In fact, I did pretty much everything I could to avoid homework (especially science), anything related to math (especially algebra), and tended to hangout in the library (where there were books, not people). There were only two things I wanted to do: read and code.
I taught myself basic html when I was fourteen or fifteen, because I wanted to build a website. This was back when Geocities and Angelfire were the most accessible website builders available. You could use the template they provided, or toggle the html view to customize. I've always been a creative person, and despite my work avoidance in the school setting, I enjoyed a challenge. So, I looked up some html guides and started teaching myself how to code. For me, coding offered the same sort of refuge that a good book provides. And it's a skill that has stuck with me to this day.
Because coding impacted my life, I wanted to give my students the opportunity to participate in the Hour of Code. Instead of limiting coding to just an hour, however, I decided to create a three week coding unit. Students watched TED Talks from outstanding kids (including Thomas Suarez, a 12 year old app developer), experimented with coding activities on www.code.org, engaged in close reading of articles, performed collaborative close viewing of video resources, and answered text dependent questions. Though some teachers may be reluctant to use core instructional minutes for something outside the norm, I found that students were energized and excited by their coding experience. They were eager not only to code, but also to research, plan, write, and share.
Here are some of the resources we utilized during the course of the unit:
Here are two of their best efforts: