All Students Code in Science

codecademy-learning-environment-3
After our Scratch Project was a success I decided to have all of my students learn to code on CodeAcademy. CodeAcademy is a free website that teaches various coding languages: HTML, CSS, JAVA, PYTHON etc. I decided to start my 6th graders off with HTML & CSS. After researching a bit on the website this seemed like the most foundational course to start off with coding.

How did I Implement?

I made a schedule for all the students and their goal was to complete 1 lesson a week, this varied as some lessons were 20+ steps whereas others were only 6-10. For the lessons that were 20+ steps I allocated multiple weeks for the students to complete it. Every Monday they work on CodeAcademy for the first 15-20 minutes of class. If they finish an assignment early – they are allowed to go on to CodeAcademy and complete more lessons.

CodeAcademy allows the teacher to view the progress of the students and organize by block/period. This was a GREAT tool for me and allowed me to easily grade their progress. How did I  grade coding you might ask? I didn’t really, i gave them a grade for completing a certain amount of lessons. For example; the students knew they needed to be done with lesson 2, 3 weeks into starting CodeAcademy. If they had reached that checkpoint I gave them 30/30 points. If they did not reach the checkpoint I gave them 20-25 points. I want to encourage students to learn to code so at the current moment I do not believe in penalizing them harshly for taking more time – but at the same time they need to stay on a schedule so we can all complete a culminating project before the end of the year. I am still trying to figure out if there is a better way to give them a grade for coding – any ideas?

What about Special Education or English Language Learner students?

All of my students in my class code – no matter what their abilities. Of course this has to be tweaked a bit depending on the reading abilities of various students. I have some special education students whose reading skills are much lower so the Special education teacher and I came to the conclusion they would be better off completing work on code.org. Students who are English Language Learners are able to switch code academy to their home language – but what i have found is most of them prefer to challenge themselves to do it in English. My ELLs know that doing CodeAcademy in English will help them learn the language faster so they only switch languages if they are confused with what the lesson is asking them to do.

Some of my special education students have really fallen in love with coding and the Special Ed teacher I work with has included coding in her math course.

What do you think? Any ideas on how I can better integrate coding into my classroom?

Scratch Studios: Science Vocab Quiz  Volcano/Earthquake Game

CodeAcademy Student Handout: CodeAcademy 2014/15 Student Handout

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