Hour of Code which usually happens in early December is a good reminder to educators (and parents alike) that learning about science and technology should be taken seriously. Teachers across the world prepare a special program to teach the basics of coding to their students. In this short blog, we’ll offer you 5 tips for running a successful Hour of Code program for your students.
1) Plan, prepare, practice
It’s always a good idea to plan in advance. This should be a no brainer for a teacher who prepares lesson plans every single day. Beside writing a good lesson plan for your Hour of Code event, make sure everything else is ready: if you need to book the library or computer lab for the event, finalize the details with your librarian. Print all the handouts, certificates etc. Make sure there’s enough computers for all of your students, and everything is in good working order. It’s not even a bad idea to do a dry run of the event, even if a limited version of it.
2) It’s OK to ask for help!
Not everybody is supposed to be a computer programmer. So if you don’t feel comfortable in preparing for the event, it’s absolutely OK to ask for help: you can download a lesson plan on Hour of Code’s website; talk to your other colleagues who had run a similar program in the past. There’s also a list of volunteers on their website that can help you. But if you are looking for the best experience, you can book a workshop with a STEM education institute.
3) Make it appealing!
You know your students better than anybody. Try to plan a program that closely matches their interests. Are they more into arts? Do they prefer more of group games and physical action? Genius Owl has a variety of STEM programs each tailored match different groups of kids.
4) Inspire your students
Let your students widen their horizons by listening to an inspiring presentation. You can invite a parent or a local volunteer to talk about the possibilities that computer science, robotics, artificial intelligence and other related issues can offer them. It’s going to be a long lasting experience for your students. Out of the 5 tips for running a successful hour of code that we presented here, it could be one of the most important ones. If you couldn’t find any speaker, play a video off the Hour of Code website.
5) Explore, Enjoy & Celebrate
And our last one of the 5 Tips to run a successful Hour of Code event is an overarching one. Hour of code is just a starting point. Sure you have a plan and have to go through it all, but if you notice students are really engaged and are exploring beyond what you have presented, let them continue. After all, teaching is just guiding your students on their journey of learning.
Have your own tips for running a successful Hour of Code?
And if on that journey you gathered your own invaluable experience that could help other teachers and students, please share!