Tag Archives: teaching ideas

Tips for Teaching Coding to Kids

Teaching coding to kids is more than just giving them lines of code to copy and then run. We want to empower students to become critical thinkers and innovative programmers. To build programming skills, beginners need to be provided with a variety of analytical and engaging experiences. To do that, we should spark their enthusiasm with a collection of activities that ensure success and an understanding of essential coding concepts. As they learn how to code original creations, students will become keen, competent programmers. They will have the foundational STEM skills for the workplace of the future.

tips for teaching coding

Here are some suggested types of activities to consider when teaching coding to kids.

Explore and Investigate

Teach code a line at a time. Then ask students to analyze and experiment with the code. Explore with different values and see the outcome. What happens with a higher or lower number? When the line of code is moved to a different place, what happens? What happens when a character is omitted? This strategy builds student insight into the meaning of the code so much better than just asking them to copy a given set of instructions and then running them.

Guess and Check

Provide completed code and ask your students to be detectives. By reading the lines of code, comments, or scanning for words they recognize, they can try to infer what the code will do. Then run the code and see if their guesses were accurate. This makes students keen observers and critical thinkers.

Use Templates to Jump Start Learning

Young programmers have the ability to understand the code, but don’t always have the keyboarding skills needed to type many lines of code accurately. When introducing specific coding concepts, consider giving the students templates with parts of the code already written. The students just add code to make the desired result.

Teach Debugging Early

Don’t wait until errors occur and students are frustrated with the inability to correct them. Near the beginning of the coding unit, have the students generate specific errors to break the code. Have them see the resulting problem. Then fix it. As a result, students will become familiar with common mistakes such as omitting characters, mistyping, or placing code in the wrong order. They will recognize errors and know how to correct them.

Provide Samples to Spark Inspiration

Before starting a new project, inspire students by showing them a completed sampler. The goal is to ignite their interest but not to provide a set of instructions for them to copy. The code becomes a guide for students. They can use it as a starting point or to compare their work for troubleshooting. The sampler becomes the foundation for students to produce their own original projects.

Offer Support References

Online programming reference lists and libraries are usually so complete and exhaustive that they are ominous for kids to use. Instead, build a list of basic commands that will be used in the project and have it handy for the class to use and check.

Present Opportunities for Extra Challenges

Differentiated learning studies have shown us that students build skills in a highly diverse way. When teaching coding to kids, they are certain to progress at different rates. Students who struggle need support, repetition, and review activities to grasp coding skills. Some students will ‘get’ the concepts quickly and be ready for new ways to apply and extend their learning. Be prepared for these young experts with optional challenges to keep them excited and involved.

Reflect on Learning

During, and definitely after the end of the project, provide an opportunity for students to think about their coding experience. Write a journal entry. Ask questions such as: What was your favorite part of the program? What was the hardest part of learning to program? Which skills would you like to learn next? What advice would you give to a person learning how to use this program?

Teaching Coding to Kids Using TechnoTurtle

teaching coding to kids

TechnoTurtle, a new project by TechnoKids Inc., is an introduction to Python coding for beginners. It is designed for elementary and middle school students to learn basic programming skills. The fun activities include building a maze, creating artwork and spirographs, and inventing interactive games. TechnoTurtle incorporates all the above strategies to inspire young programmers to acquire fundamental technology expertise.

Pick Your Own Ending Story

  • Do you want a unique creative writing activity?
  • Do you have reluctant writers who need inspiration?
  • Do you need to integrate technology with language arts?

Forms is the answer! Whether you’re using Microsoft Forms or Google Forms, writing a pick your own ending story is a fun lesson that combines computer skills and the writing process in a way that’s sure to excite your students.

To start, students compose a scenario. They could win a prize, go on a trip, hear a noise, or any situation that intrigues a reader. Next, two choices are given for what might happen: choose the red prize box or the blue one, go to the zoo or the beach, or go to investigate or run away. Using Forms, students offer the options. Then they use the feedback option to tell the reader the consequences of their choice.

Sample:

My friend told me not to go.
I wanted to find out what was in the abandoned building at the end of the road. Everyone said it was haunted. I walked up to the front door. The lock was broken.

What do you do?

