New weekly class teaches Adams Elementary students the basics of coding

Adams Elementary School principal Gabriel Del Real, left, and CodeCampus Scratch program instructor
Adams Elementary School Principal Gabriel Del Real, left, and CodeCampus instructor Nathan Valdez go over coding with students Alexis Pellegrin and Laisha Burciaga, right, at the Costa Mesa campus Friday.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Adams Elementary School in Costa Mesa is offering its first official computer coding lessons for fourth- through sixth-graders every Friday for the rest of the school year.

An instructor from CodeCampus, a company that offers coding classes throughout Orange County, uses the free online program Scratch to teach lessons based on a Common Core State Standards curriculum.

Students last week were asked a series of math questions, the answers to which formed multicolored blocks representing HTML, CSS and Javascript coding.

The program also allows users to create stories, animations and games.

Principal Gabriel Del Real has wanted to provide the course to his students in class since partnering with CodeCampus to provide an after-school class the past three years.

“It had limitations because it wasn’t available to all students — only a few were able to participate,” Del Real said.

Adams Elementary School sixth graders use the Scratch program during CodeCampus coding class at the
The free online program Scratch is used to teach coding to fourth- through sixth-graders at Adams Elementary School in Costa Mesa.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer )

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District funded the course as a pilot program for the remainder of this academic year as long as the school could find a way to offer it in 2018-19, Del Real said.

The district also is funding the pilot program for Harbor View Elementary School in Corona del Mar.

After learning about the lessons, Valerie Torelli, who owns a realty company down the street from Adams, stepped in to fund that school’s program for the 2018-19 school year.

“It’s so fascinating to me,” Torelli said, adding that she’d like to help bring the program to all Costa Mesa schools.

Student Leslie Calderon, 11, who had participated in the after-school class, said she felt confident using the online program and reading codes.

“This lets us express our creativity,” she said.

Adams Elementary School sixth grade teacher Mahtab Spera, standing, talks to her students about the
Adams Elementary School sixth-grade teacher Mahtab Spera talks to her students Friday during a weekly coding class.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer )

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