Learning to Code

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I have told this story many times, but feel compelled to share it again (a bad habit of mine).  I recall seeing a video at a workshop or something.  In it, Will I. Am from The Black Eyed Peas talked about everyone writing their own code by 2025.  In short, it freaked me right out and made me realize how my late Granny must’ve felt when we tried to explain email to her.  I thought I could maybe fake my coding skills since my retirement date is only two years after I should apparently be able to write code; however, I have decided to take this bull by the horns and try to wrap my head around it.  I have heard about this “hour of code” program through http://www.code.org so I decided to explore.  I am so proud to share my first creation with you.  I know it’s not very sophisticated, but maybe by 2025, I may have refined my skills somewhat.

Check it out:  https://studio.code.org/c/199247971

Fractals at the Enrichment and Innovation Centre

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I am feeling so refreshed and excited after my recent visit to the Enrichment and Innovation Centre for the HWDSB.  Kristy and Zoe were so gracious to have me accompany some students from one of my schools to see what amazing things are happening there.

I was intrigued to see this place after working with a great group of kids from Janet Lee at school.  They told me about this cool place they go to once a month (or so).  They retaught some of the stuff they were learning about to students who don’t visit the centre.  This fascinated me – partly because it was about math (my love) and partly because of the power of peer instruction.  I saw that they were engaged and had learned so much in only one day.  Who’d have thought that a bunch of grade 5’s would be riveted by Fibonacci?

Upon entering the centre, I immediately felt a sense of wonder and excitement.  The room itself is full of great literature, thought provoking items from sewing machines to electronic gadgets, to tea with china cups, to laptops, to perler beads (new to me), and the list goes on.  There was coffee shop type jazz playing, natural lighting, plants,, and students entering with smiles and friendly conversation.  In short – a place that’s nice to be.

We learned about fractals.  About what?  A fractal is a never ending pattern composed of similar and proportional terms.  Check out www.fractalfoundation.org/resources/what-are-fractals/ to get a better idea of what I’m talking about.  They are even referenced in a Disney song.  Do you know which one?  We also learned about Mandelbrot and his discoveries.  Students made their own fractals out of various materials – the most fun were the fractal plates of food that they put together at lunch.  If you’ve been at Michael’s, Indigo, Cole’s, even Walmart, you’ve likely seen the recent colouring book craze – many of those contain fractals.  They are fascinating.  Next time you see one, take the time to really examine the pattern.  Look for similar shapes repeated in larger or smaller proportions.  Awesome stuff!

Honestly, I left there thinking I don’t know who’s luckier – the teachers who get to work there or the students who get to go there.  I can’t wait to get back there some time soon!  Thanks Zoe and Kristy.

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