KJTMA Participates in the Hour of Code

Coding For the Future: DeSoto ISD Katherine Johnson Technology Magnet Students Participate in the Global Hour of Code
Posted on 12/18/2020
KJTMA Student

DeSoto Independent School District students at Katherine Johnson Technology Magnet Academy participated in the global Hour of Code event which took place during the National Computer Science Education Week in December.

“We are excited about the signature experiences that we provide for our students here. For the first time, our upper and lower grades had the opportunity to experience what the foundational basics of coding look like and feels like,” said Advanced Academic Specialist Tamesha Brown who helped coordinate the student experiences. “Our teachers were so excited. Now, our students and staff are walking away with an experience like never before. We are proud about what happened here at Katherine Johnson for The Hour of Code.”

In 2013, The Hour Code began as a global hour-long introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code," to show that anybody can learn the basics and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It included grade-level appropriate activities designed to help students connect to the use of computer science in the world every day. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science amongst all citizens of the world.

For one hour in the morning and afternoon, students in kindergarten through second grade and fourth through seventh grade participated in guided coding activities in the classroom. KJ Robotics and Coding Instructor Mike Causey along with Ms. Brown organized a series of experiences for the students.

“It is important to our scholars because it provides an opportunity to be exposed to something that is becoming commonplace. We are solving the world’s problems through coding. They were exposed to problem-solving and able to see that they can make a difference in the world.” said Causey.

“In one activity, the third through fifth-grade students worked through a game that used coding to navigate the monsters in a challenge, to put masks on monsters, and keep those who were well away from the monsters that were sick,” Causey explained. He used the lesson to help students connect the dots to stopping the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Hour of Code is about exposure and connectivity for the younger students,” said Causey. Kindergarten through second-grade students used directionally- focused coding activities for their age level.

A KJTMA fourth grade student found coding fun and useful.

“I have been coding for over a year. You can use it for a lot of things. Whether you want to become a gamer or make your own games, you can do this by coding. You can create whatever you want by coding,” Zachary Johnson said.

Sixth-grade student Derrick Jones enjoys coding and became interested in elementary school because it was fun and new.

“You never know what path you will take in life. If you decide to go into technology, coding is something you will need and you want to be prepared for everything,” said Jones. “Soon, we will be the ones coding new technologies.”

Fifth-grader Camila Fierro loves the creative freedom of coding.

“It is my way to express my creativity through technology. I get to let loose and create what I want. I love to make my own codes, control my own programs, and customize them. It is fun to be as creative as I want to.” said Fierro. “I think that this will help me in engineering, I want to be an architect and put my ideas on materials.”

This year, the campus and district is using a hybrid learning model environment and was able to offer this learning experience to all students regardless of where they were learning. 

One teacher was overjoyed to see the Hour of Code in action on her campus.

“The Hour of Code is such an amazing and outstanding opportunity for all of our scholars. It is one of the pleasures of working at this campus. I see the unique, meaningful lessons that will prepare them for not just school, but life in general,” said Latrisha Cameron Lead Fifth grade Math Teacher. The students are excited and understand that this is just the beginning where they can go regarding coding.”

Katherine Johnson Technology Magnet Academy is DeSoto ISD’s admission-based campus that currently serves students in prekindergarten through seventh grade. Applications for Katherine Johnson are currently open online for students in pre-k through eighth grade at www.DeSotoISD.org through January 31, 2021.