Type of technology: Website
SAMR Model Rating: Redefinition
Grade level: TK-2
Subject area: Coding
I had never done anything with coding. In fact I didn’t even really know exactly what it was, but I didn’t want this to stop my students from learning about it. After all, by the time my first graders start their own careers 20 years from now, coding and computer science will be even more prevalent than it is today.
I heard about code.org and the “hour of code”, and about how to set up an account for my class and all of my students, and I was overwhelmed and hesitant to try something so new and foreign with my class. I didn’t think I had the time to figure out how to code and set up my class on code.org, let alone teach it to my students, but I was curious enough to at least go check out the website.
After spending a bit of time poking around, I found something I thought would be good for my students considering their age and ability, and good for me considering my lack of experience and time limitations. It took me a few weeks to build up the courage to try, but I am glad I did. It was very successful and positive experience for both myself and my students. They can’t wait to try it again.
So here’s what we did and how it went:
has courses on their website that anyone can access without setting up accounts for your students, which was exactly what I needed to get started.
I chose Course 1
, because it started off really easy, and my students didn’t have to read a bunch of instructions to participate. After all, they are 1st graders…so they are still learning how to read.
The students start off assembling puzzles. The puzzles eventually start to look like lines of code. Then, they start putting the lines together to get an angry bird’s character to move through a maze. The mazes get progressively harder as they work through the course. The program is set up so that students try again and again, until they get it correct. At one point the students had to match different lines of code to different mazes. There are also videos that help explain how to code and what coding is throughout the course. My students were engaged, excited, and challenged.
My class had so much fun coding, and it was interesting to see how quickly some of my students were able to figure it out. A few of my students who struggle the most with reading and math, were some of the best at coding. It made them feel proud and excited to learn something new.
Some people might ask, “Why is coding relevant for 1st graders?” My answer to this is, it is our job as educators to prepare our students for the future they will inherit, and computer programing is a big part of that future. A lot of what my students did on code.org was a lot like playing video games, but it was also valuable and educational on many levels. My students had to use a lot of problem solving skills to be successful, and they also had to keep trying again and again to figure out how to code. They learned what coding is and what it does. They also learned more about using web browsers, navigating websites, keyboarding, and using computers in general.
The only tricky part about doing a lesson on coding with my class, was getting everyone logged in to code.org, and even that was pretty easy. I don’t know why I was so nervous to try it out. I hope this post helps other teachers try coding with their class. My students are eager to do it again…and so am I.
*Special thanks to David Lovejoy (SBU Tech TOSA) who helped me with this lesson. I especially liked how he helped explain coding as a language like English or Spanish, that allows us to talk to computers and tell them what to do.