TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Nov 29, 2020

Here are this week's features. Clicking the tags in the description area of each listing will present a list of other resources with this topic. | Click here to return to the Featured Sites Archive

 

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Blockly - Google

Grades
4 to 12
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Blockly is an open source library of drag and drop blocks to use for generating computer codes. Use each block to stack and add information to create code in an ...more
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Blockly is an open source library of drag and drop blocks to use for generating computer codes. Use each block to stack and add information to create code in an infinite number of ways. After creating your work using Blockly, use the drop-down box to view and copy the code in JavaScript, Python, and other coding formats. For full instructions on using Blockly, be sure to follow the link for Guides at the top of the Blockly home page.

tag(s): coding (78), computers (107), game based learning (160), STEM (215)

In the Classroom

Use Blockly as an interesting way to introduce coding to your class for beginners and experienced coders. Display Blockly on your interactive whiteboard or projector as you explore the different features of the site, then have students create and explore on their own. To generate ideas on how to use Blockly, have students practice using Blockly at Blockly Games, reviewed here. After school clubs can use Blockly to learn to code. Use this tool with gifted students for a great challenge. Set up a coding activity center for interested students when they finish class work or for rainy days and snow days. Share this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.
 

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Disney Hour of Code Digital Toolkit - Moana: Wayfinding with Code - Disney and Code.org

Grades
2 to 6
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Participate in Hour of Code activities using Disney's Moana as an engaging introduction to computer science. This site includes videos, a printable toolkit, and a hands-on coding adventure...more
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Participate in Hour of Code activities using Disney's Moana as an engaging introduction to computer science. This site includes videos, a printable toolkit, and a hands-on coding adventure geared toward students ages eight through twelve. There is information in the toolkit sharing suggestions for preparing for your Hour of Code activities including coordinating volunteers and providing the appropriate technology needed for the session.

tag(s): coding (78), STEM (215)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of these free materials to plan your Hour of Code activities for your school or classroom. Although created for Hour of Code, use these materials to create student interest in computer science at any time. Find many other coding activities and tutorials for all ability levels at Code, reviewed here. Instead of using the invitation provided in this activity, enhance learning and have students personalize and create their own flyer and invitations using Canva, reviewed here. Use Canva after your activity to send thank you notes to volunteers. Extend learning and have students share their coding stories (including successes and failures) using FlipGrid, reviewed here. Encourage students to continue to learn about coding and computer science using Scratch, reviewed here, to create their own learning games.
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Learning with Santa Tracker - Google

Grades
K to 8
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Google for Education provides a collection of games and lesson plans tailor-made for the December holidays at their site for teachers. Choose from games for social studies, language,...more
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Google for Education provides a collection of games and lesson plans tailor-made for the December holidays at their site for teachers. Choose from games for social studies, language, computer science, and geography. Games include topics like coding, learning other languages, and understanding maps. Further down the home page choose from lesson plans offered in several languages. Each lesson plan is offered for different grade levels and are available in PDF for easy download. Lessons also correlate to national teaching standards.

tag(s): christmas (46), coding (78), cross cultural understanding (148), cultures (115), game based learning (160), holidays (138), map skills (71), maps (286)

In the Classroom

Add this site to your tool kit of December teaching resources. Include the games on classroom computers and add to your class website. Replace paper posters and have students share their favorite activities using an on line poster creator like Web Poster Wizard, reviewed here, or PicLits, reviewed here. After practicing coding using the games provided on this site, enhance learning by challenging students to create their own game using a tool such as Scratch, reviewed here.
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Minecraft Hour of Code Tutorials - code.org

Grades
2 to 12
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Use code to make your own Minecraft game or learn the basics of computer coding by moving characters through a Minecraft world with these Hour of Code activities. These activities ...more
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Use code to make your own Minecraft game or learn the basics of computer coding by moving characters through a Minecraft world with these Hour of Code activities. These activities teach and reinforce coding skills through the familiar Minecraft game. After watching a video introduction, you will follow instructions to place code to move characters within the game. Free resources include a lesson plan, videos, computer science curriculum, and and teacher training.

tag(s): coding (78), computational thinking (33), computers (107), critical thinking (114), design (87), problem solving (277), STEM (215)

In the Classroom

Make coding part of science inquiry or math logic in any classroom. Include it as part of scientific method or discussions about careers in science. You may even want to portray coding as just another "world language" in today's world. Be sure to look at all the implementation advice before introducing these extensive coding resources to your class. It would be wise to complete the Hour of Code yourself, so you will feel comfortable helping students if they get stuck. Better yet, invite a few students to do an hour with you after school and learn together! You will have a team of "techsperts" to help their peers. Plan an hour of Code on nationally designated days or on your own calendar! Invite the PTA/PTO to host a coding event. Select a video from this site to use to introduce Computer Science to your students. If you only have a few computers, introduce this tool using a projector or interactive whiteboard and bookmark it as a learning station with earbuds/headphones. Encourage students to help each other when they have difficulty. Share this on your website for students to use at home, too.

