How to Teach Computer Science in Early Childhood – Interview with Kiki Prottsman of Code.org – Ep. 023

If you want to bring the skills of the 21st century into your classroom but don’t know where to start, drop what you’re doing and listen to this episode right now! This week, we have a special guest – Kiki Prottsman – who is the Curriculum Development Manager for Elementary Curriculum at Code.org.  Kiki has an incredible story and an even more incredible mindset! This interview is guaranteed to inspire and empower you to bring computational thinking and computer science into your classroom! No matter where you are in terms of starting knowledge, even if you’ve never seen a computer before in your whole life, Kiki gives you the tools and knowledge to teach these hugely important thinking skills!

And guess what? Learning computer science doesn’t mean sitting in front of a computer all day. In fact, that’s not how it is at all! Kiki makes computer science fun and exciting by using both tech-based and unplugged (no-tech) lessons.  By bringing computational thinking into units on arts and crafts, plants, literacy, and more, Kiki starts kids off “in a world that makes sense to them!” In addition to all these great teaching ideas, Kiki’s mindset is about as great as it gets! She says – brilliantly, I may add – that “what a student can do in K-5 is not nearly as important as what students believe they can do.”

So on point! Get more gems like these by listening to this week’s episode here.

Kiki’s curriculum is focused on a holistic approach to educating children. With stories that teach both computational concepts and characters skills like persistence, there is so much in this episode for all of us to learn.

“Foster persistence in a child so they understand that things don’t happen right away and they may have to learn something else before they unlock that next step…. You’re going to fail several times and that’s okay because that’s how you learn. Keep going. Keep working on it. You can do this. You can learn something that helps you finish this and if you don’t learn it all today you can learn more tomorrow and eventually you’ll get there. If that’s just what [kids] believe life is [about]; that’s the attitude they will have [throughout school and their lives]. And it will help them be the person who they want to be.” – Kiki Prottsman

I hope you love listening to this episode as much as I loved recording it with Kiki!   Please leave your thoughts in the comments below! 

Show Notes:

  • [01:57] – Kiki’s Introduction
  • [03:20] – Unplugged Lesson Example – Making Binary Bracelets: Art & Computational Thinking
  • [05:15] – Computer Science and computational thinking are all around us!
  • [05:40] – The Algorithm of How a Seed Grows
  • [07:17] – Making Computer Science Matter to Your Students
  • [09:16] – What Goes into a Code.Org Lesson
  • [13:30] – Using Story to Teach High-Level Concepts (Debugging)
  • [14:31] – Using Story to Teach Socio-Emotional Skills ( Persistence)
  • [17:40] – Why You Should Teach These Concepts Early
  • [22:50] – Student Created Projects
  • [23:48] – How to Bring Code.Org Into Your Classroom (Tech & Unplugged)
  • [25:45] – The Courage to Try Something New

Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Thank you so much for joining us this week!  If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post. Also, please leave an honest review for the Punk Rock Preschool Podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are super helpful and greatly appreciated and I will read all of them!  If you have any questions or want to learn more, head on over to punkrockpreschool.com! And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates!

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