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updated: 12/4/2017 12:03 PM

U-46 schools join in 'Hour of Code,' introducing students to computer science

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Submitted by Elgin Area School District U-46

Several Elgin Area School District U-46 schools will participate this week in the global "Hour of Code" as part of Computer Science Education Week. Coding is essentially a process to make a computer follow specific instructions, an in-demand job skill.

The Hour of Code began in 2013 as a fun one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code" and to show that anybody can learn the basics, according to organizers of the event. Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the College Board are among those that support the effort. In the last four years, more than 100 million students have participated in an Hour of Code event.

Among the U-46 schools participating in the coding fun is Glenbrook Elementary. Many of the Glenbrook Elementary students are already familiar with coding through teacher Ellen Smith. Her fourth graders spend about an hour a week throughout the school year working on computer science skills using activities on Code.org or Scratch, another free computer programming destination. Smith also oversees a coding club for fourth through sixth graders to further develop their coding skills.

"It gives my students a basic understanding of computer science," Smith said. "There is only going to be more of a demand for coding skills going forward, and they all seem to enjoy it."

Fifth-grade Dual Language Teacher Carol Romero at neighboring Heritage Elementary, also in Streamwood, started Hour of Code events two years ago and has seen the lessons grow in popularity among students and teachers alike. Next week she hopes to expand coding events to more classrooms at her school and launch a coding club in the spring.

"Coding enhances problem solving and higher level thinking skills," Romero said. "The students love creating lines of code!"

Other U-46 schools participating in the Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 4-10, or offering ongoing coding clubs and lessons include:

• Genius Hour Projects at Eastview Middle School, 321 Oak Ave. in Bartlett, during school time;

• Computer Programming 1-2 and 3-4, Web and Media Design, and Multimedia and Design Presentation at Elgin High School, 1200 Maroon Drive, Elgin;

• Hour of Code Dec. 4-8 and Dash & Dots Robotic Club from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Mondays at Glenbrook Elementary School, 315 Garden Circle in Streamwood. Also, Scratch Coding & 3-D Printing Club from 2 to 3:15 p.m. Thursdays, starting in January.

• Hour of Code Dec. 4-8 at Heritage Elementary School, 507 Arnold Ave., Streamwood;

• Sylvan Learning from 2:15 to 3:45 p.m. Wednesdays and Fall Coding Programs through Dec. 20 at Highland Elementary School, 190 N Melrose Ave., Elgin;

• "Let's Code It-The Digital Dimension," provided by Afterschool Enrichment Solutions, from 2:05 to 3:05 p.m. at Hilltop Elementary School, 1855 Rohrssen Road, Elgin;

• Larsen Robotics Club from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at Larsen Middle School, 665 Dundee Ave., Elgin;

• Hour of Code Dec. 4-8 at Liberty Elementary School, 1375 W. Bartlett Road, Bartlett;

• Hour of Code Dec. 4-8, 2nd Dual One Way at 1 p.m. Tuesdays, and Tech Club 2 to 4 p.m. Mondays and Fridays at Oakhill Elementary School, 502 Oltendorf Road, Streamwood.

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