, connect dials to make music, move a small robot from one place to another, and design short animations, just to name a few. Each class (or buddy classes together!) has allotted dedicated time next week to trial and explore coding based games, websites and applications that engage student driven interest to learn and understand coding.
Another component that we look forward to showcasing tomorrow is our maker-centered learning approach. Next Friday during our Professional Development afternoons, our faculty will devote our efforts to strengthening maker-centered learning in our classrooms while re-collaborating with the KID Museum. Since we last worked closely with KID before the pandemic, they have opened a beautiful new space right by the metro in downtown Bethesda. We are very excited to reignite our partnership with the KID Museum.
When we open our classrooms tomorrow, it will be an opportunity to experience hands-on, collaborative learning with your child, or to take a look and see what is happening in a classroom next door! You will see children activating their growth mindset, using the design cycle, and simply having fun. Please join us!
Preschool 4s Teacher