I have been in the classroom since 1979 — and in an educational technology classroom since 1992 — and though I have always had a very creative, fun, learning, active classroom — yet, I have NEVER seen the joy and engagement as I have since I have brought CODING into the lab.

About a year ago, my friend Vicky S shared with me about coding — and I decided to give it a try by using the APP kodable.  (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/kodable/id577673067?mt=8)

I introduced it briefly to my students and then watched them learn — I was also blessed to capture this moment of joy when one of the students was using the app:

Fast forward to this year, and I decided to investigate more about HOUR OF CODE (http://code.org/learn) and created an account and signed my 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classes up.

Each week during November and the first week of December — our 3rd, 4th, & 5th graders will be a part of HOUR OF CODE and 6th grade will join up in December.

For the 1st week — I showed the HOUR OF CODE welcome video and then introduced them to the first 3 lessons in the 20 lessons of Hour Of Code…..and then stepped back and watched them.   There was an excitement, an engagement and such learning happening.

For the 2nd week — I showed the PAIRED PROGRAMMING video from Hour of Code and then we worked on the LIGHT BOT lessons.  Again — they were so involved and working in teams was NOT a issue at all.


For the 3rd week — we will be learning SCRATCH and for the 4th week we will use KODABLE again.   I might even extend it to a Week 5 and let them choose whatever coding program they wish to use — but smiles, still deciding that.

We also have created an HOUR OF FAME window where I am posting pictures of students who have completed the HOUR OF CODE (on their own time – not in the computer lab)
wofand a bulletin board that changes each week as the arrow of direction is added:


Since we started coding in November — I have shared to several people about the excitement and joy happening in the lab — something I have NEVER seen before….and though it is not with every single student — I can honestly say it is over 90%.

Because of coding — my students are learning:
Problem solving, cause and effect, if then then this, math skills, teamwork, independent work, being inquisitive, being triumphant, failing and learning

I have also stepped back and learned a great deal about my students –
Some are truly competitive and need recognition, some of my students need step by step directions and get confused if a step is missed, some of my quiet students are VERY VERY strong thinkers.

I and my students are also learning that SUCCESS does not always come easily or the first time — but you step back, learn from your mistakes and try again.

Hour of Code does not officially begin until December 8, 2014 — http://code.org/learn — but you can join any time and you can host it anytime.   The site has created an exceptional portal for learning, resources, and a variety of coding opportunities.  Plus, there are also some great apps you can download to your devices — and many are free.

You might already have your lesson plans set in stone for the week of Dec 8th — but I would urge you to step back and put those lessons off for a week — and try HOUR OF CODE — I believe with my entire heart that YOU and YOUR students will be glad that you did!


I am an educator who LOVES bringing creative opportunities each day to my students.   Currently, I am working with a wonderful group of Kindergarten through 6th grade students at a Private Christian School in California.   Since 1999, I have been hosting online projects for elementary classrooms at ProjectsByJen.com.   I have won several awards for my projects – but those mean nothing compared to the smiles from students and the thanks from parents & teachers! I enjoy traveling to conferences and edcamps and sharing ways to bring JOY and CREATIVITY back into your classroom. Follow me on Twitter @JenWagner.   Have a wonderful day!


  1. Kay Green says:

    I’m not sure I will be able to do this during the school year—but you just gave me a great idea for a summer camp!!!

    • Jennifer says:

      Yep — that would be a great idea! My students are enjoying it — the parents are very involved as well. A substitute teacher (who’s kiddos don’t go here) took it home to show her kids and THEY are hooked as well. True — it can be seen as a game — but a learning game. Some apps my students cannot get enough of are KODABLE, LIGHTBOT, and FIXTHEFACTORY. All are free!!

  2. Donna Thaggard says:

    Jen, I read this post yesterday and thought I would give this a try with my second graders. I registered them this morning and use the site when we went to the lab. My kids loved it ! We watched a couple of the videos to get us started and I pulled up the site on the Actiboard so we could work through the first couple of levels together and then they were off. I’m looking forward to continuing after Thanksgiving.

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