Hour of Code 2020: 15 Tips From Real Teachers

What is the Hour of Code?

The 'Hour of Code' 2020 is a worldwide initiative by Computer Science Education Week and Code.org to introduce millions of students to one hour of computer science and computer programming. Participating in the Hour of Code means doing a one hour computer science activity.

We’ve surveyed 50+ teachers who are either participating in the Hour of Code for the first time or have years of experience under their belts. Here’s their need-to-try tips for your Hour of Code 2020!

Hour of Code 2020: 15 tips from real teachers

How-to get prepared

  1. Introduce coding concepts to students before the Hour of Code. If you're looking for an easy way to introduce concepts, Kodable's created quick and fun videos to share with your students.
  2. Pick your activities in advance. Code.org is a great place to find hundreds of Hour of Code 2020 activities for students of all ages, or here are 4 of our favorite free Kodable activities.
  3. Create a shareable document with activity links, student usernames and passwords for all resources. Confirm that students can access resources before the Hour of Code.

I start our students coding the first week in November every year. I love that the courses on Code.org are updated every year and that we can choose from a variety of courses to assign to our students.

Jody Borden/ Bird Rock Elementary
Elementary student learning Kodable for the Hour of Code.

Choose an activity for the Hour of Code 2020

  1. Select options that are age and grade appropriate. Make sure to have advanced options available for students who are ready to move onto the next level more quickly!
  2. Offer choices! Choose platforms that are familiar and some that are new, so kids have the freedom to use their coding skills in different ways.
  3. Try a tech-free activity. There are hundreds of unplugged coding activities available.  

“Since we are teaching during a pandemic, I am looking for activities that students can do on their iPads and also with common materials that they may have in their homes.”

Fallon Farokhi/Sunset Hill Elementary School

Get your kids inspired

  1. Schedule in-person or virtual guest speakers. Allow students the opportunity to learn and speak to a professional in coding.
  2. Invite kids to collaborate. Have students challenge family members or classmates to complete Hour of Code activities with them. One idea we personally love is having kids complete a classmates' maze in Kodable's Maze Builder!
  3. Celebrate student accomplishments! Have kids demonstrate their Hour of Code work with the rest of the class.

“I try to tie the coding into real-world scenarios. It can help them work through a difficult math problem, understand the sequence of a story, or even how to problem solve with friends.”

Dave Caruso /Ridge Park Elementary

Share Hour of Code 2020 progress with families  

  1. Send out newsletters. Let everyone know what your students are doing for the Hour of Code and share their work.
  2. Share pictures and videos on social media or directly with family members. Hint hint- Make sure to tag us on Instagram and Twitter if your students are coding with Kodable, so we can share them with the rest of the world.
  3. Add updates to your teaching platforms like ClassDojo or Showbie. Parents love to see what their kids are learning and it's a great way to start the conversation at home about coding.

“Our older students will do a report on the Hour of Code for our bi-weekly newscast that gets broadcasted in school, embedded on my website, and posted on closed social media.”

Jody Hauser/Central Elementary School Bellows Falls, Vermont

Incorporate coding after the Hour of Code 2020 ends

  1. Add coding as a free-play option or an activity for when they finish their work.
  2. Organize a coding club for after-school or during recess! This is an awesome way to get like-minded students together to collaborate as they continue to grow in coding.
  3. Integrate coding into other subjects like math, ELA, and science. Try one of Kodable's quick and fun coding missions as a place to start!

“We look for STEM-related library lessons that we can try to connect to coding concepts. Usually, this includes a picture book or real-life video of a STEM-related topic.”

Fallon Farokhi/Sunset Hill Elementary School

Words of advice: "Don't worry, you've got this!"

“Hour of Code is actually the easiest way to begin teaching coding to students or learning it yourself as a teacher.”

Crystal Giles/Jeremy Ranch Elementary School

“I love learning and failing forward with my students. You don't have to know everything. Students are able to figure it out.”  

Staci/Johnson STEAM Academy

“Absolutely! I would tell them what I tell the kids, "Don't be afraid to try!"  

Wendy Mays/Harmony Elementary School