Educator Spotlight – Holly Sawyer
25 October, 2022
Coding is for all, especially language learners! As EL teachers can pave pathways into CS for their language learners, while supporting language development, coding is for all teachers, especially EL teachers!
Introducing computer science to EL students inspires me as I see my students of all language, cultural, and educational backgrounds find confidence. They thrive as they learn to code and creatively express themselves through projects, while at the same time, developing their English. They learn to deduce patterns, problem solve, develop a tolerance for making mistakes, and cultivate persistence, all of which helps them in their language learning journey. And, as CS is crosscurricular, EL students develop language needed in other subject areas as they learn principles of math, ELA, science, and more in their projects.
I am particularly proud of integrating CS this semester. My students learned how to “Animate a Name” in a project from CS First for Google. This animation project was a culminating end to a “Names and Identity” unit where they had first read and written about how their name is an extension of their linguistic, cultural, and personal identity. Then they animated their name by writing code. They explored the language of movement, cause & effect, ordinal numbers, comparatives, and problem solving as they creatively coded the letters in their names to accomplish different movements. One student reflected, “I feel accomplished because I did something I’ve never done before!”