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CodeChef for Schools - Directi

Grades
8 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
   
CodeChef for Schools offers computer programming training and competitions. After registering as a New User, choose the Get Started button to begin as a newbie and explore frequently...more
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CodeChef for Schools offers computer programming training and competitions. After registering as a New User, choose the Get Started button to begin as a newbie and explore frequently asked questions. Choose the practice area to hone skills from beginner level through challenge level. Compete in monthly competitions with other coders from around the globe. Middle and high school students will appreciate the lunchtime contests (find this on the CodeChef for Schools page), an introduction to competitive coding, targeted for their age group. These take place the last Saturday of each month, and specific times are posted on the site. The demonstration videos reside on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable.

tag(s): coding (78), competitions (12), computational thinking (33), computers (107), critical thinking (114), problem solving (277), STEM (215)

In the Classroom

Coding is an excellent way to teach critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Use this site as homework, a center, or in a lab setting. The site offers different levels, so differentiation is built in. Explain to students that coding is a critical skill in today's world filled with technology and will also be a valuable skill in the job market. Many jobs that will require coding do not yet exist. Put a link to this tool on your class website, blog, or wiki. Encourage advanced students to enter the monthly competitions offered on CodeChef.

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Dash - General Assembly

Grades
4 to 12
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Dash is an interactive, online learn to code program. Use Dash to practice HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to build a website, blog theme, CSS robot, or your own mad libs ...more
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Dash is an interactive, online learn to code program. Use Dash to practice HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to build a website, blog theme, CSS robot, or your own mad libs game. Choose your project, then follow prompts in each accompanying slide show to add coding and receive feedback. Dash also highlights skills learned to view progress throughout tutorials. Click on any learned skill for a quick review lesson. The one-minute intro video resides on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the video may not be viewable.

tag(s): coding (78), computational thinking (33), computers (107), critical thinking (114), problem solving (277), STEM (215)

In the Classroom

Use Dash to learn basic coding skills. Students will quickly catch on to this program when allowed to explore and see what they can make. Provide a simple assignment with defined rules/tasks to learn the tools. Younger students may familiarize themselves more easily working with a partner. Be sure to recommend that students "ask three before me" (the teacher). When finished with these lessons, move to other free tools such as Scratch, reviewed here. Teachers of even very young gifted students can turn them loose with these challenges when they have already mastered the math or science curriculum. Have them create a creature they can explain to the class or share with gifted peers in other classrooms.

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Google CS First - Google

Grades
5 to 9
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Google CS First is a program for clubs to increase access and teach computer science to 4th-8th-grade students. All training and materials are free for anyone in the U.S. Materials...more
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Google CS First is a program for clubs to increase access and teach computer science to 4th-8th-grade students. All training and materials are free for anyone in the U.S. Materials offer lessons based on themes such as storytelling, sports, social media, friends, and fashion and design. In addition to lesson materials, Google CS provides online training information for club leaders. If you are participating in Hour of Code, be sure to see their many one hour offerings.

tag(s): animation (64), coding (78), computational thinking (33), critical thinking (114), digital storytelling (134), gamification (79), musical notation (39), problem solving (277), social media (41), sports (92), stories and storytelling (31)

In the Classroom

Create a club in your classroom as part of your STEM activities, as a lunch/recess club, or an at-home activity for students. Use the flyers and presentation materials provided to create interest in the club. Differentiate clubs by student interests and abilities. Share Google CS First with your school's media or tech leader as an excellent resource for teaching coding. This site is perfect for those who want to learn more about coding, but have some hesitancy since all materials from creating a group through the lessons are free. If you still have some doubts, enlist the services of a tech-savvy high school student to help with activities as part of their volunteering requirements.

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Pencil Code Gym - David Bau

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Code your own art, music, and interactive fiction with Pencil Code Gym. The main language is Coffescript, but you can press the gear button to use HTML, Javascript, and CSS. ...more
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Code your own art, music, and interactive fiction with Pencil Code Gym. The main language is Coffescript, but you can press the gear button to use HTML, Javascript, and CSS. Follow instructions to code using drag and drop blocks or text. Toggle back and forth between the two formats to view the different formats. Click the pencil in the upper left corner to see several resources including Materials for Teachers, Teachers Manual, Printable Activities, and several others. The wide range of activities make this site perfect for use with students of all levels of coding abilities. When complete, share finished projects on "GymStage", the sharing portion of Pencil Code Gym.

tag(s): coding (78), computational thinking (33), critical thinking (114), digital storytelling (134), drawing (73), geometric shapes (168), musical notation (39), problem solving (277)

In the Classroom

Create a link on classroom computers for use as centers. Use the text options for students to use with digital storytelling. This site is perfect for differentiating different levels of coding skills. Allow students to explore at their own pace, then share their creations with classmates. Extend learning by challenging students or groups to create videos explaining their creations using Adobe Spark Video Creator, reviewed here, and share them on a site such as TeacherTube, reviewed here. Be sure to add a link to your class website for students to practice at home.
 

