Steindorf 1st Graders -- Wow!
First grade students at Steindorf STEAM School have created a coding project that has never been done before, according to teacher Lena Sugihara. Utilizing introductory programming languages called Scratch Jr. and Scratch, the class coded a whimsical digital aquarium, and then added compelling storytelling about a growth mindset to the animation.
“We turned our classroom into the ocean floor!” Sugihara said. “The first graders worked on project based learning to infuse the areas of reading, writing, SEL, art, science, and engineering – we used a STEAM project as a way to deepen students’ understanding of these content areas.”
The end product was truly magical. With the collaboration of their eighth grade student buddies, the first graders innovatively animated their aquarium story, making strong connections between STEAM activities (coding a digital aquarium) and content areas/standards in Reader’s Workshop, Writer’s Workshop, Social Emotional Learning, science, engineering, and art.
“The students are learning about the growth mindset in such a compelling way,” said Steindorf Principal Lisa MacFarland. “Through our project based curriculum, our school promotes opportunities to engage in hands-on learning.”
Sugihara presented the project at a Spring Cue 2022 event. CUE is a 501c3 nonprofit community of connected educators focused on improving education for all learners in California and Nevada. The presentation was well-received, and other educators hope to replicate her model. The unique and innovative project shows that first graders (or any grade level students K-12) are able to do digital storytelling and create an animation using Scratch Jr. and are able to make strong connections between STEAM activities (coding a digital aquarium) and content areas/standards (Reader’s Workshop, Writer’s Workshop, Social Emotional Learning, science, engineering, art.)
“This project cultivated the joy of learning in our classroom,” Sugihara said. “The students felt proud when they saw that the sea creatures they drew were included in the class animated movie.”
For more information about the Steindorf animation project, please contact Dawn Klavon, Communications Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.