There are many resources online to inspire those that might feel ill-equipped at teaching coding to kids, many which have been shared on the ALSC Blog by librarians from Fayetteville Free Library and Los Angeles Public Library.
Finding it difficult to recruit outside instructors? The Hour of Code tutorials are not only accessible for beginners, but also fun for a variety of ages. One of my colleagues still has her certificate hanging in the office after completing one hour of coding with Frozen’s Anna and Elsa. If that’s not your cup of tea, there are also new programs through Code.org that allow kids to code with characters from Minecraft and Star Wars. In a few weeks we are even going to be teaching young children the concepts of code without the use of a computer. Many of these classes are referred to as Unplugged Coding Lessons.
My favorite resource for introducing kids to coding is the app-based Hopscotch which uses colored blocks as commands, much like Scratch. The company is even preparing for December’s Hour of Code with in-app tutorials, guides, and lesson plans. There is a fantastic introduction to Hopscotch in video form, while a free eBook written by Wesley Fryer provides more complex challenges for ongoing sessions.
Whatever your experience, this December make a commitment to participate in Hour of Code. Whether that is by offering an introductory course for kids in your library, or earning your own certificate by taking 60 minutes out of the work week to learn a new skill. One of the moments that propelled our library into offering more of these opportunities was one parent commenting that the library was fulfilling a need in the community that was not being addressed elsewhere. Although this was one language I had not anticipated in honing as a children’s librarian, I’m thankful that this profession is opening new learning opportunities for me, the children’s staff, and the kids and teens we serve.
Claire Moore is a member of the Digital Content Task Force. She is also Head of Children and Teen Services at Darien Library in Connecticut. You can reach Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the Digital Media Resources page to find out more about navigating your way through the evolving digital landscape.
I have not had a chance to look over my review copy yet, but No Starch Press [https://www.nostarch.com/] has a new book out, The Official ScratchJr Book: Help your Kids Learn to Code. It’s suggested for ages 5-7.
Great to know! We also just added Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding by Linda Liukas to our collection. http://www.darienlibrary.org/catalog/record/255841