Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hour of Code: Computer Science Education Week

If you spend any amount of time reading education blogs, it's likely that you have heard of the Hour of Code over the past few weeks. This week- December 9-15, marks National Computer Science Education Week and educators all over the world are pledging to teach an Hour of Code.

So, what does that mean? Basically, students are learning basic computer programming skills. In my opinion, this is as important as learning a second language. There are so many fantastic resources available for teaching children basic coding skills... regardless of your personal experience and level of comfort. Still not convinced? Check out this great TED talk that Alison over at Rockin' and Lovin'
 Learnin' shared recently. Super powerful.

Here are a few awesome resources to try out in your classroom- this week- or ANY week!


Hour of Code Website- The Hour of Code Website has listed and created several guided resources to implement in your classroom right away. The tutorials found on this site are designed to be easy and engaging for students. They even have some great offline options for your students.

Tynker- Tynker is a web-based program with guided tutorials and tasks for the students to complete. The program does require student accounts and you can easily create these under a FREE teacher account. They have a few great guided options currently available specifically for the Hour of Code.

Scratch is a fantastic web-based programming tool for kids of all ages. Your students can easily create and share stories, games, and animations. Scratch also has a fun Interactive Holiday Card Hour of Code project going on right now. 


Daisy the Dinosaur is a SUPER simple coding app designed with the littlest learners in mind. The FREE app includes a variety of challenges for students to complete. The drag-and-drop coding user interface is simple and easy to use. Prior to introducing Hopscotch, my kiddos completed the challenges in Daisy the Dinosaur.

Hopscotch: My kiddos LOVE this app. Since our initial HOC plan fell through, we used Hopscotch. Full disclosure- my lesson wasn't stellar.... The kids had completed the challenge tasks in Daisy the Dinosaur and then explored in Hopscotch. As we moved forward, we tried class challenges like, "Who can find a way to add more than one character?" or "Who can find a way to resize their character?" The kids loved exploring. I am looking forward to introducing some more formal challenges in the coming week.

Also, now I know, Hopscotch has a great guided Hour of Code tutorial to use with your kiddos. Simple! 

A word of caution- have a back up plan! We got our laptops set up today, we logged in and we were ready to roll on a web-based tool... then we waited... and waited... and waited. Since so many classrooms and kiddos are logging on and using some of the web-based resources, it seems like we experienced more crashes and issues than we have in the past.  It's not a bad idea to have an app or some sort of back-up activity planned for offline use! We just put the laptops away and hopped onto the iPad lab and used Hopscotch. It was PERFECT!

My kiddos had a blast and this is a skill that I plan to incorporate into our classroom during our Genius Hour for the remainder of the year. It is something that I wish I had learned growing up and am looking forward to learning alongside my students!

Have you completed an Hour of Code with your students? Which tool did you use?
Leave it in the comments!

Stay Connected,


  1. We just did this today- some of my students absolutely loved it and some were less than enthused ("this is hard"), but the overall response was "So cool!" :-)

    Real Teachers Learn

  2. Thanks so much for the shout out, Kate! We have been LOVING the Hour of Code this week. One of my students is fluent in 10 different programming languages and he could barely stand to wait for this to happen. He is so in his element and his enthusiasm just radiates to the other other students. This has definitely been a phenomenal week in my class and so many others across the world...I'm sure of it!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  3. I finally got to do the Hour of Code today! My kids loved it! Check out my post on HOC at Keep Calm and Hoot On


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