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?
Teaching coding–there isn’t one “right” way to teach 

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.
 Build a coding curriculum to maximize engagement:
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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Students will learn four different languages:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • Processing

They will then use these coding skills to create their own websites, design media art, build games, and more. Bring the magic of Disney Codeillusion by Life is Tech to your students. Schedule a custom demo to learn more.