In an era of high stakes testing, asking a teacher to give up even one class period to any new idea, much less one they view as experimental and something they don't understand can be daunting. My moment came when the reading classes were looking for an "other educational activity" to distract students after a recent practice test. These classes, if I could provide a lesson plan that related in some way to reading, would come for one hour of code.
Lesson plan dispatched. The students arrived; the lesson was introduced as a college and career exploration exercise. They would play a coding game to see if they had any aptitude or interest in the field of coding. The students were allowed to choose any one of the coding games from code.org and play.
The students were allowed to try something new that was fun and engaging without fear of failure. These low test performing students who are subjected to constant remediation were free to imagine a possible future as a coder as found in a game, in the library, without thinking about passing a test first.
Teachers were able to relax and observe their students without grading them--to observe with the opportunity to see them trying something new, engaging without fear of failure, but using failure to learn something new. The teachers were encouraging without instructing, assisting students by encouraging them to work through their failures. Genuine observations about abilities and skill sets were extracted from the experience. The teachers made notes and asked questions. Every time Elsa or Anna skated in the correct pattern after several failed attempts, there were cheers and high-fives. Pictures were taken when a student completed an entire game. These students who experience so much difficulty and their teachers were able to celebrate success.
Sketch notes on Computational Thinking