This week is National Hour of Code. I heard about this last year but I wasn’t sure what it was all about. This year, I my students are participating. My students have been practicing this once a week for about an hour. I have found that some of my students really like it, and some don’t.
I have some Hour of Code resources on my webpage that help my students. We started with Scratch, and Hopscotch (on the iPad), and then Tynker. We then moved to cool game with some Angry Birds. My students loved the idea of using blocks. They could see how things fit together, and change the program they are developing.
Once I felt my students had a good basic idea of coding, we moved to some things that were a little bit harder. We started with some tutorials from Khan Academy, and from Code Academy. Then we loved to Code Avengers which was teaching us Java Script.
Over the past several months, my students started to see that coding was something that was cool, interesting, and at times very challenging. Through these last few months, which culminates this week, my students have shown growth in critical thinking skills, reasoning skills, and have worked on their communication skills because they are talking to each other trying to figure out why something is or isn’t working. I am very proud of my 7/8th grade students.
If you are trying to figure out how or what to teach about coding, like I was and at times still am. Check out this article from TeachThought. They came up with 10 students objectives about coding. Here is some of that article:
10 Sample Student Learning Objectives For The Teacher That’s Not So Sure About This Hour Of Code Thing
1. Students will define “coding” as both a noun and verb, and explain–as crudely or precisely as they are able–how code works.
2. Students will compare and contrast code to poetry and cooking recipes.
3. Students will identify the pros and cons of self-directed learning as it relates to learning code.
4. Students will identify three unique resources for teaching themselves to code.
5. Students will locate and explain two different coding communities, and how they can help that student learn coding.
6. Students will identify three coding apps that work for them, and explain why that app works for them better than another. See here, for example.
7. Students will identify and define three html tags, and explain what each does.
8. Students will create three two-dimensional figures, and 1 three-dimensional figure.
9. Students will name 3 “basic coding” projects, and 3 “master coding” projects, and give examples of each. (Think shapes, bouncing balls, and basic web pages, vs multimedia pages, apps, and video games, etc.)
10. Students will analyze a simple web page for its fundamental structure.
I hope you take this week, or any week, and begin to teach your students about coding. You will find their curiosity will increase as they code using any of the resources listed above. What I loved for the past several months is seeing the coding successes. When they show off their work to others in the class, or ask for a teacher from an other room whom they are close to come see their work, I know I have hit something that may be with them for along time. Who knows, they may find a career in coding.
Have you started coding with your students?