Elementary teachers are the swiss army knife of education. They have to teach it all: reading, writing, math, science, social studies, social skills, shoe tying, nose blowing, manners, kindness...the list goes on. And now it is time to add another weight on their shoulders: Computer Science.
Wyoming is currently going through the gruesome process of creating and adopting CS standards for the state K-12. Is this necessary? I believe so. Is it going to be a hard change in mindset? I believe so. Check out these facts from code.org.
When we look at CS in the 6-12 realm, there will be computer teachers receiving specialized training so they can create new courses that are offered to the students. This is affecting 1-6 teachers depending on the size of your district.
Look the other way at K-5... now we see a much bigger group of individuals that need trained. One solution might be to train your current technology para or teacher. But is this going to reach all students? Also, will the students be able to achieve the standards that our state is bringing before us? My guess is probably not. Instead, each elementary teacher will be tasked with finding another 30 minutes in their hectic day to squeeze in some computer science lessons. This may seem impossible- but it's not...if you integrate it. Bring computer science into any lesson in your day. Learning about the life cycle of a butterfly? Have students code their learning into an interactive lesson to share with their family. Working on retelling stories? Let students retell their story using code. How about that story problem in math? Let students work in groups to code out the scenario to practice paying attention to the details in the problem then share the right answer at the end. Good bye worksheet and hello engagement.
Computer science at the elementary level, doesn't have to be scary or intimidating. It can be fun, engaging, and facilitate learning in your other areas of study.