Williams Middle School Shines as Coding Leader for Houston ISD
Adrian Santesteban is a Math & Computer Science certified teacher at Williams Middle School at Houston ISD in Houston, Texas. He teaches his students to have Wolverine Pride as well as to code! A Tynker leader in Texas, he has taken the time to share his thoughts about Tynker’s impact on his students.
Tynker is a fun, engaging tool I use to teach coding. It has great coding lessons that teach coding fundamentals in block and text coding. Best of all, they are automatically graded and the entire class grades can be accessed in the teacher dashboard’s gradebook.
Students find the lessons challenging, yet motivating. When they finish a lesson, they feel a sense of achievement that motivates them to keep learning.
“Computer Science is not just for STEM – it should be incorporated into all classes and every subject as a learning tool.”
I feel Computer Science is ubiquitous, so understanding it at least at a basic level is fundamental. Plus, it teaches students problem-solving skills and perseverance that they need to succeed in all classes.
Tynker is one of my go-to resources I use to teach coding because kids need to like what they are doing in order to engage in learning, and Tynker makes learning fun!
My students are a picky bunch, so only the most engaging and fun activities will satisfy them. On the days I assign Tynker, I hardly hear anybody complain about the class assignment. In fact, it’s almost as if they are playing a video game, and they are engrossed in the challenge of trying to beat the game. I encourage collaboration between each other in order for them to work together to think critically to resolve the problems in front of them. It’s great to see them interact and talk through the problem until they arrive at a solution. As they work through each puzzle, their skills grow on top of the previous one, and you can see their confidence build as well. At the beginning of each lesson, a couple of students inevitably say “I don’t know how to do this,” but after focusing and working through the assignment and perhaps a little assistance and encouragement, their attitude changes, and they start saying things like “this is fun.”
Is reading only for ELA class? Of course not! Computer Science is not just for STEM – it should be incorporated into all classes and every subject as a learning tool. Nowadays, technology is ubiquitous, and therefore, students of all ages should learn using technology as a way to facilitate instruction and make it more engaging. There’s been a real movement to bring Computer Science for all students recently. Thanks to the work of organizations like Tynker and Code.org, we’re much closer to making this a reality. We need to continue to push forward with this momentum because it is important that the United States doesn’t fall behind other countries with regards to CS education.
Check out some of my students’ projects below: