Bringing Stories to Life Through Coding

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Explore and create : Creation lab

Paige Besthoff  
Students will be introduced to storytelling through coding. Teachers will be given the tools for students to create individual or collaborative stories. This session will demonstrate how computer science is used in other disciplines to engage an audience of girls, teens and teachers, who may not see themselves as “coders.”

Audience: Coaches, Library media specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Participant accounts, software and other materials: No software necessary.
Topic: Storytelling/multimedia
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Computer science, Language arts
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Computational Thinker
  • Students understand how automation works and use algorithmic thinking to develop a sequence of steps to create and test automated solutions.
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
Global Collaborator
  • Students contribute constructively to project teams, assuming various roles and responsibilities to work effectively toward a common goal.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

What is story coding and how do I get started? In this session, we will use coding to learn about creating innovative storytelling experiences on Scratch, Elementari, Tynker and Sprite Lab that can be easily used in core academic classes. We will learn about collaboration and group programming, and view example story coding projects that can be implemented in ELA, social studies, or science classes. Finally, we will look into how to engage students to write and code stories based on their interests, debug and iterate, publish and share their stories and games, and provide feedback to their peers. Participants will leave this workshop with a plethora of handouts and strategies they will be able to immediately implement in their classes.


Planned activities:
1. Introducing story coding (5 minutes)
What my students have done with coding their projects/stories in core classes and different platforms I have used
2. The impact of cross curricular integration (5 minutes)
Why computer science education needs to work together with core classes to achieve computational fluency
3. Discuss the benefits of the various applications I use in my classroom (10 minutes)
a. Elementari is super easy to write and code and more accessible to non-techie teachers as it looks similar to google slides
b. Scratch allows students to upload their own images to use in projects
c. Tynker gives step by step instructions for the beginner
d. Sprite Lab gives beginning students and teachers a foundation in coding
4. Review materials I use in my classroom (10 minutes)
a. Storyboard
b. Group Programming Roles
c. Feedback (teacher and peer)
5. Write and code with me (15 minutes)
We’ll work through writing and coding a short project
6. Question and Answer Session (5 minutes)

Supporting research

Story coding Improves Writing (And Reading) Outcomes. Students love the ability to express their learning in new, varied and exciting ways. Story coding allows them to be creative. Here are a few reasons why:
Why Elementari? See page 4
Tynker Blog: The ‘How’ of Teaching Coding Early
CodeMonkey Blog: Why Coding is Important for Kids

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Paige Besthoff, Spotswood Public School District

Teacher of Computer Science in elementary, middle and high school for over 20 years. Teacher Ambassador, CodeMonkey Ambassador, Tynker Blue Ribbon Educator, Sphero Hero, and CS Fundamentals Facilitator. Currently teach grades 2 - 5 Digital “Techknowledgy” and Gifted & Talented. Prior to becoming a teacher, worked in the nonprofit sector tracking employment trends. Area of expertise is preparing students for career readiness. Mission is to provide all students with access to computer science and STEAM. Motto is “If You Can Dream it You Can Make it”.