4 Tips to Encourage Summer Programming

The school year is winding down, but that doesn’t mean the learning has to. Kids who continue learning through the summer see learning benefits for up to two years afterward. You can help your students continue to grow as learners by encouraging them to continue programming at home. Here are a few quick and easy tips!

1. Send home Kodable log in details for parents.

Parents will be looking for educational programs to keep their kiddos occupied this summer. You can easily print log in instructions for all your students and send home instructions for parents to facilitate more programming!

2. Start a Summer Coding Challenge

Challenge your students to set their own learning goal for the summer! Students will share something they learned this year and something they want to learn over the summer. They will set a goal for the number of programs they want to write and can even track their progress to share with their friends next year!

3. Celebrate a year of learning with certificates for students

Recognize your students’ achievements with a certificate they can take home. Proud learners love showing off their skills! Encourage them to keep learning with positive reinforcement.

4. Open next year’s concepts for early practice.

Get students excited for next school year by letting them explore the concepts they’ll be learning next year. You can easily adjust the grade level on your classes, so they’ll have access to the next set of units without moving too far ahead. Early access will give them a point of reference when you’re teaching the concepts next year!

Keep up all the great work and enjoy a fun and well earned summer vacation!

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Code your Back to School Procedures!

An elementary classroom without clear procedures for daily routines means chaos. As you head back to school and get your classroom operating like a well-oiled machine, consider including some coding concepts to make it fun and frontload computer science lessons you’ll teach later in the year!

How do classroom procedures relate to coding concepts?

Every transition throughout the day requires clear, rehearsed routines that keep everyone safe and in an efficient learning environment. Procedures help us avoid wasting precious time, keep students on track, and allow for 30+ humans to function together in one room- a miraculous feat when you think about it.

Procedures require order, rules, and often silly names that direct students to perform a certain set of actions (think “Criss-Cross Applesauce,” “Put a bubble in,” etc.). These are all elements of programming concepts used in programs to direct a computer to carry out tasks- making them perfect examples of how we can relate programming to real life for our students.

Sequence

We know that in programming, sequence is the order that commands are executed by a computer which allows us to carry out tasks that have multiple steps. In programming, we direct the computer to perform multiple steps in the correct order and it allows us to carry out a task.

In the classroom, students have to perform multi-step tasks as well, such as washing their hands, transitioning to lunch, or coming in from recess. Think about some routines that are specific to your classroom and how they are a sequence of steps put together: this is just like how a computer carries out tasks and will help students understand this process for computers.

Conditions

In programming, conditions are basic “if, then” logic statements that modify how code is executed; making them a key part of the decision-making process for computers. Conditional statements are basic cause and effect: “If this, then that.”

In the classroom, students experience conditional statements daily as they follow classroom rules and guidelines (or break them!).  Using conditional statements will help students think about and set classroom norms together, and make conditional statements easier to understand in programming down the road. Integrating conditional statements into classroom procedures will help students understand how stories can alter and the role programmers play in changing a computer program’s path.

Functions

Criss Cross Apple Sauce Function

 

In programming, a function is a named sequence of steps that can be reused and easily called on over and over again.

 

Classroom management strategies are a great example of a function: teaching students a sequence of steps and giving it a silly name that you can say without having to direct students through each step in the process, every time.

In the classroom, functions can be a lifesaver! Getting students to do a series of tasks in one motion by calling out a  name can keep things in order and on task; which is what we all want for a productive learning environment.

We’ve taken the time to make k-2 example mini-lessons that you can easily tailor to your own classroom procedures:

Download Mini Lessons Here

To help yourself understand the programming concepts and how they can be used with your back to school procedures, watch our videos and share your ideas in the comments below!

Teacher to Teacher: Welcome to Kodable Academy!

Our mission has always been (and will always be!) making it as easy as possible to teach programming in elementary school. For us, this means equipping teachers with the  knowledge and understanding needed to teach computer science, without adding to the heavy workload and demands teachers already face.

Today, we are thrilled to announce the kick-off of Kodable Academy! We’re bringing you teacher to teacher resources on foundational programming concepts. You’ll learn right alongside us, and feel good about the content you’re delivering to your students. Don’t worry, we’ve got you!