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Great resource for all ages, more appropriate for middle school and above. Melissa, , Grades: 0 - 5

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Coding In the Classroom Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about coding, and for use as a guide for finding the appropriate tools for use...more
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about coding, and for use as a guide for finding the appropriate tools for use with all grade and skill levels. Nurture problem solving, logic, and creativity. Find resources for just one hour of code or for use as ongoing technology lessons.

tag(s): coding (78), computational thinking (33), computers (107), critical thinking (114), design (87), problem solving (277), STEM (215)

In the Classroom

Explore these resources for use with after-school computer clubs or as an excellent tool when recruiting skilled parent volunteers. Turn the intimidating content of computer programming into an exciting learning adventure for all with these helpful sites!

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CodeHS - Jeremy Keeshin & Zach Galant

Grades
6 to 12
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CodeHS is designed to help high school students learn the basics of computer programming. However, the tool would also be good to use in middle school. Start by signing up ...more
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CodeHS is designed to help high school students learn the basics of computer programming. However, the tool would also be good to use in middle school. Start by signing up for an account, create a class, and get started. Students sign up for the class with a class code or through an email invite from the teacher. The course is self-paced and takes students through with step by step tutorials, examples, and help along the way. Students begin each section of the course with an instructional video on Vimeo, YouTube, or the CodeHS website. Questions that check for understanding and an example of coding are follow-ups to the video. Then students put the skills to use through a series of practice activities by moving Karel, the dog, through combinations of four commands. You can check student progress through the dashboard. Also, explore the many resources offered to help you learn how to use and teach coding. Go through your own personal, professional development with the site as well.
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tag(s): classroom management (143), coding (78), computers (107), critical thinking (114), problem solving (277)

In the Classroom

Coding is an excellent way to teach critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Use this site as homework, a center, or in a lab setting. The course is self-paced, so differentiation is easy. Explain to students that coding is a critical skill in today's world filled with technology and will also be a valuable skill in the job market. Many jobs that will require coding do not yet exist. Put a link to this tool on your class website, blog, or wiki.

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BotLogic - Dolphin Micro team

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
BotLogic is an online activity that teaches programming and code. Enter by choosing educator, parent, or player. Educators and parents enter an email address and receive a code for...more
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BotLogic is an online activity that teaches programming and code. Enter by choosing educator, parent, or player. Educators and parents enter an email address and receive a code for players. Choose the player link to begin playing without a code. Select your age to begin at the proper level. Each level offers a tutorial with directions for play. BotLogic shows the window of code as you create your line of icon instructions. As an extra challenge, try to use as few instructions as possible to earn rewards.

tag(s): animation (64), coding (78), computational thinking (33), computers (107), logic (229), problem solving (277), STEM (215)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate how to play BotLogic on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Let students explore and play on their own using classroom computers or other web-enabled devices. Use BotLogic to teach logic, problem-solving, systems thinking, and, in some cases, collaboration. BotLogic is perfect for differentiation, allow students to move through levels at their pace. Share this on your website for students to use at home, too. Teachers of even very young gifted students can turn them loose with these challenges when they have already mastered math or science curriculum.
 

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Code - Hadi & Ali Partovi

Grades
K to 10
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Code is designed to spark interest in learning to code, especially among girls and the very young. Find lessons for beginners, Kindergartners to tenth graders (or older). Start by clicking...more
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Code is designed to spark interest in learning to code, especially among girls and the very young. Find lessons for beginners, Kindergartners to tenth graders (or older). Start by clicking either Teach or Learn in the top menu bar. Select challenges by grade level or find individual challenges with titles like Dance Party, Minecraft, Flappy Code, and more. The challenges and puzzles use a drag and drop process and problem-solving skills. Find everything an early coder needs to get started coding: A K-8 Intro to Computer Science, Tutorials that teach Javascript, Tutorial apps for any device, Learn to program with robots, and many others. There are also "unplugged tutorials" for classrooms without computers. On the top menu, click on the Teach button to find the link to videos (half way down the page) from famous people about how and when they learned to code. The videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, they may not be viewable.

