Lasting Partnerships with Codelicious
Erin Naylor, the K - 12 STEM Support Specialist for MSD Pike Township, is in the business of making connections. She connects students in her district to engaging, relevant, and fun STEM curriculum. At the same time, she connects educators with professional development sessions and cross-curricular integration opportunities.
“It’s an evolving role,” Ms. Naylor describes. 3 years ago, she needed a partner who would evolve with her district’s need to connect students and STEM. Ms. Naylor found that partner in Codelicious.
“It's been a couple years that we have done Codelicious,” Ms. Naylor says. “When we first offered it, we were looking for some diversity in our programming.” Pike Township started by implementing Codelicious’s Programming 101: Introduction to Computational Thinking with Scratch course as a baseline coding class for their students.
To introduce educators to the curriculum, Codelicious offers a one-day professional development either in-person or online. Ms. Naylor mentioned that the 1:1 training time with the educators is indispensable; there is time to tackle a sample lesson and answer in-depth questions. After the PD, educators felt prepared to teach the course in the classroom.
Technical support continues into the instructional period. “It's a very natural flow between when we start and when we go live with students,” Ms. Naylor says. “There is someone on call at all times.”
The simple layout of Codelicious lesson plans is a big advantage for educators in MSD Pike Township. The printable copies, pictures, and step-by-step directions allow any educator to teach the curriculum with confidence. Ms. Naylor recalled that all types of classroom teachers have taught the Codelicous Curriculum, including ELL, social studies, and long-term substitute teachers.
During a session of Introduction to Computational Thinking with Scratch, the educator needed to leave due to sickness. “I was thinking ‘Oh my goodness, what are we going to do today?’,” Ms. Naylor laughs. Lesson planning for substitutes is usually time-consuming and stressful; the straightforward layout of Codelicious lessons completely mitigates this issue. The substitute educator at Pike was ready to teach in minutes. “Codelicious was on the phone with us and email, and the afternoon went perfectly,” Ms. Naylor says of the rest of the day.
A Lasting Partnership
Since adding Programming 101: Introduction to Computational Thinking with Scratch, Pike Township increased their Codelicious course offerings to include Graphic Design 108: Introduction to Video Game Development. This expansion provides an alternative way to excite student interest in computer science. “We just thought it was so relevant to what kids are doing right now,” says Ms. Naylor. “Instead of playing the game, why not create the game?”
Ms. Naylor immediately saw the cross-curricular benefits of both Codelicious courses at Pike. Problem solving, critical thinking, and data analysis will help students in their core classes, like math, English, and social studies. Even better, these competencies build confidence in the classroom and beyond, especially as these students prepare for high school.
All of these benefits lead Ms. Naylor to continue a long-term partnership with Codelicious. “We keep coming back because of the integration piece, because of the problem solving, critical thinking, all of those things wrapped up in a nice package that we can deliver to our students,” Ms. Naylor says.