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.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Microsoft Arcade to introduce coding to both new and experienced coders. Share some ideas from the site on an interactive whiteboard (or with a projector), then have students experiment on their own. Encourage students who are comfortable with coding to become classroom experts and explain ideas to other students. Ask them to make recordings using Screencast-o-matic, reviewed here, to share tips, and demonstrate different features of coding. Use this tool with gifted students for a great challenge. Set up a coding activity center for interested students when they finish classwork or for rainy days and snow days. Share this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomInclude Construct3 with your other options for teaching coding to students. Take advantage of the included levels to differentiate learning based on knowledge of coding. If you are uncomfortable with coding, enlist students to become technology coaches in your classroom to teach and share their knowledge with others. Use and share Google Forms to create how-to guides for students to get started including images with tips and suggestions. Ask "in-the-know" students to enhance their learning and create one-page websites using Jimdo, reviewed here, sharing advice for individual games included in Construct3. As students become familiar with coding, have them use FlexClip, reviewed here to extend their learning by creating simple explainer videos detailing how to build and share personalized games.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the varying levels included with Blockly Games to introduce and develop coding skills with your students. After sharing the site on your interactive whiteboard, add a link to this site on classroom computers for use as a coding center. Include Blockly Games with your other coding resources using a bookmarking tool like Symbaloo, reviewed here, to share links in one single tool. As students learn about coding, enhance technology use by asking them to reflect upon their learning through blogs. Edublogs, reviewed here, is a free blogging platform developed for classroom use. Modify technology use by asking students to include screenshots of their work and discuss their problem-solving tips as they work through the different levels of coding skills. Use a screenshot tool such as Nimbus Screenshot Capture, reviewed here. As students become more proficient in using code, ask them to create their own games using Blockly, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 6
In the ClassroomTake advantage of these free materials to plan your Hour of Code activities for your school or classroom. Although created for Hour of Code, use these materials to create student interest in computer science at any time. Find many other coding activities and tutorials for all ability levels at Code, reviewed here. Instead of using the invitation provided in this activity, enhance learning and have students personalize and create their own flyer and invitations using Canva, reviewed here. Use Canva after your activity to send thank you notes to volunteers. Extend learning and have students share their coding stories (including successes and failures) using FlipGrid, reviewed here. Encourage students to continue to learn about coding and computer science using Scratch, reviewed here, to create their own learning games.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomBe sure to check with your Technology Department, as many districts require authorization to download or install new applications. Plan ahead as you request that this application be installed on your classroom or laptop cart computers. Share Sinespace on classroom computers and allow students to create and explore on their own. Consider sharing with "tech savvy" students first and let them learn how to create within the site's program. After some students become experts, share Sinespace with other students to begin learning how to work within a virtual environment. Use an infographic creation tool like Canva, reviewed here, to create and share tips for using Sinespace. Once students learn how to perform specific functions, ask them to create an explainer video for other students use using Adobe Spark Video Creator, reviewed here.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Premium version (not free) includes additional features or storage
Requires download/installation of software
In the ClassroomBenefit from the many features shared in this download to allow students to explore chemistry concepts through gameplay. This site offers many opportunities for problem-solving and decision making. Ask students to share some of their ideas through a podcast. Anchor, reviewed here, is a podcast creation tool that offers the ability to record or upload audio from your computer and add songs from Apple Music and Spotify. Have students share concepts learned through animated videos. My Simpleshow, reviewed here includes free tools for making simple explainer videos.
Grades6 to 12
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In the ClassroomThe Code Player is an excellent tool for anyone who prefers to watch demonstrations to learn instead of reading or listening to directions. Depending on the coding abilities of your students, choose one of the demos to display on an interactive whiteboard or with a projector and learn together. Have groups of students choose a different coding format to complete an activity. Use this site as a model for you or your students to create your own screencasts sharing how-to projects with coding. Enhance learning by using a tool like Screencastify, reviewed here. Screencastify works with the Chrome browser to record your screen and capture audio recordings. Have more advanced students create their own coding projects for classroom use.
Grades6 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. Activities are self-paced, so differentiation is easy. However, it is still a good idea, if possible, to seat a more experienced computer user with one who is less experienced. 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.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomMake use of the features provided in the education edition of Minecraft to allow learning through gameplay. Ask students to use the camera and portfolio features to document decision making and progress through games. Use features within the game to learn about history, for example, have students import 3-dimensional structures such as the Roman Colosseum to explore and create experiences from that time. Instruct students to create a story for creative writing projects. Encourage students to retell a story through a Minecraft experience. Use Minecraft features to teach math lessons on shape, volume, area, and more. Discover more ideas at Minecraft Hour of Code Tutorials, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomMake coding part of science inquiry or math logic in any classroom. Include it as part of scientific method or discussions about careers in science. You may even want to portray coding as just another "world language" in today's world. Be sure to look at all the implementation advice before introducing these extensive coding resources to your class. It would be wise to complete the Hour of Code yourself, so you will feel comfortable helping students if they get stuck. Better yet, invite a few students to do an hour with you after school and learn together! You will have a team of "techsperts" to help their peers. Plan an hour of Code on nationally designated days or on your own calendar! Invite the PTA/PTO to host a coding event. Select a video from this site to use to introduce Computer Science to your students. If 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. Encourage students to help each other when they have difficulty. Share this on your website for students to use at home, too.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomDownload Hippani's software onto classroom computers to learn basic coding skills. Students will quickly catch on to this program when allowed to explore and see what they can make. Then, for those who show an aptitude for coding, take advantage of the free 30-day use of the professional edition. Have students browse through the gallery and tutorials to learn about the features of Hippani. Allow them to explore and create on their own as part of your MakerSpace or as a center. Challenge students to use this software to create animated GIFs such as demonstrating how simple machines work, changes in landforms over time, or significant events from novels.
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.
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 9
tag(s): animation (60), coding (75), computational thinking (30), critical thinking (100), digital storytelling (131), gamification (79), musical notation (32), problem solving (220), social media (46), sports (81), stories and storytelling (29)
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. Extend learning by challenging students or groups to create videos explaining their creations using Adobe Spark Video Creator, 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.
Great resource for all ages, more appropriate for middle school and above.Melissa, , Grades: 0 - 5