4 Tips for a Successful Hour of Code
What’s your goal for Hour of Code? Whether it’s introducing your students to coding, helping them develop existing skills, or just trying something new – we’re right there with you. Hour of Code is a great opportunity to zero in on the importance of coding in our changing world! Here are four ways to make this Hour of Code your best one yet:
1. Make it student-directed (with a little guidance)
We know it can be hard to find learning activities that grab kids’ attention – that’s why Tynker’s Hour of Code provides a diverse array of activities for all students! Activities are leveled K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. Students can pit dragons against each other in our popular puzzle Code Monsters, collect candy in Candy Quest, or bring an astronaut home with Lost in Space.
Do-it-yourself projects emphasize that programming requires a grasp of a coding language, as well as creativity and computational thinking. Budding artists in your classroom may gravitate to DIY projects like Pattern Maker or Spin Draw, and little comedians will have fun making their own joke come to life with Knock-Knock Joke. Students who love video games will be excited to make their own with our Platformer Starter Kit, and music lovers can choreograph a cool Monster High music video!
2. Create opportunities for differentiated learning
When one child helps teach another, both benefit. Peer learning is incredibly important – it has been shown to help kids strengthen their understanding of a subject while also building social skills and connections. Explaining why their solution works forces kids to understand the code on a much deeper level and results in greater retention. It’s also a huge confidence boost for a student to be able to step into the role of a teacher and help another student!
3. Allow them to “fail forward”
When your child or student is struggling to complete an activity, it’s natural to want to jump in and explain it to them, but pause before you do – when learning to code, mistakes often teach you the most. Give students time to experiment with one of the most important skills in coding: debugging. It’s important for them to get wrong answers and figure out what’s going wrong. It can be frustrating to struggle with the same problem for a while, but they’ll build persistence and grit along the way. It’s great for a student’s confidence to finally solve a difficult problem!
There’s a difference between feeling frustrated and demoralized, so if it seems like a student is getting close to giving up, feel free to give a hint! We provide answer keys for all our puzzle sets.
4. Encourage them to make with code
Kids love completing puzzle sets, like Monster High, Hot Wheels, Dragon Dash, Code Commander, and Debugger – but the most gratifying part of programming is the opportunity to create and customize something of their own! Our puzzle sets cover basic computer science concepts, such as sequencing, loops, and conditional logic, so after they’ve completed one (or all!) of them, kids are ready to start creating with code. You’ll be amazed by their creativity and what they come up with!
Encourage students to continue working on their programs outside of class. In our experience, kids love the opportunity to create projects and experiment with programming, and they voluntarily continue projects at home.
Bonus: Tynker Tip!
If you haven’t already, we recommend that you create a free teacher account. When you add your classroom to your account, we automatically load all our 30+ HOC activities into your students’ dashboards – all they have to do is log in! If you’ve already created accounts for your students, you’re all set for Hour of Code, and we’re ready to track their progress. Be sure to check out our full coding courses and make programming a regular part of your curriculum!