WSD Coding Challenge Week 1 – Drawing App

I have had a fairly strong response to the coding challenge survey send out last week. The results are in and the consensus is as follows:

  • Nearly everyone wanted a variety of tools used: I will be highlighting Scratch 2, Scratch Jr., Hopscotch, and I may throw in some special connections with Raspberry PI or PICO boards other digital addons.
  • There was nearly an even split on weekly/biweekly delivery – I will be going with weekly delivery of the challenges for the month of March and April – roughly 8 lessons
  • I will be posting challenges on Monday, with tutorials on Wednesday and solutions from the field on Friday.
  • I will key all lessons for students, but adults can follow and learn along side; I will provide PDF and Video resources for all coding on the blog.
  • About half said they would post materials to Twitter. Please use the** #WSDCodes** or #WSDHSchallenges hashtags or both, or email your samples for me to post on the blog.
  • Now on to content… My theme will be ART focused. We will building an drawing app in stages. One that will draw shapes, lines in multiple colours. This will be challenging, but will address a lot of the creative and curricular ideas requested.

Hopefully, this will address the needs of the many. Please feel free to email or DM me if you have other needs that are not being met.

Here is the week one challenge:

Designing a Drawing App

Getting Starting in Hopscotch
Getting Starting in Hopscotch


Getting Started in Scratch
Getting Started in Scratch

For this challenge, I will be posting some video support on Wednesday. In the meantime, you will need to start looking for clues in the areas where movement is noted. Particularly movement related to the X and Y value of the pointer or cursor. When the mouse or cursor moves the X and Y value for the cursor or mouse needs to be constantly updated and recorded. A drawing app takes advantage of this by leaving a coloured trail as the cursor or mouse moves along this X/Y coordinate path. Hopscotch and Scratch each use slightly different keywords to accomplish this, but both are found in the movement or motion block sections. That’s the place to start looking. Good luck.

SAMR Model

I have been pulling together some SAMR model material for an inservice and so am posting it for convenience sake. Use it as you may.

Note that I see the model as more of a continuum: sometimes it is appropriate to be a t the lower end of the continuum, often it is better to strive for the transformative levels.

Recreated SAMR Model/Continuum
Blended SAMR Model/Continuum (KS)


Teacher Confidence in Use of Technology
Teacher Confidence in Use of Technology


Padagogy Wheel Poster
SAMR Padagogy Wheel


A Brief Overview of the SAMR model on Symbaloo
A Brief Overview of the SAMR model on Symbaloo
SAMR Model/Continuum Explained

Taking Your Coding Further

The link to the coding resources in the blog space is not a bad clearing house to get you started. There are lots of coding programs and curriculums to sample. Lots of example and help files.

BNG Blog

However, there is a lot more to be discovered in the world of coding. My adventure started learning web friendly languages and what are called ‘non-compiled’ or ‘interpreted’ languages such as JavaScript and Hyper Script (a really old Apple language), Action Script (at the base of Flash). All this really means is that there is a lot of syntax to learn and that the code is interpreted on the fly, usually by a browser but not always, and tends to run slower than compiled languages like C, C#, C+ and the like. These languages tend to be easier to learn mostly because they are more forgiving in terms of their construction and data types. They are less fussy about how one might pass information around within your program.

In general, my favourite online Learning School are:

My suggestion would be to start with a language like Ruby, Perl, JavaScript or a modern day HyperCard/Hyper Script variant. But only if you want to delve into actual coding itself. My suggestions here in no particular order would be as follows for resources and programs:

My favourite Learning School is:

If you’re interested in compiled languages, you will be moving into much harder, more restrictive, less forgiving grounds. These are high level, object oriented languages, typically with few key words and a steep learning curve.

Arduino Beans, CodeBugs, Makey MakeysMicro:bitsRaspberry Pis, PICO Boards and more… These are circuit boards with a variety of input and output ports that allow a user to access them to control objects in the real world. Using a program like Tickle App, Scratch or Stencyl a user can code a program that accesses both the inputs and outputs on the board in order to control objects in the program itself or in the real world.

Drone control is also possible through a coding interface using Apple’s Swift PlayGroundTickle App,  Tynker Curriculum or Scratch. This is incredibly satisfying, albeit challenging to control actual drones suing code. There are a myriad of factors that will influence the outcome of the drones course and it is difficult to address all too these factors effectively. Herein lies the beauty of this incredible real test of coding in real situations.

Having students set up a simulated disaster area and program a drone to safely navigate the areas to save lives is an interesting test of both problems solving, communication, collaboration and coding skills.

Drones & Robots for Tickle App
Compatible Devices for Tickle App; Can be coded to run!

Winnipeg School Division Coding Challenges

Code Challenges
Code Challenges

I have been throwing some coding challenges up on my Twitter steam lately using the [#WSDHSchallenges]( hashtag as a kind of test to see what kind of response I had to this sort of thing. The response has been fairly strong and so I am exploring the next step.

I really can’t take credit for this whole idea actually. It’s really modelled after the Hour of Code activities, and the Twitter challenge connection was suggested by the incredibly smart cookies that attended my coding session at this year’s CHARGE 2016 conference for preservice teachers at the University of Winnipeg I had the honour of being asked to participate in.

I want to solicit some feedback from followers to try to determine the kinds of challenges that followers might find most useful. To that end, please complete the short embedded survey to give me some ideas on how to tailor the up coming challenges.

My intention is to begin the challenges starting as early as March and I want to make then as focused as possible so any and all feedback is appreciated. I would love to have the feedback back be month’s end! Thanks in advance for the quick turn around.


QR Code for WSD Coding Challenge Registration form
QR Code for WSD Coding Challenge Registration Form



Binary Alphabet with Lego

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Earlier in the year I posted about a teacher in the Winnipeg School Division who created a lesson around binary bracelets. Recently, a colleague of mine directed me to a similar idea created by the LEGO brand!

Actually, the LEGO site documented four separate ideas: an online Bits & Bricks Hour of Code Activity, a Binary Alphabet, a LEGO mini robot and a LEGO game building activity. All fabulous on and offline coding based activities. But I want to focus in this post on the Binary Alphabet activity.

Binary Alphbet
Binary Alphabet
Lego Computer Coding Binary Alphabet
Lego Computer Coding Binary Alphabet

The concept is actually rather simple… White LEGO blocks represent 1s, Blue LEGO blocks represent 0s & Red LEGO blocks represent Spaces between letters. Use the binary converter and some information found at “A Binary Tutorial” or on Base 2 and away you go having your students creating binary messages related to whatever they fancy: positive messages, poems, descriptive words, site words…

What delighted me about this offering was that it was code related and yet offline!
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