Friday, November 7, 2014

Coding/ National Hour of Code thoughts and resources

The National Hour of Code, sponsored by and Computer Science Ed Week, is only a few short weeks away.  Of course, you don't need to wait until then to start coding with your students.  A few thoughts here as you begin the coding journey:

- Many nations are requiring coding as part of the national curriculum.  While the United States is not there as a whole yet, there are quite a few school districts across the U.S. that are incorporating coding classes for high school credit requirements.
From AEA267's Coding in the Classroom site,
originally from

- Coding is not just a math skill, or a computer science skill, but rather a thinking skill. Sure, the hallmarks of coding are computer programming and logic, but the real process for students lies in the problem-solving, collaborating, and critical thinking involved in solving coding problems.  Usually, the best coding programs will capitalize on the problem solving aspect for students.

- You don't have to be an expert coder to teach coding. I'd even posit that you probably don't even have to be good at computers to teach coding!  You just have to be the type of teacher that can give students an opportunity to own their own learning, take some risks, and be humble enough to learn alongside your students.

- Since you aren't the expert, bring in those that are. My best experiences with coding have been when I invited people from our community to come in and work with kids.  This included Math and Computer Science professors and students from our local university, parents that worked with computers, and people that use coding everyday at work.  Not only do the students benefit from having more adults around, the community can back what the students are doing as important and relevant.

- Find ways to keep the coding processes going throughout the year. Students tend to be intrinsically motivated by this, so see if you can work in the concepts into other lessons, or give your students some time to continue their coding projects frequently.  Perhaps the worst thing you can do is assign the coding or make it homework.  Chances are, students are going to want to do coding as homework anyway.

- Anyone can code. You, me, high school seniors, kindergarteners, 6th graders, parents, principals... all can code.  Let's figure out ways we can code together.

- You don't even need a computer to code! Some of the resources I'll link below teach coding concepts with paper/pencil, robots, play-dough, and all sorts of other things you most likely have laying around your classroom.  Of course, there are plenty of web apps, iPad apps, AEA check-out items, and things you can buy to teach coding listed below.

- Have fun, relax, and know that it ties to the Core. That's right!  Not only can coding hit ALL of the Universal Constructs, but you can creatively tie Math, ELA, Science, Social Studies, and 21st Century skills to coding.  The best part is that has links to those resources!

Here are a few resources as you plan:

- AEA267's Coding in the Classroom site

- My personal Symbaloo page of Coding sites I used in class

- The National Hour of Code's Youtube site

- Professor Ben Schafer's (University of 
Northern Iowa) sponsored free workshops for teachers and administrators

- Google's Made with Code site (geared specifically towards young ladies)


  1. Hey Matt,

    Happy to see that you used our infographic! Have you given a Kodable a try?

  2. Neal,
    Thanks for the comment and great infographic- let me know if I need to change anything to cite it further as Kodable's ( I have not tried Kodable, but it is listed in the resources above under our AEA's website ( I am looking forward to using it with my students, soon, though!

    1. Anything with would be great! And that is exciting that you are going to use Kodable soon. :) Let us know how everything is going. We also have some other resources that you may be interested in along with the infographic on our Resources Page ( We have an unplugged activity that was also on that is there too, as well as some other materials. :)