The future involves a lot of code. Helping children learn how to code when they are younger gives these kids more opportunities in life. That being said, it can be hard to know where to start. By using what you have learned from wonderful teaching programs such as Teach for America and others, you have a good starting point. Read on to discover how you can teach coding to elementary students without stressing.
Review Common Websites and Programs that Teach Children How to Code
For kids in elementary school, focus on teaching them the right principles first rather than one particular coding language. For example, students in the United States tend to take Algebra 2 before they can take a Calculus course. The reason all revolves around the fact that students need a great foundation or they end up getting frustrated.
Coderkids.com has an excellent list of the top 10 free coding programs for kids. Explore each one. While you do so, think about the ages of your current elementary students.
If they are in first and second grade, they might find doing any of the coding programs on that list difficult because there is a lot of reading involved. There are other options available for younger elementary school kids. Take a look at these fun games that prepare students to think like programmers.
Evaluate Your Resources
If you are in a program like Teach for America, you most likely are dedicated to educating others. Similarly, you probably received some training in teaching.
Even so, this can be a daunting task. Children need coding lesson plans that are fun and engaging but appropriate for their age. Luckily, there are lesson plans along, nonprofits that will come do activities with students, and your ability to come up with lesson plans. The best part is none of that involves money.
Now that you are aware of some of the options available to you, think about how much time you can spend teaching your elementary students how to code. Remember to account for anytime you might need to spend outside of the classroom.
Choose the Best Lesson Plan
As mentioned earlier, there are many ways to teach your students how to code. That being said, you need to put together a program that works for your needs. In that case, we need to go back and think about how much time will be spent teaching them.
If it will only be less than an hour each school day for a few weeks, you might want to focus on just getting them into the right mindset. This can be done by letting them play one of the fun games mentioned earlier. In addition, you might be able to get volunteers from the community to speak about how they use code in their jobs.
Let’s say that you have a semester or an entire school year to teach your students how to code. In this case, you can think about a small project you want students to accomplish while still inviting guests and companies to talk to them about programming.
Give Them the Tools to Keep Learning
You can only teach so much. Empower your students by letting them know about coding opportunities they can do outside the class. For instance, you can give them a list of free coding programs or classes for their age.