Kinder Through 2 Can Code Too

My wife teaches Kindergarten and first I know it's crazy! I have sincere admiration for Kindergarten and first grade teachers. I am starting my 26th year in education, absolutely none of those are in K/1. BUT, I did go to many of those classrooms and introduce Scratch Jr. last year. It was a lot of fun, and there are some new resources available to get you started once Back To School Night is over.  

Scratch Jr. can provide a solid base to get kids coding basics without a lot of extra work for teachers. It is great if you have an iPad or Kindle available with the Scratch Jr. app but it isn't necessary anymore. You CAN just use the resources below which include unplugged activities below without ANY technology. Yes, you will still be teaching the students coding. Is it more fun if you do have an iPad or Kindle? Yes, but do what you can with the resources you have available. 

Getting Started:

1. NEW Scratch Jr. Coding Cards: 

I was very happy to hear about these. I bought a set right away and if you are serious about trying to get some coding done in your primary classroom, make your administrator buy them for you. Once you get them, here's how I would use them. 

PURPLE CARDS: These are only necessary if you have an iPad or Kindle with the app. Sit down with these and open the app to explore all the functions of the app. There are 20 purple cards and these will help you learn the basics like adding a character, adding text, and backgrounds.

BLUE CARDS: These cards are ideas to get students started. I would just use these ideas to give students a starting point and see if they can use their creativity to go from there. There are 40 blue cards with ideas and it shows a picture of the code if you need a safety net.

GREEN CARDS: These are the unplugged cards that are awesome. There are 15 green cards with ideas to introduce computational thinking. An example: Guide A Friend - let's write a program to help your friend navigate around the room. 

I like these cards even more than I thought I would. 

Unplugged Scratch Jr. card sample

Unplugged Scratch Jr. card sample

2. Scratch Jr. Pics of Coding Blocks PDF:

These are simple and free. I printed the PDF out in color on some cardstock. Then I just cut the cards down to size and put some magnet tape on the back so I can use it on a whiteboard. I think this will be fun to introduce new blocks and is also a way to get students coding without having a device. They can program some directions for the teacher or another student to act out. The PDF of coding blocks is available for free on the Scratch Jr. website. 

PDF Sample on cardstock. I need to trim them down more. 

PDF Sample on cardstock. I need to trim them down more. 

3. Scratch Jr. Book:

Written by Marina Umashci Bers and Mitch Resnick is always good to have around for support as well. I put my thumb in all the pictures so you would know that I actually own all the things I am writing about. If you need a book to guide your way, this is the one to own. (Links on this site are all just to help, none are affiliate links.)

The only book you will need to get started. 

The only book you will need to get started. 

I hope this information helps out. Please feel free to comment, share, or reach out to me on Twitter @jonsamuelson. Once you get started I have some ideas on how students can share the digital products with their parents on Seesaw or other places  you need to share them. The important thing is to just get started. If you still need more ideas check back here, or just ask. If you need a reminder of why you should try coding with K-2, here is proof from one of my first lessons in first-grade. 

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