TeachersFirst's Coding in the Classroom
This editor's choice offers a curated list of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst 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 with the many ideas found in the “In the Classroom” portion of the reviews. Find resources for just one hour of code or for use as ongoing technology lessons. 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!
View our entire list of resources that are tagged Coding.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomShare Patches with your students who are familiar with virtual reality and coding to use to expand their ability to create vr experiences. For those not familiar with this technology, consider beginning with the Vizor 360 link located at the bottom of the home page. Use this tool to drag, drop, and create 360 interactive experiences of any location. Begin by creating a virtual tour of your classroom together and sharing on your class website. Be sure to take advantage of the many tutorials found on the site to help you and your students to get started or work through problems along the way. Begin using the WebVR portion of the site by sharing examples with students on your interactive whiteboard to demonstrate the different ways the tool has been used. Have students choose one of the tools, then use the edit feature to make changes. After exploring options in the available projects, have students create their own project from the beginning. Instead of assigning written reports, or craft projects, offer students the option to create an experience using Patches to demonstrate landforms, types of plants, or a virtual scene from a novel. Have students explain their finished project using Free Screen Recorder Online, reviewed here. Ask students to share challenges faced in making their projects and how they were able to resolve their issues along the way.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomBe sure to check with your Technology Department, as many districts require authorization to download or install new applications. Plan ahead as you request that this application be installed on your classroom or laptop cart computers. Share Sinespace on classroom computers and allow students to create and explore on their own. Consider sharing with "tech savvy" students first and let them learn how to create within the site's program. After some students become experts, share Sinespace with other students to begin learning how to work within a virtual environment. Use an infographic creation tool like Canva, reviewed here, to create and share tips for using Sinespace. Once students learn how to perform specific functions, ask them to create an explainer video for other students use using My Simpleshow, reviewed here.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Premium version (not free) includes additional features or storage
Requires download/installation of software
In the ClassroomBenefit from the many features shared in this download to allow students to explore chemistry concepts through gameplay. This site offers many opportunities for problem-solving and decision making. Ask students to share some of their ideas through a podcast. Anchor, reviewed here, is a podcast creation tool that offers the ability to record or upload audio from your computer and add songs from Apple Music and Spotify. Have students share concepts learned through animated videos. My Simpleshow, reviewed here includes free tools for making simple explainer videos.
Grades6 to 12
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In the ClassroomThe Code Player is an excellent tool for anyone who prefers to watch demonstrations to learn instead of reading or listening to directions. Depending on the coding abilities of your students, choose one of the demos to display on an interactive whiteboard or with a projector and learn together. Have groups of students choose a different coding format to complete an activity. Use this site as a model for you or your students to create your own screencasts sharing how-to projects with coding. Modify learning by using a tool like Screencastify, reviewed here. Screencastify works with the Chrome browser to record your screen and capture audio recordings. Have more advanced students create their own coding projects for classroom use.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomCoding is an excellent way to teach critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Use this site as homework, a center, or in a lab setting. Activities are self-paced, so differentiation is easy. However, it is still a good idea, if possible, to seat a more experienced computer user with one who is less experienced. 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.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomMake your staff the envy of all other schools with your coding prowess! Sign up for a school account and learn about coding together. Once finished, take advantage of the free lesson plans for teaching coding to your students.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomMake use of the features provided in the education edition of Minecraft to allow learning through gameplay. Ask students to use the camera and portfolio features to document decision making and progress through games. Use features within the game to learn about history, for example, have students import 3-dimensional structures such as the Roman Colosseum to explore and create experiences from that time. Instruct students to create a story for creative writing projects. Encourage students to retell a story through a Minecraft experience. Use Minecraft features to teach math lessons on shape, volume, area, and more. Discover more ideas at Minecraft Hour of Code Tutorials, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomMake 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.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomDownload Hippani's software onto classroom computers to learn basic coding skills. Students will quickly catch on to this program when allowed to explore and see what they can make. Then, for those who show an aptitude for coding, take advantage of the free 30-day use of the professional edition. Have students browse through the gallery and tutorials to learn about the features of Hippani. Allow them to explore and create on their own as part of your MakerSpace or as a center. Challenge students to use this software to create animated GIFs such as demonstrating how simple machines work, changes in landforms over time, or significant events from novels.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomCoding 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.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse 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.
In the ClassroomCardboard2Code would be perfect for use as an independent or group learning station. Share these modules with students interested in learning to code. Include a link on your class website to the modules for students to complete at home. Locate a volunteer with coding skills to work with your class to complete modules.
Grades5 to 9
tag(s): animation (60), coding (74), computational thinking (33), critical thinking (117), digital storytelling (153), gamification (89), musical notation (39), problem solving (297), social media (33), sports (97), stories and storytelling (36)
In the ClassroomCreate 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.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomCreate 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. Redefine learning by challenging students or groups to create videos explaining their creations using My Simpleshow, 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.
Great resource for all ages, more appropriate for middle school and above.Melissa, , Grades: 0 - 5
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse these tutorials to provide coding instruction for students at all ability levels. Make coding part of science inquiry or math logic in any classroom. Include it in the context of the scientific method or discussions about careers in science. You may even want to portray coding as just another "world language" in today's world. If you are looking for more ways to use coding in the classroom, check out TeachersFirst's Coding in the Classroom page.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThe course is self-paced, so differentiation is easy. Explain to students that coding is a critical skill in today's tech-filled world and will be a valuable skill in the job market. Compare coding to just another "world language." Put a link to this tool on a class website, blog, or wiki. Look for more ways to use coding in the classroom on the TeachersFirst's Coding in the Classroom page, here. Make JS part of science inquiry or math logic in any classroom. Besides the intrinsic factors that come with learning to code, students will be motivated by badges. Set up a coding activity center for interested students when they finish class work or for rainy days and snow days. Coding is an excellent way to teach critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Use this site as homework, a classroom center, or in a lab setting.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomBrowse through the menu of activities in each of the certifications to find lessons for stand-alone topics such as adding images to websites or working with different HTML features. Sign up isn't necessary to view lessons, only to save progress when working through certifications. Share FreeCodeCamp with students who have an interest in coding and computers. Encourage students to complete certifications to include with college applications. Share with students who may not have an interest in college, but have an interest in computers, coding, and gaming.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): coding (74), computational thinking (33), computers (102), critical thinking (117), DAT device agnostic tool (176), design (88), game based learning (145), gamification (89), logic (250), problem solving (297), STEM (204)