6 Tips for Success with Hour of Code
The Hour of Code is approaching! This year, Tynker is offering dozens of fun new activities appropriate for diverse interests, ages, and experience levels.
Watch this video to learn more about hosting an Hour of Code with Tynker.
1. Plan ahead
If you’re reading this blog post, you’re already ahead of the game. Prior to Hour of Code, we recommend that you create a free teacher account on tynker.com that will allow you to access answer keys and teacher guides, add your students, assign free lessons to them, monitor their progress, and share their creations. If you’ve already created accounts for your students, you’re totally ready. They’ll be able to log in and start coding.
Explore the Hour of Code teacher page and check out all the activities Tynker offers. You can even play through some of them yourself before Hour of Code and choose your favorites for your class.
2. Give students options depending on their interests
Tynker’s Hour of Code has a diverse array of activities for students. Tynker offers a combination of structured and open-ended activities that teach programming concepts and allow students to create with code, both of which are important parts of learning to program.
If your students are new to programming, they should complete at least 10 levels of a puzzle set before creating their own do-it-yourself project with code. We suggest that you pick a sequence of activities while still allowing students enough options so that they can find something that appeals to their interests.
For puzzle sets, Tynker offers Monster High, Hot Wheels, Candy Quest, Dragon Dash, Code Commander, Code Monsters, Debugger, and Lost in Space. Puzzle sets cover basic computer science concepts, such as sequencing, repetition with loops, and conditional logic. After completing any of these puzzle sets, students will be ready to start creating with code.
Do-it-yourself projects emphasize that programming requires not only knowledge of how to use a language, but also creativity and critical thinking to figure out how to build projects. First-time programmers can start by creating animation and storytelling projects with their favorite characters from Peep and the Big Wide World with DIY projects Dance with Friends and Nature Walk. Artistic students might enjoy Pattern Maker or Spin Draw and students with a great sense of humor will love making their own joke with Knock-Knock Joke. Students who love video games will be excited to make their own with our Platformer Starter Kit and students who love music can choreograph a cool Monster High music video.
3. Let students teach each other
When one student helps another student, both students benefit. Explaining why your solution works forces you 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. We often see students who struggle academically really excel with programming. Being able to share their understanding with another student is a great feeling.
4. Allow students to make mistakes
When a student is struggling to complete an activity, it’s natural to want to jump in and explain it to them. But the great thing about learning to code is that it’s often the mistakes that teach you the most. Give students time to experiment with getting wrong answers and figure out what’s going wrong. This is called debugging and it’s one of the most important skills in coding. It can be frustrating to struggle with the same problem for a while, but it’s great for a student’s confidence to finally solve a difficult problem.
However, be careful not to let students get demoralized. If it seems like a student is getting close to giving up, feel free to give a hint. If you don’t know the answer yourself, we provide answer keys for all our puzzle sets.
5. Encourage students to create with code
Kids love completing puzzle sets, but the most gratifying part of programming is the opportunity to create and customize a project that they can show off to their friends and family. Children are incredibly creative and programming allows them to bring their ideas to life in a really cool way.
6. Continue the momentum
After the Hour of Code, select a few outstanding projects and easily share them in an online showcase. You can share this with parents, other educators, and on social media. Make sure to tag us at @goTynker and #HourofCode. We love seeing what students create with Tynker!
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 will voluntarily continue projects at home.
Tell your students that they can create an account on Tynker for free and use it to save and share their projects, explore Tynker’s educational resources, and make many more projects on their own.
If you enjoyed your Hour of Code with Tynker, check out our full programming courses and consider making programming a regular extension of your curriculum.
Have a great Hour of Code!