Double Peak K-8 Sees Big Tynker Progress in San Marcos Unified SD
Christine Dixon is the Innovation Coordinator TOSA at Double Peak K8 School in San Marcos Unified. She leads the Innovation Program and co-teaches with TK-8 classroom teachers in the areas of technology, computer science, robotics, engineering, design thinking, and making in the Makerspace. She shares her thoughts on Double Peak’s progress with Tynker below. Educators can connect with her on Twitter at @christinekdixon.
As a brand new 21st century school that opened in August of 2016, we knew we wanted all students TK through 8th grade to have coding as a huge focus in their education. We also knew it was crucial to support classroom teachers who may not have the computer science background to effortlessly embrace this initiative. Adopting Tynker as Double Peak’s coding curriculum was the perfect solution!
“Tynker has no doubt become the foundation for teaching computational thinking in every grade level at Double Peak.”
Just one and a half years later, we are so proud to see the overwhelming success Tynker has brought to both students and teachers! Double Peak students are quickly and efficiently improving their coding skills through Tynker assignments and projects, and teachers are building their confidence by learning alongside their students, therefore incorporating computer science into their daily instruction.
Walking into our Innovation Lab or a classroom of students engaged in Tynker,
You’ll most likely hear:
“I finally got it!” – or my personal favorite: “Nailed it!” 🙂
“It only took me 5 tries!
“This looks tricky!”
“I almost figured it out!”
“I’m already at level ___”
You’ll most likely see:
Students helping each other through a challenge
Complete engagement (just look at their faces in pictures below – I tease them I can literally see their brains working)
Smiles…lots of smiles
Teacher facilitating (and often being a learner with students) as they tackle a challenge
Innovation, engineering, and computer science play such integral roles in Double Peak School’s goals that they are embedded into our master schedule. Computer science is taught beginning in TK and Kindergarten with unplugged coding activities and with entry-level coding apps and robotics. In Grades 1-5, students have 40 minutes of Innovation a day, cycling through engineering, design thinking in our Makerspace, and computer science in our Innovation Lab. Tynker is also woven into classroom instruction in various ways such as warm-ups, centers, math instruction, and most importantly as a way for students to show their understanding in a concept and/or subject area. In 6th-8th grades, computer science and Tynker are part of students’ Inquiry block as well as our school-wide DPS Hour the last hour of every Friday.
Tynker has no doubt become the foundation for teaching computational thinking in every grade level at Double Peak. Students know that making mistakes in Tynker is not only okay – it’s sometimes the best way to break down a problem to find the solution. This growth mindset has made a huge difference in the way students tackle challenges in all subject areas. Tynker has also acted as a computer science springboard, as students can see patterns and connections between Tynker and other open-ended coding platforms such as Scratch. Students are able to use coding to show their understanding in a concept learned in fun, creative, engaging ways.
Tynker has already made such a huge difference for both students and teachers! Our goal now is to continue to grow in our computer science emphasis to keep up with our pretty impressive Double Peak innovators!