  • Push the door open and go inside.
  • Walk away quickly.
pick your own ending story

Use Forms to make a pick your own ending story.

How to Write a Pick Your Own Ending Story Using Forms

  1. Sign in to Google Drive, pick Google Forms, and in Settings, pick QUIZZES and select Make this a quiz. Remove the checkmarks for Missed questions, Correct answers, and Point values.
    OR
    Sign in to Office Online and pick a Forms quiz. In Settings, select Anyone with the link can respond. In the Options for Responses area, select Accept responses.
  2. Add a story title, such as An Unforgettable Day.
  3. In Form description, type the instructions such as Pick a story ending.
  4. Add a section to write the story action. Write the first sentence to grab the reader’s attention. For example, My boring day was about to change.
  5. In the Description, type the story using the first person, or “I” to place the reader in the story.
    • Where does the story take place?
    • Is there someone with the main character? Who?
    • What is happening?
    • What causes the character to make a choice?
    • For example: I was sitting on my porch doing nothing, when I saw a bright flash at the school. I jumped on my bike and rode to get a closer look. I could hear a buzzing sound.

  6. Design a multiple-choice question that gives the reader two choices. Replace Question with What do you do?
  7. Add two options. For example:
    • I grabbed my phone and called for help.
    • I walked towards the sound.
  8. Use feedback to write the story ending. For one answer, type an ending.
    For example: The police and I went inside the school. A science fair project in the gym was shaking. Diamonds were everywhere! A fifth grader had turned gravel into gems!
    For the other answer, type an ending.
    For example: I saw an alien standing beside a tiny ship. It had two heads with giant fangs. Oh no!
  9. Add a picture, theme, or heading to enhance the story.
  10. Preview the story and try both options. Then share it with your friends.

See a sample using Microsoft Forms.

See a sample using Google Forms.

pick your own ending story

Make a trivia quiz with TechnoTrivia for Google or Microsoft Forms.

This activity is from TechnoTrivia, available from TechnoKids for both Google Apps and Microsoft Online. Hook your students with a project that integrates technology into curriculum or just make a fun trivia quiz based on a personal interest. Order online and you will receive a Teacher Guide, Student Workbook, sample quizzes to stimulate creativity, assessment tools, parent letter, certificate, and flashcards.

Or browse TechnoKids online store to view other projects, sets, and packages.

Microsoft Forms TechnoTrivia Project! Just Released

microsoft forms technotrivia project

Great news! TechnoKids has just published a new version of TechnoTrivia for Microsoft Online users. Google Apps users have already been able to use this project to create fun quizzes but now it has been updated for Microsoft Forms as well.

As part of Office 365, Microsoft Forms is an online survey creator. Students and teachers can use it to make quizzes, polls, and surveys with automatic marking. They can write a variety of question types, include pictures and video, set a scoring system, generate an answer key with helpful feedback, and even export data to Excel to analyze the results.

TechnoTrivia is a great project to introduce these skills. Hook student interest as they make a fun trivia game to play with their friends. The topic may be integrated into curriculum subjects, such as Solar System Challenge or My Country Quiz. Or, it can be based on an area of personal interest – Prove You Are a John Lennon Fan or So You Think You Know Sports.

microsoft forms trivia project

Add pictures and a theme to enhance the trivia quiz.

Educational Value of Quiz Creation

Critical thinking skills

Today’s students are avid consumers of technology, but essential learning really takes place when they become creators of technology. Making up survey questions requires the ability to consider another’s background knowledge and interests. In TechnoTrivia, students are challenged to write thought provoking questions to test a player’s knowledge. When students see their peers’ responses, they analyze how to change their quiz to make it easier or more difficult.

Real world application

As students create a quiz and test it out on classmates, family, and friends they get immediate feedback. They can see how their new skills can have a practical purpose. Learning is much more likely to be enhanced if students can see its relevance and everyday applications.

Engage student interest

A quiz with odd, interesting, and/or silly facts is a fun task that appeals to anyone. Taking the role of a quizmaster, students are hooked into entertaining and testing others with a trivia quiz. The variety of questions – multiple choice, true/false, multiple answer, picture, video, and short answer make this project a sure hit with kids.

