Is coding the new literacy? Even if you are not sure of the answer to that big question, you can begin to introduce your elementary classroom students to programming. Some of the resources listed need technology and some just need your time to set up some centers to spark interest from your students.
Scratch Jr. as a website or an app is a great way for students to start to understand the “if you program this, then that happens” type of logic that is necessary for programming. Some may not even catch on that they are learning actual programming due to the game atmosphere of this app.
Kids Get Coding is a series of books aimed at the K-3 grade level. Each book explains one aspect of computer programming that will provide a foundation for students to begin to code. They also include tips about being a good digital citizen and how sites collect information about your identity to tailor sites to your needs. It also cautions students about the importance of privacy and what information sites are looking for that you may not want to give out. Although each book is only 24 pages long, each has a table of contents, and index and clear definitions of terms that are used in each book. A website gives access to further content by book title to help educators further work with each subject area covered in each book.
Robot Turtles and Code Master are both board games that don’t need any technology to run them. Robot Turtles is for very beginning programmers and teaches logic as a introduction to the steps needed for good coders. Code Master is a one player game and will challenge you students to code instructions on the board rather than into an app or website. Both good options in a classroom to spark an interest.
Introducing the notion of coding and computer programming into your classroom is not as daunting as it may seem. There are many books out now to challenge students to learn the rudiments of coding by playing games or working through actions of a robot or character. Start with these resources and work through this next level thinking with your students.