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Creative Coding and Differentiation | BrainPOP Educators

Students of all readiness levels and experiences can enjoy and make the most of BrainPOP’s Creative Coding projects. Following are strategies and tips for all types of learners.  

Learners with Disabilities
Learners Ready for a Challenge
English Language Learners

Learners with Disabilities

The following information for para-educators is adapted from the College of Education at the University of Illinois

Some students with disabilities may get frustrated and shut down when learning content that requires abstract thinking, such as computer programming or coding. This happens for various reasons, including not having sufficient prior knowledge, not developing problem-solving strategies, and requiring more guidance and scaffolding when there are multiple approaches to solving a problem. Some students also prefer to work independently, finding it challenging to work with peers.

Following are tips and strategies for to ensure that students have a successful experience with the Creative Coding projects

  • Preview the project and any associated support materials before instruction begins
  • Be aware of the key ideas / outcomes of the project. What should students know or be able to do after completing a Creative Coding project?
  • Play with the Creative Coding projects so you understand how they work.
  • Encourage students to talk with peers, but recognize that some will need you to model this behavior. 
  • As students become efficient in collaborating with peers, provide less support and encourage independence.
  • Recognize that learning sometimes happens through productive struggle. It’s ok for students to struggle a little as they work their way through the Creative Coding projects. Intervening too quickly may limit their ability to think through the problem.
  • While a little struggle is effective, too much may result in a student giving up. If the struggle becomes too much, have the student take a break and do something else for a little while.
  • Use the “least to most prompting” strategy. Begin with the least amount of support the student requires and move towards more as needed.

Learners Ready for a Challenge

Some students may be ready to move beyond the basic Creative Coding projects. Following are “challenge up” ideas for each project.  

Meme

  • Add multiple text styles
  • Customize multiple graphics

Newscast

  • Add another headline
  • Create a graphic out of shapes
  • Have your graphic fade in

 

English Language Learners

To make the most of Creative Coding for ELLs, it’s important students understand the related vocabulary and concepts. Pre-teach the vocabulary featured in Creative Coding Key Vocabulary, or scroll down to see chart below.

Word Maps, or Frayer Models, are an effective way to teach the new terms since some have multiple meanings. Students should learn the multiple meanings and uses of the words argument, code, operator, property, and string. Use the Word Map Graphic Organizer to encourage students to further explore the meaning of key terms and concepts.

Following are activities students can participate in related to learning the vocabulary.

Group Definitions

Place chart paper around the room with one new vocabulary word per page. Assign one word to each small group of students. Using sticky notes, have students write their own definitions, meanings (use one sticky note per meaning if word has multiple meanings), examples, uses, or draw pictures. Have students in each group discuss their notes, consolidate them if there are duplicates, and then place them on the chart paper. Have a gallery walk, as students explain their word to the class.

Code Talk

Before ELLs participate in Creative Coding projects, help them become comfortable and confident with the language. What are the conversations they will be having? What questions will they ask? Create mini dialogues for them to practice the academic language associated with coding.

For example:

Student A: What happens if we put this here?

change this?

make this bigger?

Why isn’t this working?

What did I do wrong?

How do we fix this?

Student B: Let’s try this.

Let’s see what this does.

Let’s see if this works.

That doesn’t work because ….

That won’t work because …

Let’s add another _____. That will make it _____.

 

A: What do you want to do?

B: I want this to go here.

A: What’s not working?  

B: It’s going here instead.

A: What can we do to fix it?

 

Vocabulary Match

Print out the table below for each pair of students. Cut out the words and definitions. Separate the sets with paper clips but make sure the words and definitions in each pile are shuffled.. Provide each pair with the two sets. Challenge them to match words with its definitions.

 

vocab match

 

Filed as: 

Differentiation, Teacher Resources

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