I had a blast running my first year’s code clubs. I learned SO MUCH from doing it and I hope the kids got a lot out of it too but I really think I can do better. First of all a lot of the Code Club materials this time around encouraged simply copying the code from worksheets. This is fine to begin with but we really need to focus more on teaching the kids about how a program works. Some of the concepts that really need explaining are:
- Sequencing – programs are executed line by line starting at the top and working down
- Branching – Simple if statements
- Looping – Repeat, while and for statements
- Debugging – how to dry run a program in your head so that you can figure out what’s going wrong
There’s a lot more than this of course but if I could get all my Code Club kids to understand these 4 things I think we’d be off to a hell of a great start.
So this coming term I have a few ideas of things I want to try. First of all I want to spend more time in front of a white board talking to the kids and showing them some of of these concepts and, hopefully, getting them to explain them back to me. I started this stand-up teaching approach last term with my Flappy Bird project where I explained the algorithms to the kids before we got into turning it into code and even then I tried to give them pseudo code.
I’m still brainstorming but I feel like there’s a lot we can do with this Code Club concept. I’d really welcome your ideas!