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East High School Newcomer Students Learn to Code!

Three years ago, East High School’s Newcomer teachers, Melissa Lawson and Sarah Logemann, approached me to teach coding – or computer programming – to their students.

Newcomer classes are offered to English learners at the middle and high school levels who are new to the country and are at an entering level of English development. Students are enrolled at Lincoln Middle School and East High School. The goal of the program is to acclimate students to their new school and new culture and provide intensive language and academic support to build a firm foundation for student achievement.

To start lessons, we first met with Susan Uram, the RPS 205 Director of Educational Technology, and received a brief demonstration and discussed ideas for coding lessons. Then we borrowed several LEGO WeDo 2.0 kits and got to work teaching lessons to students as we learned alongside them. In the year that followed, East Principal Mr. Jim Parker purchased our own kits and a few higher learning LEGO kits. I’ve used both kits with students over the past three years.

It is an exciting time when I know I will be teaching our Newcomers coding for a science unit. It is a joy as a librarian and teacher to watch students who have limited speaking, writing and reading English skills to bloom into mini engineers, building and coding robots that help solve or explore real world problems. It always amazes me how fast they take to learning and adapting their builds using their own creativity.

I look forward to introducing the next class of Newcomers and am truly grateful for this opportunity each year.

Leslie Berg

Leslie Berg

Leslie Berg is the librarian for East High School.

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