Consolidate learning

The process of creating quiz questions about a theme or school subject area helps to embed information. Quiz questions can identify learning gaps but also provide a firm foundation in reviewing and preserving critical concepts. The project has many suggestions on how to incorporate a quiz into curriculum. Math Drill and Practice, Who am I?, Art Crawl, Where in the World?, and Spelling Bee are just a few of the quiz integration ideas. See this blog for 20 great teaching ideas for using Forms to make quizzes.

Point of view

Looking at information from a different angle aids in understanding. Thinking about data from the perspective of questioning, students play the role of a teacher or assessor. They build analytical skills. By composing questions, students are much more likely to grasp, absorb, and retain important details. And generating challenging questions is sometimes harder than expected!

Build confidence

The emphasis in TechnoTrivia is not on the scores achieved by players but on creating a fun and entertaining quiz. Students practice rewriting questions to make just the right mix of difficulty – not too easy so that the player loses interest and not too difficult so that they might give up. They also add a range of feedback comments for the player to foster encouragement, to provide additional information, and to praise correct answers. Taking on the role of the quizmaster promotes self-assurance, pride, and responsibility.

microsoft forms technotrivia

The quiz can be shared using a variety of devices.

Microsoft Forms and TechnoTrivia

Get your students started right away in making their own wacky and informative quizzes. TechnoTrivia includes a Teacher Guide, Student Workbook, assessment tools, flashcards, handouts, and links to lots of sample quizzes.

Add a Video Using Google Sites

One sure way to make a website engaging for viewers is to add video content. When creating a page with Google Sites, you can almost seamlessly insert a video using YouTube. A huge and easily searchable website, YouTube is a great resource to find theme appropriate clips to share. Here are a few tips for inserting a video using Google Sites into a web page.

  1. Search YouTube FIRST
  2. video using google sites

    When creating a web page using Google Sites, under the Insert tab you’ll find the YouTube tool. You can click it to go directly to a window that allows you to enter keywords to search right in YouTube.

    But DON’T! The problem is that you’ll see lots of images of results but won’t be able to preview the actual videos.

    Instead, open a new tab in the browser and go to YouTube. THEN enter your keywords and browse through the results. When you find one, view the whole video to critically determine if it is what you’re looking for. Be sure not to post a video that you haven’t thoroughly previewed.

  3. Pick a Short Video
  4. With the proliferation of videos online, it takes a really compelling sample to hold the attention of your audience. Check the length of a video. Try to find a clip that is only a minute or two (or less!) long. Of course some topics require longer explanation, but be aware that your viewers may not watch the whole clip unless it is especially fascinating or unique.

    When you have found a video you like, copy the URL.

  5. NOW Search YouTube Using the URL
  6. Return to the browser tab that has your Google Sites web project. Now pick the YouTube tool under the Insert tab. In the dialog box that appears, instead of typing keywords, paste the URL you copied from YouTube.

    Paste the copied URL from YouTube into the search box

    Click Search. Your video will appear, click on it, and then click Select. That’s how easy it is to add a video using Google Sites.

  7. Format the Video
  8. You can now customize the clip:

    • Click Settings to choose:
      • how you want the controls to appear
      • the color of the progress bar
      • whether the viewer can see the video full screen in another browser tab or will watch it only on your web page
    • Drag the video to position it on the page.
    • Hover over the left side of the video to pick Section Background. Choose an option.

  9. Preview the Web Page
  10. Select the Preview tool and see what the video will look like when it’s published. Remember the nifty responsive design feature of Google Apps – click each of the three options: Phone, Tablet, or Large screen to view the layout on different devices. Now you can again preview the whole video clip if necessary.

    video using google sites

    Add a YouTube video to engage viewers in your website

    TechnoSite Web Design Project for Kids

    TechnoSite

    In TechnoSite students become web designers.

    All of these tips to add a video using Google Sites and much more are included in TechnoSite, a web design project designed specifically for teachers of elementary grades. Empower your students with STEM skills as they construct professional looking websites for any curriculum topic, area of interest, sport, or hobby. Everything you need is included: Teacher Guide, Student Workbook, Assessment Tools, Sample Websites, and more! Find out TechnoSite details, view samples, and see the project learning objectives here.