15:39 PM

Color Coding Robots to the Rescue

Robots are helping students demonstrate reading comprehension.

Do you know how you get a robot to tell a story?

The fourth graders at DeSales Catholic School in Lockport, NY, do. They use color to “code” their Ozobots to help them demonstrate reading comprehension to their teacher Jake Weiland.

To get his students excited about reading he uses graphic novels. He used to have the students tell him about the plot, action and problem solved in the stories. Now they map out the story using the bots. The STEAM-based concept reinforces their problem-solving skills.

They choose actions that represent the various story events. Coding is done with color and the way they “draw” the story determines the bot’s actions. They select different actions to represent things that happen in the story and get the bots to help them “retell” the story in the right order.

For example, the bot might move slowly at the beginning, conflict represented by a tornado-like move and do a mini-dance when a problem is solved. The movements are accompanied with color-changing lights.

Weiland borrowed the bots from a local resource center. His $2,500 Assist Grant will allow him to purchase a set for his classroom.

“The kids love it. They name their bots and search for 'theirs' even though they are all the same,” Jake said. “We are currently in-person, but if out of class, the students can do the lessons at home.”

The graphic novels also offer extra support for readers and can be used for “book clubs.” In addition to the literacy benefits, a book club supports social and emotional learning in a time when many students need it most.

“This is a hard time for our young people. These new learning opportunities help them recover educationally from the instructional interruption from the pandemic,” he added.


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