Paul Johnston
Curriculum Development Officer


How do you teach those students with low literacy and numeracy skills how to code?

5 / 5 • 3 Ratings

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Liliana Martinez

Posted on 5/18/15 4:17:15 AM Permalink

There is a great program called HOUR OF CODE. I used it with my students and many of them were reading far below grade level and their math skills were also very low. They were able to keep up with the program and in the beginning it was very easy for them to do the lessons. As they advance through the levels it does get a little harder but most students were able to do it without any assistance. Students also helped each other when they were stuck on a level. Overall this is a great program to learn coding.

Colin Byers

Posted on 9/8/14 3:57:22 AM Permalink

Scratch is good, or enchanting for mine craft.

Fred Benitez

Posted on 5/19/15 5:24:55 PM Permalink

Love Scratch! Lots of resources here: ScratchEd

Jason Horadam

Posted on 9/3/14 5:54:52 AM Permalink

Taking part in the Hour of Code is a great way to get all students coding. I did this last year and had a few students go on to learn at their own pace in Code Academy. The great thing about it is that they don't feel like they are coding as they start out moving commands around to move Angry Birds toward the pigs and eventually avoiding obstacles. It is very similar to the way they learn to use Scratch.

Paul Johnston

Posted on 9/4/14 2:04:17 AM Permalink

Thanks for the post. Great idea - this is my plan for my Yr 9/10 students. I want to start them on Hour of Code, Blockly and Lightbot and then move them to w3schools and Code Academy. Found a useful video on You tube that gives a great intro to programming.

Duane Erickson

Posted on 9/1/14 2:43:03 PM Permalink

I'm not sure what level you are looking for, but there are quite a few sites out there that have some very basic coding games and programs for kids to play. Here are a few for you. - A variety of levels, including very basic

CodeAcademy and CodeAvengers are also very good, but might be higher than what you're looking for.

Paul Johnston

Posted on 9/2/14 6:34:16 AM Permalink

I am aware of and CodeAcademy but have not come across CodeAvengers. I'll check it out - Thanks for the reply.

Duane Erickson

Posted on 9/4/14 4:30:28 AM Permalink

Another program that I've used quite a bit is Alice. It's basic premise is to teach programming through the use of animation. The non-programmers seem to like it, but you can teach some basic programming concepts if you really want to.

Paul Johnston

Posted on 9/8/14 2:36:31 AM Permalink

Looks great! Just downloading it now and will have a play. Thanks for sharing.

Damien Soukhavong

Posted on 8/21/14 1:43:01 PM Permalink

I usually do something like this when I've got to deal with such students (well, I teach how to code one-to-one 99% of the times, and I have a ton of these cases ; except in IS):

  1. Show them SIMPLE code samples that works
  2. Show them the effect of the code samples (only 1 by 1)
  3. Breakdown the code sample part by part in a reverse day (the most in depth first, the least in depth last)
  4. Each time, show them the effect of the code you did breakdown (while explaining)
  5. Each time you breakdown once more, include the next depth level in the show
  6. Show them again the code sample effect
  7. Modify some parameters
  8. Go back to step 3 until you did it 2 or 3 times
  9. Tell them what the function do in depth

This is to learn what functions and arguments are. But to code from nothing, you need to have a "working" software that have a great UX (not Dreamweaver). There are a lot of free software to code inside, where it's convenient to code thousand to million lines of code, with autocomplete etc. They'll learn both from your examples and the software automated hints (that's how I used to train people to make tournaments from existing codes in a specific game without any knowledge in coding several years ago, even a 10-years old could understand as it had a wonderful meaning behind to make tournaments with friends on something they love).

Paul Johnston

Posted on 8/25/14 2:18:59 AM Permalink

Thanks for such a detailed response! I think it is a great idea to start simple and then to breakdown the code into various components to scaffold learning. Repetition seems to be key in helping students to deepen their understaning of how different coding parameters operate.

Jody Campbell

Posted on 8/19/14 1:50:38 PM Permalink

Coding is outside my area of expertise but I deal with similar issues, I have found that when ever you are introducing a new and complex idea it helps to make it self relevant. Figure out what they do know and make the connection between that and the new concept.

Paul Johnston

Posted on 8/21/14 1:10:49 AM Permalink

That is a really good idea. I think i need to select some robust examples of how coding can add value to the day to day life of a teenager. Thanks for the reply!