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.
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.
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.
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:
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!