Thursday, October 29, 2015

Code Workshop: Learning Code: So Easy Even a Zombie Can Learn

I offered a Code Workshop to grades 6-8 at each lunch shift on Tuesdays. We began here.

1. Start with the Hour of Code. You can print a certificate at the end.
2. Then I took kids through several learning games: Anna and Elsa, the tutorial featuring Zombies vs. plants, and Flappy Birds.

3. Many students flew through the tutorials. Really, everything you need is right here. Let kids explore. I stayed a few steps ahead of them--most of the time.
4. After exploring code.org, we graduated to Code Academy learning html and JavaScript.
5. We also spent many hours  in Khan Academy.
6. You may also want to check out Scratch.

Using all the free websites, programs, and games is bound to keep your coders happy for the entire year and then some!

Outcome: I saw all types of kids in the library. Many of the older students I hadn't seen in some time began coming in for coding. On Wednesday-Friday, students who wanted to code could come in at lunch and use computers on their own. Once you turn them loose, you will be surprised what they build. The one rule: Keep only on sites that we had already visited as a group. If they found something on another site from home, they could share that with me and I would decide whether or not to share with the entire group.

Word gets around quickly. I had teachers coming to me within days and wondering what the heck coding is? What are the students talking about? What is going on in the library?

Pretty soon,  I was answering questions on the phone from other schools and emails from far and wide. Visitors came to see the kids using code and tweeted out news.

Don't be afraid to try this! It's fun! And as our posters around school say: Even a zombie can learn code!

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