As part of our Journalism class we occasionally report on things going on in other schools in the Rockland Public Schools. Last month, Veritas staff reporter Erin Kearns and Veritas photographer Maddie Gear went down to Esten Elementary School to report on the computer programming (coding) that 3rd and 4th graders were learning with the help of teachers, Lisa Ryan and Rachel Gear. Erin’s story and Maddie’s pictures are below:
By Erin Kearns, Veritas Staff
“I’m trying to make a hippopotamus fly,” says Benjamin Romer a fourth grader at Esten Elementary school as he sat at his computer screen animating a word.
On Thursday, December 8, 2016 Esten Elementary School participated in an Hour of Code. The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in more than 180 countries. Often schools choose to do coding activities that extend beyond one hour and the week of Hour of Code. Rockland schools did a variety of coding activities during November and December.
Coding is a new form of literacy that encourages critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving. Success in coding reinforces skills that will make students successful in other areas of life. The Rockland Public School’s commitment to the technology was seen in full force on Thursday as Esten took part in this program.
Students in third grade classes in Rockland demonstrated the fundamentals of game design. They created a program with events and variables to design their own Star Wars game.
“I’m basically just making my own game,” said Jacob Donovan a third grade student at Esten, “and when you get all the people you get 1,000 points, and I think this is a good game to be a game.”
Third grader Aaron Ramponi explained how he was going to make his game saying “I’m trying to create a game. I’m making it by going to command and going to add stormtrooper.”
Esten’s fourth grade classes demonstrated programing fundamentals by creating programs that will animate a word, make characters dance, fly, create music, and design games.
Fourth grader Emilee Dunham explained how she was going to animate her name. She said “I’m animating my name and I’m going to do some sports pictures. I’m going to make each letter change different colors.”
Madeline Kearns explained that she was experimenting with her animated word saying “I’m making a bunch of objects and just experimenting with a bunch of different sounds and codes.”
Rachel Gear, who teaches the computer classes at Esten School along with Lisa Ryan said, “This is only the second day these kids have been doing this program.” about her fourth grade classes. Mrs. Gear is a computer paraprofessional and Mrs. Ryan is Rockland Public Schools’ Technology Instruction Specialist.
Fourth grader Cameron Frautten explained what he was doing. He said, “I’m working on animating my name; right now I’m adding the sound background.”
Understanding coding can provide job opportunities for students in Massachusetts. Nationally 71% of new STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs are in computing while only 8% of STEM graduates are in Computer Sciences. Massachusetts has 16,808 open jobs with the average salary for a career in this field being $102,015 in the state. This is significantly higher than the average salary in the state.
All photos are by Maddie Gear. Click on any one to see the gallery.
Computers in Rockland’s Esten Elementary School computer lab are ready for 4th graders’ coding lesson. The students have been learning to code all year and created their own Star Wars games in December as part of Computer Education Week. photo by Maddie Gear
Mrs. Lisa Ryan, computer technology instructor, looks over the work of Esten Elementary 4th grade students, Madeline Kearns, (front) and Lilianna Regens as they work on their coding activities. photo by Maddie Gear
4th graders Giada Morell and Emilee Dunham
Esten Elementary 4th grader Cameron Frautten takes a break from coding activity in December. The computer classes in Rockland all participated in the Hour of Code as part of Computer Education Week. Lisa Ryan and Rachel Gear are instructors in the program. photo by Maddie Gear
Esten Elementary 4th graders, Elias Nassif, left, and Logan Carnathan work on their coding tutorials under the direction of teacher Lisa Ryan. photo by Maddie Gear.
Mrs. Rachel Gear, Madeline Kearns (front) and Lilianna Regens work on coding on their computers at Esten Elementary School in Rockland. The students have been learning how to code all year and participated in An Hour of Code as part of Computer Education Week in December. photo by Maddie Gear.
Mrs. Gear works with Jacob Mothes at the Esten Elementary School Computer lab in December. 3rd graders are learning coding and participated in an Hour of Code by creating and coding their own Star Wars games. photo by Maddie Gear
Mrs. Rachel Gear gives instruction to Esten 3rd grade student Jamie Charles. photo by Maddie Gear
3rd grader Lucas Bahnuk goes through his Star Wars coding instructions to create his own Star Wars game during the Hour of Code in December, part of Computer Education Week. photo by Maddie Gear
Computer paraprofessional, Mrs. Rachel Gear works with Mariaeduarda Henrique (gray), and Stephany De Sousa (pink) in the Esten Elementary School computer lab where the 3rd graders worked on coding Star Wars games. photo by Maddie Gear.
Esten Elementary School 3rd grader, Jamie Charles received a Certificate of Completion for her work in The Hour of Code activity in December. photo by Maddie Gear.
Aaron Ramponi (front), and Flynn Smith pause as they go through their tutorials for creating code for a Star Wars game. Students in all Rockland school participated in the global initiative called an Hour of Code as part of Computer Education Week. Aaron and Flynn are 3rd grade students of Lisa Ryan and Rachel Gear at Esten Elementary School. photo by Maddie Gear
Esten Elementary student Charli Woodward looks at the starter codes for creating a Star Wars game. Rockland students participated in an Hour of Code in December, a global initiative to introduce students to coding and computer technology. photo by Maddie Gear
Mrs. Lisa Ryan, technology instructor, leads the lesson in the 3rd grade computer class at Esten Elementary School.
The lesson for Esten Elementary School’s 3rd graders in December. Maddie Gear photo
Esten School 4th graders Erika Joaquim, Logan Hatch with Taylor Morrison in the background.
3rd graders Zachary Abouzeid and Jesse Schotte work on their Star Wars games at the Esten School Computer lab. photo by Maddie Gear
Erika Joaquim and Logan Hatch are working on their coding skills in the Esten Elementary School computer lab. The 4th graders are learning coding and took part in an Hour of Code tutorials as part of Computer Education Week in December. photo by Maddie Gear.