tag(s): coding (78), computational thinking (33), computers (107), critical thinking (114), problem solving (277), STEM (215), women (103)

In the Classroom

Make coding part of science inquiry or math logic in any classroom. Include it as part of scientific method or discussions about careers in science. You may even want to portray coding as just another "world language" in today's world. Be sure to look at all the implementation advice before introducing these extensive coding resources to your class. It would be wise to complete the Hour of Code yourself so you will feel comfortable helping students if they get stuck. Better yet, invite a few students to do an hour with you after school and learn together! You will have a team of "techsperts" to help their peers. Select the Learn button from the top menu to find two links for educators. The one at the top of the Learn page gives quick tips for prepping for the Hour of Code. The one at the bottom of the slide gives complete instructions for implementing the Hour of Code in your classroom. Plan an hour of Code on nationally designated days or on your own calendar! Invite the PTA/PTO to host a coding event. Select a video to use to introduce Computer Science to your students. Introduce this tool using a projector or interactive whiteboard and bookmark it as a learning station with earbuds/headphones. Encourage students to help each other when they have difficulty. Share this on your website for students to use at home, too. Code teaches the basics. Those students who show a keen interest in coding could extend their learning by using a program such as Codeacademy, reviewed here.
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Tynker - Krishna Vedati

Grades
3 to 8
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Learn computer coding using simple and easy activities, lesson plans, and an interface sure to please all ages! Click Educators from the top menu, then select Tynker for Schools to...more
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Learn computer coding using simple and easy activities, lesson plans, and an interface sure to please all ages! Click Educators from the top menu, then select Tynker for Schools to access the free coding courses, or slide down to Hour of Code to find ones you can use at home or school. Alternatively, scroll down the page and click the button "Explore Courses." Build an animated character and then animate it. Create Minecraft Mods, Skins, and learn Game Design. Learn to code by dropping blocks of commands into sequence on the left side of the screen and seeing the results along the right. The lessons provide step by step instructions, missions, and other materials to learn to code. Teachers can create a class and add students to the class. Click on student view of each lesson to see the tools and student tasks. Follow the instructions along the right panel. Note the tools that are along the top including undo and redo! This tool also features a question bar along the top. Note: This free portion of the resource offers six introductory lessons, a visual programming environment, an art studio to draw and paint your own scenes, and a media gallery. The free units of lessons have unlimited student space.
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tag(s): animation (64), coding (78), computational thinking (33), computers (107), critical thinking (114), design (87), game based learning (160), gamification (79), problem solving (277), STEM (215)

In the Classroom

Tynker now has a whole section dedicated to remote learning. Find this section by clicking Educators from the top menu, and sliding down to Remote Learning. Even if your class is not remote learning, use some of their tips for a blended learning class. Use this tool to learn basic coding skills. Students will quickly catch on to this program when allowed to "tinker" and see what they can make. Provide a simple assignment with defined rules/tasks to learn the tools. Younger students may familiarize themselves more easily working with a partner. Be sure to recommend that students "ask three before me" (the teacher). Have students use an online storyboard to write down what they plan to do/draw/say with their creation, and to help you keep tabs on students and their progress. For enhancing learning and technology use create a digital storyboard with Story Map, reviewed here, or Storyboard Generator, reviewed here. When finished with these Tynker lessons, move to other free tools such as Scratch, reviewed here. Teachers of even very young gifted students can turn them loose with these challenges when they have already mastered math or science curriculum. Have them create a creature they can explain to the class or share with gifted peers in other classrooms.

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Codecademy - Codeacademy

Grades
4 to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Try Codecademy to learn how to code. Build projects such as interactive websites, games, and apps. Join a community of coders and share the knowledge. Collaborate with others from all...more
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Try Codecademy to learn how to code. Build projects such as interactive websites, games, and apps. Join a community of coders and share the knowledge. Collaborate with others from all over for new projects. Find many adaptable lesson plans that link to Codecademy's online courses. You can also build a profile to track progress. Codecademy's small lessons help one focus on tasks that might at first be completely foreign or overwhelmingly technical. Discover the curriculum developed for primary and secondary schools. Download an app for iPhones to continue coding. Lessons for coding include JavaScript, HTML/CSS, PHP, Python, Ruby, and APIs.

tag(s): coding (78), computers (107), engineering (128), STEM (215)

In the Classroom

Codecademy offers you basic instruction before you begin teaching your students (or learning together with them!). Create accounts for your students, and track their progress. Besides the intrinsic factors that come with learning to code, students will be motivated by the streaks, badges, and points they can earn. After school clubs with Codecademy will be a breeze with everything all set up. Set up a coding activity center for interested students when they finish class work or for rainy days and snow days.
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