Many thanks to Kathy Larson from Bloomer for this terrific guest post!
I’ve gone to many workshops over the past few years where I’ve heard librarians say, “Setting up a coding club is so easy” but they can’t really explain how they started it. I thought there was some trick to it, or some deep knowledge I was missing that would make me look like a complete idiot in front of the kids and their parents. I just wanted someone to tell me how to do it.
Now that I have a coding club at our library, I finally understand why it is so hard to explain. It’s so simple! Lucky for me there is an AMAZING resource for coding club! I have no idea where I heard about this website, but Prenda will walk you through all the steps. All you have to do is get some computers and some kids and promote your program. It is really that easy. Okay, there is a bit more, but not a whole lot.
Through their website, I was furnished with a packet that is essentially the curriculum for running your coding club. It outlines what to do week by week with websites and challenges for kids to complete. The first week we watched a video recommended by Prenda on some of the perks of being able to code. Then we went to code.org and had them play around on Hour of Code. The next week you set up coding accounts on code.org and have them pick a track for their coding adventure and they are off. That is it.
Even when they need help, you can guide them with questions so they can come up with the answers themselves, so you really don’t need to have any prior coding skills.
In hindsight, I would have set up accounts for the kids before they started because it tracks all of their progress and it has been amazing watching the speed at which some of these kids catch on. In five weeks the kids at our program, ranging from 6-11 years old, have written more than 2,000 lines of code! How do you do that? Prior to the first session, visit Code.org and set up a teacher account so that you can add students as they walk through the door. You definitely do not have to have ANY knowledge about coding, you just have to be able to log onto a computer, access websites and create some accounts.
So that monster that is coding is really just a simple teddy bear.