Back-to-School Checklist for Coding Education
Coding is an integral part of computer science education that benefits students of all ages, building valuable problem-solving and critical thinking skills that apply to all academic subjects and future careers.
Here’s a handy checklist (below or download the pdf) to help you with your computer science/STEM curriculum, whether you’re just getting started or reevaluating your current plan.
Review the existing resources, tools and programs that you have available:
|Standards–What standards are required for each grade level? Do you need to provide standard-aligned lesson plans?|
|Instruction–What will be the frequency and duration of instruction that is most appropriate for your students?|
|Coding knowledge–Do you have any previous coding experience or a computer science background? If not, choose a program that enables any teacher to facilitate and that provides support when you need it.|
|Teaching style–For more open-ended instruction, choose a program with scaffolding and support so that kids don’t get stuck.|
|Learning style–How do your students like to learn? This can determine the most appropriate activities.|
|Programs/Platforms–What kind of coding curriculum do you have available? Do you have a choice of programs? What is your budget?|
These are coding basics to cover:
|Vocabulary reference–Learning coding is like learning a new language. Provide a list of terms that is easy to access.|
|Digital literacy–Provide guidance on logins and internet safety.|
|Sequencing–Concept that is used in ELA and other subjects so can use that to help students understand it in the context of coding.|
|Computational thinking–Show students how they can break problems down into manageable chunks. Four key skills in computational thinking: decomposition, pattern recognition, pattern abstraction, and algorithm design.|
|Debugging–How to solve a problem.|
|Branching/conditions–Use real-world examples to keep students interested.|
|Help students develop a coding mindset to build creativity and resilience–it’s ok for them to make mistakes and try again.|
|Include games you can do with and without a computer.|
|Make coding entertaining with interactive material.|
|Break projects into micro-steps and think of analogies for each step.|
|Build hints and “checkpoints” into coding games or lessons beforehand.|
|Make use of peer-to-peer helpers–More advanced students can further test their knowledge by helping other students.|
|Use project-based learning (PBL) for a more hands-on experience. Make real-world connections to reinforce coding concepts.|
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