Wednesday, December 5th marked the annual Hour of Code, an international event in 180+ countries where students take an hour out of the school day to learn about the basics of computer science.
At INTL* we have been teaching computer science in our classrooms for over 20 years, and we began participating in the Hour of Code in 2013 – its inaugural year. INTL's Educational Technology Director Véronique Merckling explains, "That year, all students, from 1st to 8th grade were part of the event. It was a huge success. It also marked the beginning of our journey to establishing a sustainable computer science curriculum that would empower our students from Elementary to Middle School, to expand their knowledge and build new skills in an inquiry-based environment."
Since 2014, we have incorporated stand-alone computer science classes into the curriculum from 1st through 8th grades. As a result, we really have the Hour of Code every day at INTL!
Still, the day was the perfect excuse to celebrate CS together as a school, and this year is a special occasion because it marks the first elementary school computer science "graduating class" – students who have had CS at INTL all through 1st to 5th grades.
To mark the achievement, some of our 5th grade students wrote a short speech to present at the elementary assembly:
This week , all around the world, students are celebrating the Hour Of Code. We will take this as an opportunity to reflect on our coding classes at INT'L. This year in particular, we, students in 5th grade, have a good reason to celebrate.
Back in 2014, when we entered 1st grade, it was the first time Computer Science was a stand-alone class at INT'L Now that we are in 5th grade, we have made a lot of progress and have learned a lot sometimes, Computer Science takes you out of your comfort zone: you don’t know how to do something and you have to try to figure it out by yourself.
To succeed, you have to be determined and persevere: it can seem hard at the beginning, but it often gets easier if you try things. When you try to write a program, it often doesn’t work the way you want the first time. But if you learn from your mistakes, it will help you to make it better.
It is important to study Computer Science because we are in the Silicon Valley, and there are a lot of jobs around us where you need to know how to code. Coding is the language of the future and it can help us to invent new things, take action and solve problems. When you code, you can also be creative. For example, with Lego Wedo, you can build a robot and invent how to program it. You can also be creative when you program the Logo turtle: you have to create everything with the coding.
We are so proud of our 5th grade computer science students, who have shown so much growth in their understanding of coding over the last 5 years as they have pursued more and more complex projects. We can't wait to see what their future holds as they continue to deepen their understanding throughout middle school.
We are also very proud of our computer science program, and coding has truly become another language at INTL. Computer science helps students develop abstract problem-solving skills, logic, and creativity, and the hands-on project have kept our students engaged and inspired. Here's to many more years of this wonderful program!
*In 2020, the International School of the Peninsula (ISTP) formally changed its name to Silicon Valley International School (INTL) to better reflect its bilingual programs, location, and international values.