This week, I read to the Pre-K/Kindergarten Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller and we talked about how we like to be treated and what we have in common with the rabbits and otters in the story. Then we set off on a mission.
Each student either drew a picture or wrote a positive message and hid their note in a book in the library. They may be found today, they may not be found for a year, but when they are, the notes are sure to make someone’s day! The idea of creating a little something and leaving your trace in the world is powerful for kids (and adults). What seems simple and almost like a prank, actually connects kids to the public sphere and gives them a sense of agency within it. They can actively shape their environment.
I read excerpts from Who is Bill Gates? by Patricia Brennan Demuth and Program or Be Programmed by Douglas Rushkoff. We asked “What is digital technology?” and shared our experiences with it. How does it work? Who made it work? If we don’t understand that there is code behind our interfaces and that someone writes that code, then we are allowing someone else to shape our environment. By learning to code ourselves, we can shape the environment too.
We explored beginners programming at Code.org and also wrote messages to hide in the books.