8 Steps to Coding an Extra Curricula Success

I introduced Hour of Code to the primary school uncertain of how to code myself and was hopeful that I could learn computer science along with students. Furthermore I was uncertain of whether students would even want to be involved in the computer club. Incredibly many students participated in the extra curricula activity and now registrations have doubled. The project has been a success.

Here are eight steps to coding an extra curricula success:

1. Research and Advertise

When planning a coding workshop it is important to understand the project mission. Understand why the program is important to yourself and the school culture. The next step is to locate the resources (ie; Makey Makey), websites (i.e.; Hour of Code, Scratch, Sploder) and materials that will support project implementation. Once research is complete one must identify suitable dates for the workshops and then promote the activity. An abundance of material is available to assist project planning.

2. Send Invitations

After promoting Hour of Code, I emailed registration forms to families. The form included information about purpose, venue, date and time and associated cost for the workshop. I allowed one week for registrations to be fulfilled. Providing limited time ensured entries were not delayed and submissions not forgotten. Reduced time frame also captured the most eager and interested students.

3. Finalise Registrations

Registration forms were numbered and date stamped when received to manage submissions. This can provide the most fair means of calculating student numbers. Once my class numbers were finalised I sent a letter of success to each applicant. A letter of congratulation seems to make the event official and student involvement concrete. It also reinforces required commitment while heighten enthusiasm and interest in the program.

4. Prepare Roll Call List

Use student registration forms to generate a roll call. This is an essential document to record present students and identifying absent participants. This procedure is an important aspect of risk management. Furthermore attendance results can be used when issuing certificates.

5. Lesson Program

Reviewing research helps with developing a lesson plan and learning sequence. In addition, registrations will influence the lesson format and whether different activities will be operating concurrently or if rotations will be used to service the learning needs of students. I have organised four students with coding experience to assist with the program. As reward for their leadership they receive a milkshake each week and a badge in honor of their service.

6. Coding Workshops

The first lesson is an important one. Clearly state the rules and expectations to the group. It is important to provide adequate time in attending to classroom procedures to enable the project to deliver expected results. I display my TECHNO poster to students to inform them of workshop expectations. Throughout the program revisit the expectations and adhere to the lesson plan and run sheet.

7. Weekly Recording and Images

It is important to capture images of each lesson to gather qualitative and quantitative evidence. The data can be used to determine project success and can be used in marketing and newsletters. Student assistants can be sued to gather images and record footage.

8. Survey Students

At the conclusion of the program ensure students complete a survey. The results can be used to inform future project implementation. The data also provides evidence of project successes and weaknesses to help determine aspects of the program that have provided the best opportunities for learning and engagement. I found that I was able to adjust my lesson plan according to survey outcomes to provide optimal learning and student participation.

The eight steps may help schools develop their own coding concept. I have found that my strategies are favorable. Registrations are doubling each time. Due to an overwhelming number of students now participating in Hour of Code, lessons commence in the Lecture Theater. From here the students break-out into a number of classrooms to code and create.

I encourage all educators to develop a coding program to allow students the opportunity to create content, code computers and collaborate with friends. The concept need not be expensive but thoughtfully planned to engage twenty first century learners.

Group Selfie with Makey Makey


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