Today’s Contributor: Liliana Howard
I’m the librarian at T.A. Brown Elementary School. I’m originally from Baytown, Texas. I always have my passport ready because I love to travel. I want to see the world.
I attended a summer training for Hour of Code with Vanessa Jones in 2015. She walked us through the activities on the website and showed us how this nationwide movement could benefit our students. I signed up and pledged to provide these activities with all of my classes during library time. I also requested to be connected with a software company to help me promote computer science. That’s how I got paired with Rackspace.
I don’t have any knowledge of coding or feel comfortable teaching this subject beyond what the training provided. Rackspace did a great job introducing themselves to the students and telling them about the type of work they do. They ran the library for one week while classes came to explore and learn about coding. They walked around and helped students think through the activities. Code.org provides videos and step by step instructions on how to do these activities. Teachers, parents, students and the principal were enthralled with the activities. Even PK students had an opportunity to try it. The kids rave about it and enjoy going on the code.org website outside of this week.
We enjoyed hosting Rackspace, and they must have had a great time, too, because this has now become an annual event in the library. After our campus got relocated in the fall of 2016, Rackspace contacted me and followed us to Allan Elementary. I’m currently coordinating the schedule for this year’s collaboration for December.
A couple of challenges that I faced were coordinating enough volunteers for a full week. I’ve scaled it back to three days for this year to ensure enough participation. Nooks worked great for the little kids but some of the games were not compatible with the device. My principal was supportive of this initiative so I didn’t have trouble opening our doors to this company.
I love bringing in people to the library that are experts in their field. I love that the library provides an opportunity to bring people together. Students got exposure to coding and enjoy a lesson from real people working in the industry. I hope that it piques a student’s interest to pursue a career in technology.
December 2015 at 505 West Anderson Lane (Original location of T.A. Brown)
Volunteers working with 1st grade students
The principal was having a ‘Principal Talk’ and brought parents into the library to try an activity.
December 2016 at Allan Elementary (T.A. Brown’s relocated campus)