What it looks like

Kodable Academy is a video series of short mini lessons (less than 5 minutes) that teach you foundational programming concepts. Each video explains the programming concept, gives a real life example that makes it easy to understand (like making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich), explains how the concept is actually applied in programming, and why it all matters. Technical jargon and abstract details? No thanks, let’s keep it simple!

Our first video teaches about Sequence, the most foundational concept in programming. The rest of the videos in the series build on Sequence, and follow the same “teaching” structure:

Who it’s for

You and everyone! Made by a teacher for other teachers, we want as many teachers as possible to feel confident taking on computer science. Our Kodable Academy resources are free and available to the public.  You’ll also find it easy to access through Kodable’s Helpdesk, registered Kodable teacher or not. We believe everyone should have access to knowledge and we hope you’ll share!

What it means for you

You can feel confident teaching computer science to your students, whether you have a coding background or not! You’ll have a better understanding of the lessons you’re teaching and the tech tools you’re using in your classroom- from iPads to robots. Need to come back to a concept? No problem! You’ll always have a quick resource at your fingertips.

Teachers already do so much. In taking on computer science, we hope Kodable Academy will be a valuable learning tool that gets you just as excited as we are about the future of computer science!

Watch Now!

Let us know what you think of Kodable Academy! Anything else you’d like us to cover? Leave it in the comments!

New and Improved Tools for Teaching Coding

Last week your students got an upgrade to Kodable with the release of Bug World on iOS, but now it’s your turn! We’re always listening to your feedback and as a result has made some changes to your teacher dashboard that we think you’ll LOVE!

When you’re getting started teaching computer science, getting to your first class is crucial. So many teachers feel overwhelmed by all the choices, tools, and new content that they never make it to this point. However, if you make it to your first class, you’re 60% more likely to continue with computer science in your classroom. It is our priority to help teachers reach this point. Over the years, you may have received an email or call from a member of the Kodable team offering support to help you get to this point or asking questions about what stopped you.

This method has helped hundreds of teachers get started, and we look forward to many more of these conversations. Kodable has grown to be in 1 in 4 elementary schools and there are just too many teachers to reach everyone individually. We wanted to find a way to replicate this process for others who we weren’t able to reach.

 

Introducing your new Kodable Concierge

This new to do list on your teacher dashboard will point you in the right direction to find what’s next for you and your students. It’s like having a member of the Kodable team right there to guide you through every step of your coding journey.

 

Walk through each step toward teaching your first class.

Step1

Your to-do list takes you to the current lesson materials. 

LessonMaterials

When you complete lesson plans, your to-do list will tell you which one is up next.  

UpNext

 

 

Online lesson plans for easier planning

Before the to-do list, many, many teachers had no idea that we offered so many great resources, lesson plans, and activities in our curriculum. Now, each part of the curriculum is easier than ever to access. Every lesson plan is accessible in a digital format straight from your teacher dashboard!

View each concept

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Mark lessons complete, tracking what’s next

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This is the first step in our plan to make them all available inside the Kodable app. Having resources all in one place makes planning for your first (of many!) programming lesson.

Quickly evaluate what your students are learning

After teaching your first lesson in computer science there is usually a rush of emotions! The one we hear the most is excitement. However, often administrators and teachers are concerned about how to measure student outcomes. To accompany the qualitative evaluation built into each of our lesson plans, teachers have always valued our quantitative data.  Now you have easier access to all your student’s progress on your teacher dashboard.

View each of your classes

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View weekly snapshots of your students’ progress

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Our goal has always been to make teaching computer science as effortless and fun as possible for both students and educators. Therefore, we’re always listening to what they have to say about how we can improve. Enjoy the new tools made especially for you, and let us know what you think! We’re here to help and listen. Thank you for all that you do.

5 Tips for a Successful Back to School Night

Back to School Night is an exciting time to engage with families and start building relationships that will benefit students throughout the year and beyond.  Back to School Night typically comes after a full day of teaching, sometimes with a staff meeting sandwiched between the two.


Here are 5 tips that helped me with 5 successful Back to School Nights when I was teaching:

1. Set yourself up for success – Put out sign in sheets

In addition to having a main sign in sheet available when parents enter the room, placing one at every table proactively mitigates missing names and contact information for anyone in attendance. Sending an appreciation note, text, or e-mail the next day to those on the list is always a great starting point for parent communication.

