Written by: Bridgette Hernandez
As a teacher, you wish your students all the best. You want them to get in-depth knowledge in school to succeed later in life. And naturally, you understand that if your students start learning to code today, it will be easier for them to build a great career in the future.
If you do not know where to start and how to incorporate coding into your classroom, don’t worry. We are here to help you. In this article, you will find five ideas on how to introduce students to the broad benefits of coding.
Show students how Mozilla’s X-Ray Goggles works
Mozilla X-Ray Goggles is a tool that allows users to alter a web page to give it a particular theme. You can introduce this tool to schoolers in order to get them interested in learning about openly-licensed resources and different forms of media. You can show them how to create something new on the Web through remix.
Media source: https://mozilla.github.io/webmaker-curriculum/WebLiteracyBasics-I/session02-hackthenews.html
Here is a short guide for you:
- Ask students what news site they would like to edit. It could be a site of a local newspaper, or a national news website (Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, etc.)
- Choose a website that uses a good amount of HTML, so it will be easier for your learners to alter it
- Pick a remix theme that your students find interesting (e.g., The Lego Movie, Selena Gomez, Capitan America)
- Ask students to activate the Goggles and Hit the “remix” button
- Invite students to change the text and images of the website
- Ask learners to publish their remixes and discuss each other works
Connect coding to writing
Do you know that there is a strong relationship between writing code and writing? “A well-written story should contain neither unnecessary sentences nor words. And a well-written code should also contain no unnecessary codewords,” says Estelle Leotard, a former elementary school principal and writer at Studicus.
The better students write stories in their native language, the better they understand how to write codes using programming language. For this reason, experts highly recommend teachers to introduce coding fundamentals into their language arts classes.
There are many tools you can use to help schoolers to create stories from puzzles and games. For instance, you can offer your students to create a story about a dog at Code.org. It will help students to develop their creative writing skills and also to understand basic programming concepts.
Spark the Kids’ Interest
If you want students to fall in love with coding, you should offer them to play games (yep, boring lectures will not work here). You should spark the interest of schoolers and encourage them to deepen their knowledge in coding.
“If you want to boost the effectiveness of your classes, you should allow your students to learn through playing. Choose games that match age, interests, and background of your students, and you will achieve amazing results,” says Melanie Sovann, a gamification expert and editor at PickTheWriter.
Here is the list of resources you may use to gamify your classroom:
- Elementary school: CodeMonkey Jr., Scratch, Scratch JR, Tynker
- Middle school: Banana Tales by CodeMonkey, Hopscotch, Blockly Games, Swift Playgrounds
- High school: Code.org and Twine
To maximize your efforts, create free time for coding games. For instance, invite students to play games at the end of the day on Tuesdays. And don’t forget to set the time limit. Depending on the age of your students, a gaming session can last from 15 to 60 minutes.
Collaborate with Students’ Parents
If you want to succeed, you should encourage moms and dads to help their kids to develop new essential skills out of school.
As a teacher, you can collaborate with parents in a few ways. Firstly, you can ask them to substitute ordinary mobile games that kids play at home with the educational games that teach coding. You can recommend installing the same apps that you use in class or any other education apps that you find relevant.
Secondly, you can bring “Family Code Night” to your school. You can invite children K-5 to do their first hour of coding together with their parents. As you know, little learners like to share their excitement about what they’re learning with their moms and dads. So this school event will work really well.
Studies show that makerspaces in schools help educators to introduce core coding concepts to the schoolers in the most effective way. So if you don’t have a makerspace in your school, you should create one. You should equip a school library (or any vacant room) with stuff that will allow students to think outside the box and innovate:
- Craft supplies
- STEM bins
- Microcontroller kits
- The littleBits code kits
- Kano kits
- 3D printers
“The best thing about makerspaces is that they allow little learners to build 21st-century skills. Carrying out various creative experiments, students get inspired to create and innovate,” explains Marie Fincher, a tutor at TrustMyPaper and writer at GrabMyEssay.
Whatever way you choose, you should follow these rules:
- Start with basics. Don’t overwhelm schoolers with tons of information. Let them learn how to code step by step.
- Your primary goal is to help students master the skills necessary for coding. So you should focus on skills development rather than on code learning. You shouldn’t expect that children K-5 will become fluent in python programming.
- Give students a choice. Let them pick what website to alter and what STEM kit to use. Students should enjoy what they do. Otherwise, they will lose interest in coding.
As a teacher, you know your students better than any other. So only you can choose the best way to get started with coding in your classroom.
Just keep in mind that new coding games and educational techniques appear every day. So you should watch the trends in learning and teaching and do your best to keep up with changes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Bridgette Hernandez is a tutor and writer for BestEssayEducation. She contributes her articles to WowGrade, SupremeDissertations, and other reputable educational platforms. Bridgette enjoys working with kids and helping them to learn something new every day.