Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Kids Who Code: Get Started with Coding in the Classroom

For the last few years, I have supported my early years students in planning a special Code-a-thon event for Computer Science Education Week.  This year, my week looks a little different.  Since I'm currently acting as the LwICT Teacher Leader for Park West School Division, I get to work with dozens of classes on coding and computer science this December!   I kicked off the week with a coding workshop for teachers and I'm scheduled to work on coding with many classes this week.  For those interested in getting started with coding in the classroom, I would suggest trying one or more of the following:

Unplugged Coding
I typically introduce students to unplugged coding first.  For middle years and high school students, I have modified this Grid Paper Programming Lesson from  For younger learners, I prefer to start working on the 100 grid of a learning carpet or a smaller 4X4 grid taped on the floor.   I use arrows printed on cardstock and demonstrate how we can "program" a stuffed toy to move around the grid using left, right, up and down arrows.  Students can then work with a partner using a paper copy of the grid and a smaller manipulative to practice "programming" the manipulative to move around the grid.  

unplugged coding for early years

Hour of Code(TM)
Signing up for Hour of Code is great way to get started with coding in the classroom.  There are TONS of great tutorials available from with different options for different grade levels.  You might want to try one of the tutorials yourself and then share it with your students or just jump right in and learn alongside them.  

Using a project-based learning model, I've guided my class in planning and hosting three Code-a-thon events.  Each year involved different tools, partners and activities, but each event was a great success!  Check out my Kids Who Code Code-a-thon guide below for tips on planning your own event.

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