2. Everyone likes to know what to expect – Give your guests an agenda

Having hard copies of the agenda on tables allows parents to relax, take their eyes of the clock, and engage with your presentation. No one really likes surprises, especially when little ones are in tow, dinner is waiting at home, or preparation for a busy tomorrow is looming.

3. Get organized – Recruit students to help set up your classroom

Intentionally organize your classroom for the evening and have materials ready (recruit student help!). Important, often overlooked details to keep in mind:

  • Chairs available for extra seating
  • Space for activities that require movement (icebreakers, classroom tours, time to mingle)
  • A designated area for parent belongings
  • Handouts and resources printed and easily accessible
  • Writing utensils for filling out forms, notes, etc

4. First impressions are important – Save time with a Presentation Template

Plan and set up your presentation in advance. A successful presentation is:

  • Timed. Make sure you run through it beforehand and it isn’t too short or too long!
  • Clear
  • Collaborative: allows for parents to ask questions, actively engage, and supports a strong, parent-teacher team.
  • Student-friendly. Have students participate by handing out materials, assisting parents in demos, and available as guest speakers to talk about their classroom.
  • Compatible with the technology you will use to present
  • Tested in advance- there is nothing worse than a presentation that won’t load or sound that won’t work with a room of silent parents looking at you!

    *Note: We’ve gone ahead and designed a presentation for you to use on your Back to School Night. We hope this eliminates the time you would spend planning, and we hope you’ll share it with other teachers! All you need to do is click the image below to download the Kodable Back to School Night Resource Kit. Enter your school/classroom information and fill in your agenda.

    Copy of EST. 2015

 

5. Have fun!

Back to School Night is an exciting opportunity to start building relationships with families. Let parents mingle, get to know each other, and get to know you! Include parents in your focus for the year and communicate clearly that this is a team you’re excited to be a part of it.

 

The Kodable Programming Curriculum is LIVE!

It’s been awhile in the making, but we are proud to announce that the new Kodable Curriculum is now LIVE and can be accessed right from your Kodable Teacher Dashboard! To explore these exciting new changes simply:

1. Visit Kodable.com

2. Login to your Teacher Account in the top right hand corner:

3. And voilà! Welcome to your new Kodable Programming Curriculum!

Kodable Programming Curriculum Dashboard

What’s included in the new Kodable Programming Curriculum?

Thousands of educators have been teaching their students basic programming concepts with Kodable for over a year. The focus of the new Kodable Programming Curriculum is to make teaching these coding concepts even easier.

Organized by concept, the new Kodable Programming Curriculum is a step-by-step guide to teaching your students the basics of programming.

Teaching Programming by Concept

Kodable Programming Curriculum: Sequence

The Kodable Programming Curriculum covers the most important programming concepts for beginners:

  • Sequence
  • Conditions
  • Loops
  • Functions
  • Variables (Coming Soon!)

Teaching programming concepts can often be intimidating, and sometimes it is difficult to know where to start.

Don’t worry! 

In the new Kodable Programming Curriculum we divide each programming concept into digestible and time efficient units. These units are also chock-full of teaching resources to help you along the way:

  • Concept Learning Guides
  • Unplugged Activities
  • Kodable Lessons
  • Lesson Answer Keys
  • Concept Vocabulary

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Brand New Programming Lessons

To supplement the new Kodable Programming Curriculum we have also added brand new Kodable lessons for the following programming concepts:

  • Sequence
  • Algorithms
  • Debugging

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More coming soon!

Over the course of the next few months, we will be adding resources and making improvements to the curriculum. So keep an eye out for future updates!

Kodable Web

New Kodable Dashboard is Live

Exciting news from Kodable HQ! After finishing up some major updates to Kodable Web, we are ready to release our new Teacher Dashboard! As of this moment, our new Teacher Dashboard is live and available for Public Beta in your Kodable Teacher Account.

To start using the new Kodable Dashboard, follow these instructions:

1. Visit Kodable.com

2. Log into your Teacher Account

3. Click on link in the header to try the new dashboard!

Kodable Dashboard Public Beta

4. Presto! Welcome to your new Teacher Dashboard!

Kodable Dashboard is ready to use

What’s new on the Teacher Dashboard?

Our new Kodable Teacher Dashboard is loaded with a ton of new features to help you with get the most out of your Kodable Curriculum.

