May 18, 2024
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May 18, 2024
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Yavneh Academy Participates in Hour of Code

When students at Yavneh Academy were asked why they liked participating in the Hour of Code, the answer was almost always the same. “It’s fun!” When asked to elaborate, 5th grader Shoshana Iskowitz said she “liked figuring out how to get to the goal in a certain amount of moves. Even though you could get to the goal in more moves, I liked that you had to try to use less moves. It entertained me.”

Adira Schreiber said, “I really loved it because you have to think.”

Ari Sher added, “I feel like I’m really creating something.”

Amichai Shushan said, “I like the challenge.”

Eytan Abramowitz agreed with him. “Now I plan to make my own app.”

Rachel Rubenstein enjoyed the challenge so much that she went home and tried it with her 4-year-old sister. “We did Tynker together. I read the instructions to her, but I let her figure it out by herself. She really liked it.”

Yaffa Lofstock said coding is “Addicting. I didn’t want to stop.”

While all of us know that it’s important for students to learn how to navigate today’s tech-saturated world, many teachers aren’t experienced in computer science and don’t know where to start. The Hour of Code is a chance for everyone to see what computer science is all about. Why is coding so important for today’s learners? Computer programming jobs are growing at twice the national average. It is estimated that by the year 2020 there will be 1 million more computer programming jobs than students of computer science.

This year, the Hour of Code has become the largest learning event in history, endorsed by stars, athletes, corporate CEOs and even world leaders. The Educational Technology Department of Yavneh Academy, led by Mrs. Chani Lichtiger, director, and Mrs. Claire Hirschhorn and Mrs. Tova Burack, technology integrators, eagerly enrolled Yavneh to be a part of this global initiative. Every Yavneh student, pre-K through 8th grade, and every faculty member at Yavneh Academy was given the opportunity to experience coding.

The coding programs used by the children were chosen based on the students’ grade levels. The lower school students programmed monsters to gather and eat candy on Middle school students programmed dragons in a fantasy world to fly and battle evil knights. Angry birds were directed to their pig nemeses, and zombies were fed flowers on Our youngest children in the Early Childhood Department got to direct “Fuzzies” as they rolled around the screen using the Kodable app. The most frequently asked question: “Can I do this at home?”

There was great anticipation throughout the school as Computer Science Education Week and the Hour of Code approached. Everyone in the school felt the buzz as s/he prepared to code. Posters of celebrities promoting the Hour of Code were hung throughout the building. Every class viewed a video about the Hour of Code before the students themselves began to code.

Once the older children experienced their own Hour of Code, they were then given the opportunity to share their newly acquired skills with Yavneh’s littlest learners. Middle school classes were paired with our pre-k, kindergarten, and 1st grade classes, who used an app/site called Kodable that teaches coding to pre- and early readers. This was a win-win for everyone. The oldest children felt empowered as they helped the younger children; the younger children got to experience coding while working with the “cool big kids”.

Mati Sanders, a 1st grader, said, “I loved the code game and I made a new friend.”

Sixth grader Benny Rivkin commented, “I love the language of computer science, and now I get to teach it to little kids.”

While coding with a 6th grader, 1st grader Rafi Newman jumped out of his seat and proudly proclaimed, “I did it all on my own!”

A 1st grade teacher said it was so wonderful to see the kindness the older children showed the younger.

The excitement did not end in school, but was carried home with the children. Sixth grader Sam Magid said, “I was never interested in coding before but I did it at home last night.”

One parent reported that her kids came home and announced, “Today I learned how to code!” Her children spent the rest of the evening discussing coding with each other. Another parent said that when she sat down at her computer at the end of the evening, every tab was open to a coding program.

The Hour of Code website was displayed on whiteboards throughout the week. Students and staff watched as the numbers of participants continued to grow until it passed 70 million. Additionally, an interactive world map allowed Yavneh students to view schools in other locations such as Israel that were joining Yavneh in this global initiative.

To enjoy what the students at Yavneh Academy, along with an estimated 100 million students worldwide experienced, go to

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