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Students hack away at educational Hour of Code

Pleasanton private school teaches JavaScript through fun programming event

Students at Stratford School's Pleasanton campus got an extra opportunity to practice their computer science skills this week when the private school participated in the "Hour of Code," an online educational computer science initiative.

Schools that participate in the Hour of Code are provided with programs that break down JavaScript into easier-to-understand fundamentals, Stratford fifth-grade computer science teacher Ryan Miramontes said.

"No. 1, it's fun, so it keeps them completely engaged," she said.

Students at Stratford's Pleasanton campus start with coding fundamentals in pre-school -- mostly learning about how to dictate directions -- and move on to Python in elementary school classes, principal Kim Cullen said.

The Hour of Code is supplementary to Stratford's curriculum and is incorporated into all of the Pleasanton school's elementary computer science classes this week. The lesson builds upon important skills such as problem-solving -- while also teaching essential coding skills like the purpose of functions.

Jasmine Dockins, 11, used drag-and-drop commands to compose code that made her character move around a Minecraft-themed world.

"I could potentially use (coding) for a career," she said.

But today, she was just having fun making her character build a house via JavaScript.

Namitha Peruvemba, 10, said she wants to be a graphic designer one day, but she enjoyed the challenge the game provided.

"It's fun to move the blocks," she said, "and if it's wrong, it's fun to find the problem."

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