Bring the Hour of Code™ to Your Classroom—Even if You’re a Newbie

Our favorite Hour of Code activities for all experience levels.

Bring the Hour of Code to Your Classroom Even If You're a Newbie

This fall around the globe, hundreds of classrooms will participate in the Hour of Code, a celebration of all things computer science and programming. Traditionally held in December during Computer Science Education Week (December 3–9 this year), the hour can be adopted anytime of year that works for your classroom. The best part? It doesn’t matter if you’re a coding newbie or an expert in order to bring it all to life. Here are some of our favorite Hour of Code activities for students and teachers at all levels. 

Hour of Code activities for coding beginners …

1. Get started with a little inspiration.

2. Brush up on your professional development.

Coding, no matter what hour, day, or season, should be a safe space for imagination and innovation—and that includes a teacher’s comfort level! Get the basics down and ground yourself with a free online learning platform to enhance your own skills, stay up to date on the latest technology, and do it on your own time. Check out Wonder Workshop’s Teach Wonder learning platform.

3. Make fun and games the focus.

Hour of Code has an official site with a ton of beginner-level tutorials. That’s not only great for students new to the coding world, but it’s a relief for teachers just stepping their foot in the door. Will you fix a robot’s brain? Find the buried treasure or maybe design a Google logo? Have your class vote on a few ahead of the hour and plan to use the winner!

4. Short on screens? Team up or go unplugged.

It’s smart to plan your technology needs for the hour; however, if you’re short on screens, do pair programming so students work in teams. Work as a class on a projected screen, using on- or offline coding challenges. No screens? No problem! Unplugged coding lessons are a great alternative. Consider binary-number games (the basis of all coding language), sorting efficiency, how computers and robots work through writing programming (who gets to be the robot first?!), and more with physical movement games.

Hour of Code activities for intermediate coders …

5. Mix it up with cross-curricular ideas. 

You’ve played with a robot or two and had your students explore some coding basics. Go to the next level and explore coding concepts in art, music, geography, social studies, languages, and more. Check out Wonder Workshop’s cross-curriculum library for activities to suit your grade and teaching style.

6. Try the Hour of Code activity challenges.

The Hour of Code offers activities and games that go beyond 30–60 minutes for students who are familiar with basic coding and computer science principles. Try coding in Python or Java, or doing some next-level design thinking with digital art. Choose “comfortable” in your activity searching to get started.

Hour of Code activities for coding experts …

7. Think beyond the hour. Lead a robotics team!

Take your teaching prowess and students’ love for coding and robotics on a great journey with a robotics club or team! It’s easier than you think to organize and maintain. These fearless teachers told us about their journey with the Wonder League Robotics Competition.

8. Be leaders in the coding and robotics movement for your community!

You and your students’ wonderful experience with coding and robotics is full of leadership potential. Make that contagious and pass on the STEAM passion! Hosting an Hour of Code is an awesome start. Enlist local groups, like scout troops, churches, veteran groups, after-school clubs, and more. Check out Hour of Code’s resources to spread the word, including videos, posters, social shares, and more.

The Hour of Code™ is a nationwide initiative by Computer Science Education Week and Code.org to introduce millions of students to one hour of computer science and computer programming.

Remember, you can take an online personal development course from Wonder Workshop to sharpen those skills before your Hour of Code (or anytime). Get prepped to teach wonder!

Posted by Jenn Horton

Jenn is an editor for WeAreTeachers and SchoolLeadersNow. She used to work for Oprah for over a decade, teaching folks to "Live Their Best Lives" online and in real life...and she continues to try that herself too (mostly). Her work has appeared on WebMD, CNN, Amazon and various online publications. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two kiddos.

Leave a reply

Check out this week's must-read teacher stories.Go Now >>
+