Yesterday I introduced my first graders to Turtle Art. To be honest, I'm not sure what made me do so. Numerous knowledgeable people I respect have told me that Turtle Art fits best with 3rd graders or older. Earlier this year I introduced it to our AAP (advanced academic programs) 3rd graders and they loved it. Somehow though, it seemed like a good idea to set my first graders free with it.
So, yesterday I showed them a few, very basic things and let them go explore. A few got frustrated. Others were fascinated. After about 15 minutes I stopped them and showed them a bit more. Off they went again, this time with even more gusto. We only had half an hour yesterday so I arranged more computer lab time for us today.
Today I just let them get started. They immediately wanted to get help from each other so I made one rule. They could go anywhere in the room they wanted and talk to anyone they wanted. But they couldn't touch anyone else's computer. My reasoning, which I shared with them, was that doing the work in Turtle Art for their friend wouldn't help them learn anything. Talking through it would be good for both kids.
These videos are all from today. I barely spoke to the kids throughout the 45 minutes we were in the lab. I did stop them once to show them a couple more things. Otherwise I let them go to it.
Now, I know they don't fully understand the programming they are doing yet. That's fine with me. That will come, especially given their engagement in this. The most exciting thing for me today wasn't really their work in Turtle Art, although I loved that too, but the way they were teaching each other. I just sat down and one point and looked around in awe. Truly in awe.