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Esmeralda Aguirre

Esmeralda Aguirre

Pre-Coding: Computational Thinking in the Early Childhood Classroom

Session Description:
In the same way there are pre-reading and pre-writing skills, there are foundational skills that help students develop coding abilities before they program a robot or even code on a screen. We will go through a series of short Computational Thinking activities in which students as young as Pre-Kindergarten age develop a truer sense of what coding is about, broadening their perspective as they become not only technology users but technology innovators.

Esmeralda’s Bio:
Born in Mexico, Esmeralda Aguirre grew up between her mother’s bakery/convenience store and her father’s art studio/workshop, where applied learning was always present. In her mother’s convenience store she gained a passion for mathematics through real-life experiences such as weighing produce, memorizing prices (as there were no scanners back then), knowing how much to charge and how much change to give—activities that were always games to her.

In 2006 Esmeralda and her husband Omar, who is a software developer, moved to Dallas, where she started working for DISD as a Pre-K teacher. Through the years, she has taught PK-2nd grade and Gifted and Talented. She was later invited to present summer trainings for the Early Childhood Department and a few months later interviewed for a position as a Pre-K Instructional Specialist. In this position, she had the opportunity to gain a plateau of knowledge from teachers, students, co-workers, workshops, and conferences.

For one of her husband’s master’s classes from the Georgia Institute of Technology, they developed a program to teach pre-coding skills to 4-year-olds in urban classrooms. These activities were tested in some Pre-K and SPED classrooms in DISD with great results.

A year ago, Esmeralda and Omar made the decision to move to Tucson, AZ so they could be closer to their family in Mexico as well as their goddaughter Rebecca who is four and in her first year of school. Esmeralda is always on the lookout for new information that can be applied in the Pre-K classroom and has now turned her sights to computer science where she believes students can excel academically if they are taught Computational Thinking Skills.