View CCSS Standards in Progress and Completed

You can complete many CCSS standards using Kodable. Take a look at what standards your students are working on, and which ones they have completed.

CCSS Standards in progress and completed

View Lessons Completed

Quickly glance at your class’ progress and see what lessons they have yet to complete.

Quickly view your progress

Manage Administrator Access

Kodable School account holders can now easily manage their school’s Teacher Accounts from a single page.

Manage your teacher accounts as an administrator

View Assignments and Curriculum Resources

Introducing the new Kodable Curriculum! Learn Sequence, Conditions, Loops, Functions, and Debugging using Kodable’s learning guides, unplugged activities, video tutorials, and lessons.

Assignments Tab in Kodable

View and Edit all of your students

Quickly view and edit all of your students in every class from a single page.

View All Students and make bulk changes

 Stay tuned for more updates coming soon!

 

 

Introducing the Kodable Programming Curriculum

Kodable Programming Curriculum for Elementary

When we founded Kodable, we made it our goal to bring programming to every classroom around the world. In order to make this dream a reality, we have decided to take the next step in teaching coding, and transition from a game to a complete programming curriculum. For those just starting out, developing your own coding curriculum can be a daunting task. That’s where we can help. From now on, all of our updates will work to provide teachers with all of the resources, materials, and metrics that they need to teach their students programming. Take a look at the exciting changes we have made so far.

New Features of the Kodable Programming Curriculum

In 2014, we heard a lot of awesome feedback from the Kodable Community about how to make Kodable even better. You spoke, we listened, and we are now thrilled to introduce the new Kodable Programming Curriculum.

Native Desktop Application (Currently In Beta)

Kodable Desktop Application

Kodable can now be accessed and played right from your desktop. Kodable Desktop works with any hardware, and syncs all student data to the cloud so they can resume their progress on any device.

Administrative Tools (NEW) 


Kodable School Teachers can now manage multiple Teacher Accounts from one Administrative Account. Invite existing teachers, create new accounts, and view all of your classes/students from one dashboard.

Redesigned Dashboard (UPDATES COMING THROUGHOUT MARCH)

Class Dashboard (New)

Easily manage, view, and track class/student progress from your Teacher Account Dashboard. See what standards your class has completed, and quickly identify students that are struggling.

Kodable Dashboards Assignments

Plan, organize, and access your lessons from the new Assignments tab. Create a custom lesson playlist, or use the provided lesson guides to help you conquer your first programming lessons.

Learning Guides & Curriculum Activities (SNEEK PEEK) 

Kodable Learning Guide: Sequence

Prepare to teach your students Sequence and Condition programming concepts with our revised Learning Guides. Make connections to programming concepts outside of Kodable with unplugged activities for your classroom.

Try our new Sequence Activity –>

In Case You Missed It: Recent Updates

Add More Free Students to Your Class 

Add up to 30 students to your Teacher Account

You can now add up to 30 students to your Free Teacher Account. Take full advantage of your Kodable Free Trial and add your entire class to begin saving and tracking student progress.

New Pricing 

Kodable Curriculum Materials

Pricing for Kodable is now simpler than ever.  Purchase a site license for your entire school at a single flat rate, and get access to the complete Kodable Curriculum– now and forever.

Fresh Website Design (NEW)

Kodable Programming Curriculum

Visit Kodable.com and take a look at our redesigned homepage. If you have not signed up for a Teacher Account, enroll in a Free Trial and begin teaching your students to code.

Kodable Web 

Kodable Web

You can now visit game.kodable.com to start playing Kodable anytime, anywhere, right from your Internet Browser.

 

Even more changes are on the way. Contact neal@kodable.com with any questions. 🙂 

 

Kodable Life Hacks: Accessing the #KidsCanCode Chat Archive

Tips and tricks to improve your Kodable Programming Curriculum

Did you miss a #KidsCanCode Chat? Do you have a question that you think we may have answered in one of our #KidsCanCode Chats? Well, I have great news for you…we have an entire archive of our past chats! And they are now super easy to find!

Our #KidsCanCode Chat Archive

Skim through some of our previous chats for resources, or check out/contribute to the #KidsCanCode Community Google Doc!

Don’t forget to join us every Tuesday at 8pm EST for #KidsCanCode!