Kindergarten kids coding? What? Is that possible?
A few years ago I would have said no way! In fact, about two years ago when I got an email from the district about teaching coding, I said to myself and out loud, “Now I have to teach kids how to code? Are you kidding me?”
But, a funny thing happened. I tried an app and I discovered all kinds of amazing things!
I was introduced to the app Kodable. I took it home and gave it to my own kindergartener and she was thrilled to try it! To her it was just a really cool game!
I even Tweeted the picture above.
That next week on Monday, I introduced this program to my students and they were hooked too.
This year, my teaching partner and I had a more solid plan of attack to teach coding.
Here is what we did:
First, we showed our students two videos from the Hour of Code website (code.org). They were highly interested when we showed the Star Wars and Frozen videos that highlighted how creators used code to program the puppets and cartoons.
We then asked the students to “code the teacher” from the door of the classroom, to the rocking chair at the rug.
When we began, they simply said, “go forward.” That led me to walk straight to my outside door and through the door. The class erupted in laughter. When students were settled down, they realized they needed a more specific plan.
Together they came up with this: Coding a Teacher
Later that day, we then did some sandbox (free exploration) playing with the apps Bee-Bots and Kodable. Students were given the opportunity to play and practice how to use the coding apps.
We were also able to invite our local library to our school. They have purchased Bee-Bot coding toys. The students had to work together to code the Bee-Bots. They also realized the importance of working together as a team to problem solve. When students realize that they need to work together to solve their coding problems, they soon discovered that they could solve the puzzle sooner and faster.
Once students played with the toy Bee-Bots, we showed them a bit more about the apps and how they worked. Students also realized quickly, that when they are stumped, they can ask a friend for help
When I realized that coding also teaches problem-solving skills, I was hooked on the value of it for the kindergarten level.
So, my advice to you…try it! You will also realize the high level of critical thinking skills the students have and how truly smart they are!