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Make Coding Cool: Hour of Code

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Editor's Note: This post is part of a series produced by HuffPost's Girls In STEM Mentorship Program. Join the community as we discuss issues affecting women in science, technology, engineering and math.

Do your students think coding is cool?

This week, all across the United States, kids are discovering the joy of coding. December 9-13 has been declared "Hour of Code," an event hosted by Code.org with over 6 million people participating. According to the Code.org website there is a widening gap in the number students in college earning a computer science degree and the ever growing need for jobs relating to computing. Code.org predicts that by 2020 there will be one million more jobs than students in the computer science field. The "Hour of Code" event is a great way to bring an awareness to how fun (and cool) coding can be!

You may be thinking...

How does this connect to my curriculum?

At the basis of the Common Core State Standards is the idea that our students should be creating, thinking critically, communicating, and collaborating. Teaching your students how to code embodies the 4 Cs. In addition, learning to code requires higher level thinking skills such as evaluating, predicting, inferring, and analyzing which are skills that weave through all content areas.

You also may be thinking...

How am I supposed to teach coding when I don't even know how to code?

Have no worries. I am definitely not an expert in coding myself. However, I have a love of learning new things. This week my students and I have enjoyed learning and playing together with a variety of tools that are helping us to understand the basics of coding.

Here are some of the iOS apps we have been using:

Kodable: My students and I fell in love with these adorable fuzz creatures as we learned basic programming logic skills, sequencing, and ordering. You simply provide commands to program your fuzz creature through varying levels of mazes. Kodable has a free version and right now during the Hour of Code Kodable Pro is 90% off.

Hopskotch: This app allows kids to write their own scripts without having to know code language. In this app you begin with a blank screen and characters. You are then able to give commands to your character to help them move around the screen. Today I challenged many of my students to have their characters write the first initial of their name on the screen.

Here are some web resources we used:

BotLogic: This webpage is great for beginning coders that allows you to code simple movement commands. The object of the game is to move the robot to his home by avoiding various obstacles. One thing I really love is that this webpage is leveled based on age. Since my students are under the age of 13 they are able to play without being required to add an email address.

Scratch: If you are looking for more advanced programming for some of your students, Scratch is the place for them! This web resource is a great place for students to take their coding skills a step further to create stories, games, and animations and share them with an online community. Right now Scratch has a great step by step tutorial for students to learn how to create an animated Holiday card. Follow this link to learn more.

Now hopefully you are thinking...

How can I get started with making code cool in my classroom?

It's not too late to get started and organize an Hour of Code in your classroom or at your school. Simply visit Code.org and see all of the other amazing resources out there. Coding is the language of the future. Let's inspire our students now!

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Visit my blog at AppEducation.com.
**I am not paid to blog about these apps. However, the resources I blog about are teacher tested and student approved by me.

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