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Coding for Littles

Sometimes people ask me what I do for a living. And, when they do, I typically tell them I am a technology teacher. Then, I go into detail about how I am a technology coach, who works with multiple school sites and grades K-12. Let me tell you, it's a crowd pleaser and an incredible ice breaker. 

More times than not, the next question is, "What do you teach kindergartners?"  My favorite response is, "Coding?" I it know seems outlandish to think that 5 years olds can learn to code, but it's true. Let's be clear, they aren't typing out extravagant code, while drinking Big Gulps and grubbing on Domino's. But, what they are learning is the foundation of programming. You've got to start somewhere, and it might as well be in the kinder classroom!

Here are a few coding apps and sites that you and your students will love.

Code.org - Web-based
Code.org® is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities. Their vision is that every student in every school has the opportunity to learn computer science, just like biology, chemistry or algebra. Code.org provides the leading curriculum for K-12 computer science in the largest school districts in the United States and Code.org also organizes the annual Hour of Code campaign which has engaged 15% of all students in the world. Get started here.

Kodable - Free and Paid versions available for iOS and Web users
Kodable has built a full-fledged coding curriculum for kids ages 4-10. Kindergartners can learn basic programming logic and build from there so that by the time they're in fifth grade, they're writing JavaScript code. Here's a little 8 minute video to get you started.

LightBot: Code Hour  Free app for iOS and Android
LightBot: Code Hour is a puzzle game built for first time coders based on coding that secretly teaches you programming logic as you play! What better way to learn than to not even know you're learning? Users must program a robot to navigate a small cuboid course using a series of commands and a limited number of moves. LightBot: Code Hour gives kids 20 puzzle levels to work through using instruction sequencing, procedures, loops, and other coding basics. 
LightBot Resources

ScratchJr Free app for iOS, Android, and ChromeOS
Coding is the new literacy! With ScratchJr, young children (ages 5-7) can program their own interactive stories and games. In the process, they learn to solve problems, design projects, and express themselves creatively on the computer.
ScratchJr Activities
I typically start off describing the interface of ScratchJr. You know, we look at the screen together, and I share what the different buttons do. Then, I have them mirror what I'm showing on the projector with the help of the ScratchJr Activities page. The cool thing about using these activities as an introduction is that you can show the code on the projector and ask students to do the same coding on their device. No accounts are created, so make sure students reuse the same devices each time they revisit ScratchJr.



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