TeachersFirst's Coding in the Classroom
This editor's choice offers a curated list of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst selected to help teachers and students learn about coding, and for use as a guide for finding the appropriate tools for use with all grade and skill levels. Nurture problem solving, logic, and creativity with the many ideas found in the “In the Classroom” portion of the reviews. Find resources for just one hour of code or for use as ongoing technology lessons. Explore these resources for use with after-school computer clubs or as an excellent tool when recruiting skilled parent volunteers. Turn the intimidating content of computer programming into an exciting learning adventure for all with these helpful sites!
View our entire list of resources that are tagged Coding.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomCoding is an excellent way to teach critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Use this site as homework, a center, or in a lab setting. The site offers different levels, so differentiation is built in. Explain to students that coding is a critical skill in today's world filled with technology and will also be a valuable skill in the job market. Many jobs that will require coding do not yet exist. Put a link to this tool on your class website, blog, or wiki. Encourage advanced students to enter the monthly competitions offered on CodeChef.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Thimble as an excellent tool for students to learn to code through simple projects. Thimble doesn't offer step-by-step directions, so it is more useful for students who love to explore and interact on their own. Have students use Thimble's Remixes to create comic book explanations of science concepts or social studies events. Use the Six Word Summer Teaching Toolkit as a great way to teach summarizing, and of course, this toolkit for summarizing will work for many other topics!
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomCoding is an excellent way to teach critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Use this site as homework, a center, or in a lab setting. Courses are self-paced, so differentiation is easy. Explain to students that coding is a critical skill in today's world filled with technology and will also be a valuable skill in the job market. Many jobs that will require coding do not yet exist. Put a link to this tool on your class website, blog, or wiki. Since registration is via email, for young students consider using a "class set" of Gmail subaccounts, explained here; this tells how to configure Gmail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. Using Gmail subaccounts will provide anonymous interaction within your class.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Dash to learn basic coding skills. Students will quickly catch on to this program when allowed to explore and see what they can make. Provide a simple assignment with defined rules/tasks to learn the tools. Younger students may familiarize themselves more easily working with a partner. Be sure to recommend that students "ask three before me" (the teacher). When finished with these lessons, move to other free tools such as Scratch, reviewed here. Teachers of even very young gifted students can turn them loose with these challenges when they have already mastered the math or science curriculum. Have them create a creature they can explain to the class or share with gifted peers in other classrooms.
Grades5 to 12
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In the ClassroomCreate a coding center in your classroom using Vidcode. Encourage students to use the tutorials to create projects to include with any multimedia presentation. Have students make their multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge Multimedia tools, reviewed here. Some tool suggestions are (click on the tool name to access the review): Piktochart, Lucidpress, Powtoon, and theLearnia. Use Vidcode projects as part of any after-school or recess/lunch coding club activity.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
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In the ClassroomCardboard2Code would be perfect for use as an independent or group learning station. Share these modules with students interested in learning to code. Include a link on your class website to the modules for students to complete at home. Locate a volunteer with coding skills to work with your class to complete modules.
Grades5 to 9
tag(s): animation (64), coding (50), critical thinking (111), digital storytelling (146), gamification (69), musical notation (35), problem solving (273), social media (15), sports (97), stories and storytelling (33)
In the ClassroomCreate a club in your classroom as part of your STEM activities, as a lunch/recess club, or an at-home activity for students. Use the flyers and presentation materials provided to create interest in the club. Differentiate clubs by student interests and abilities. Share Google CS First with your school's media or tech leader as an excellent resource for teaching coding. This site is perfect for those who want to learn more about coding, but have some hesitancy since all materials from creating a group through the lessons are free. If you still have some doubts, enlist the services of a tech-savvy high school student to help with activities as part of their volunteering requirements.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomCreate a link on classroom computers for use as centers. Use the text options for students to use with digital storytelling. This site is perfect for differentiating different levels of coding skills. Allow students to explore at their own pace, then share their creations with classmates. Challenge students or groups to create videos explaining their creations using theLearnia, reviewed here, and share them on a site such as TeacherTube, reviewed here. Be sure to add a link to your class website for students to practice at home.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse these tutorials to provide coding instruction for students at all ability levels. Make coding part of science inquiry or math logic in any classroom. Include it in the context of the scientific method or discussions about careers in science. You may even want to portray coding as just another "world language" in today's world. If you are looking for more ways to use coding in the classroom, check out TeachersFirst's Coding in the Classroom page.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThe course is self-paced, so differentiation is easy. Explain to students that coding is a critical skill in today's tech-filled world and will be a valuable skill in the job market. Compare coding to just another "world language." Put a link to this tool on a class website, blog, or wiki. Look for more ways to use coding in the classroom on the TeachersFirst's Coding in the Classroom page, here. Make JS part of science inquiry or math logic in any classroom. Besides the intrinsic factors that come with learning to code, students will be motivated by badges. Set up a coding activity center for interested students when they finish class work or for rainy days and snow days. Coding is an excellent way to teach critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Use this site as homework, a classroom center, or in a lab setting.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomBrowse through the menu of activities in each of the certifications to find lessons for stand-alone topics such as adding images to websites or working with different HTML features. Sign up isn't necessary to view lessons, only to save progress when working through certifications. Share FreeCodeCamp with students who have an interest in coding and computers. Encourage students to complete certifications to include with college applications. Share with students who may not have an interest in college, but have an interest in computers, coding, and gaming.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomIf you only have a few computers, introduce this tool using a projector or interactive whiteboard and bookmark it as a learning station with earbuds/headphones. Allow students to explore and learn on their own at classroom computer centers or individual laptops. Sketch Nation is an engaging interactive to learn basic coding skills even for younger students. Encourage learning by telling them to ask three other students first before asking the teacher AND that it is okay if we learn it together. Once students get the hang of beginning programming tips, encourage them to make apps, games, or digital stories for other courses such as videos explaining photosynthesis, book readings from authors, famous battles from history, or different genres of music and art. Have students use a storyboard to write down what they plan to do/draw/say with their creation, and to keep tabs on students and their progress. For creating digital storyboards see Amazon Storybuilder, reviewed here, or Storyboard Generator, reviewed here. Share this on your website for students to use at home, too. Sketch Nation Create teaches the basics. Those students who show a keen interest in coding could learn more by using a program such as Anybody Can Learn to Code, reviewed here, Kodable, reviewed here, or Codeacademy, reviewed here.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomAlthough only the introductory lessons are free, they provide excellent tutorials for beginners. Create a link on classroom computers for students to learn at their own pace and develop an interest in pursuing further coding instruction. If you are looking for more ways to use coding in the classroom, check out TeachersFirst's Coding in the Classroom page. Make coding part of science inquiry or math logic in any classroom. Include it as part of the scientific method or discussions about careers in science. You may even want to portray coding as just another "world language" in today's world.
Grades6 to 12
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