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Cool Teacher: Alana Aaron

Fifth-grade teacher Alana Aaron on taking the leap to teach her students coding.

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Alana by Numbers

11 Years of teaching experience

602 Students who took part in her school’s Hour of Code in 2014

216 Educators she has trained in coding

19,400 Students reached as a result of these workshop-trained teachers

Alana Aaron readily admits she doesn’t have a background in computer coding. But when she learned about the Hour of Code—a movement to inspire young people to code—in 2013, she knew it was a skill that would open doors for her fifth-grade math and science students. Since then, Aaron has led students through online coding courses and facilitated trainings for other educators.

Alana says, "Even though I'm intimidated by coding myself, I just went for it and learned along with the kids."

The Basics

School: P.S. 48 in New York City

Career path: Aaron majored in Spanish and Latin American and Caribbean studies as an undergraduate. After graduation, she entered the New York City Teaching Fellows program, during which she received a master’s degree in education.

Teaching philosophy: “I believe in holding students to high standards and expectations, but I also believe that learning should be fun.”

Cool Project

Free coding workshops: Aaron serves as a Code.org affiliate, training other teachers so they can implement the nonprofit’s coding courses in their classrooms. The one-day workshops are open to K–5 educators, free of charge. Code.org provides teachers with complimentary copies of its curriculum and other supplies needed to teach the student courses. Though Aaron is based in New York, Code.org offers these workshops across the country. To find a workshop near you, visit bit.ly/codeworkshop.

PROUDEST TEACHING MOMENT  

“I organized a school-wide Hour of Code this past December. I was pretty proud of that because it impacted all the kids in my school, not just my classroom. Plus, my fifth graders got to do a live video chat with Bill Gates, asking him questions and listening to his advice. They were so enthusiastic.”

CODING APPS ON HER TABLET

Kodable: “This is a great app for younger students who are just getting started with computer programming.” 

Tynker: “My students love earning badges as they pro-gress through the story-based puzzles.” 

Hopscotch: “The open--ended nature of this app allows students to think like programmers.”

 

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Photo: Courtesy of Code.org

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