How to Implement Hour of Code in your Classroom


General Information

Hour of Code happens each year during Computer Science Education Week, and is a global phenomenon. The goal of the project is that every child should spend at least 1 hour coding each year. The Hour of Code website is well organized with resources for teachers and students who are new to programming, or already comfortable with programming. Some activities are self-guided, while others are teacher guided. Some require computers, while others are unplugged can be done with low tech resources.

The website started to support Hour of Code, but has grown to include resources beyond Hour of Code. Use it next week during Hour of Code, but also continue to use it for integration into your classroom with Math, Language Arts, Modern Languages, Unit of Inquiry, Arts, Science, etc. Interested in programming robots? There are resources for that too, even if you or your students are beginners. Resources cover Dash and Dot, Sphero, Ozobot, Lego Wedo, Hummingbird, Arduino, Finch.

Prepare for Hour of Code:

  1. Go to the Hour of Code website and sign up to participate in the Hour of Code (optional).
  2. Look through the activities shared, or on the website, and decide which option you’d like to use with your students.
  3. Make sure that any necessary software is installed, and go through the lesson or try some of the steps yourself.

During Hour of Code

If a student is stuck, here are some suggestions to help him/her with problem solving:

  • Work with a partner where the partner says the steps and the stuck student does the coding.
  • Ask questions to help the student get past the point where he/she is stuck. Try to resist the temptation to solve the problem or show a completed solution.
  • Have the student trace the code by showing/testing what each step does, or even acting out steps. (I’ve noticed some of the kindergartens naturally doing this when working in Lightbot.)

Not sure what activity to select, these tables may help you:

K-5 Hour of Code Selections

Grade Option 1 (First time programmers) Option 2 (Some programming experience)
Kindergarten Codespark Academy: The Foos or Kibo Robots Daisy
Grade 1 Codespark Academy: The Foos Lightbot
Grade 2 Lightbot Tynker
Grade 3 ScratchJr Kodable
Grade 4 All Can Code Run Marco Tickle
Grade 5 Scratch Hour of Code RoboMind Academy or Roboblockly

Sample School Sequence for Hour of Code

Kindergarten Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5 Grade 6 +
Beginner Tynker: Peep Nature Walk Tynker: Puppy Adventure Tynker: Tell a Joke Tynker: Scavenger Hunt Roboblockly One Hour Coding Tynker: Peep Dance with Friends Tynker: Hot Wheels Obstacle Course
Lightbot: Hour of Code The Foos: 1 hour play Moana Wayfinding with Code Minecraft Designer Tickle Swimming Orca Infinity Playlab Angry Birds
Kodable: fuzzFamily Frenzy Beginner Kodable: fuzzFamily Frenzy Beginner Box Island Hour of Code ScratchJr: Make the Characters Greet each other ScratchJr: Spooky Forest Robomind Academy Program a Virtual Robot Makeschool Build an iPhone Game in your Browser
Intermediate Tynker: Platform Starter Kit Tynker: Platform Starter Kit Tynker: Brick Breaker Tynker: Code Monsters Tynker: Brick Breaker Tynker: Debugger Create a Pong version
Advanced Kodable: fuzzFamily Frenzy Advanced Tynker: Brick Breaker Kodable: fuzzFamily Fitness Kodable: Violet’s Variables Kodable: Similar but Different Kodable:


Hour of Code 2016 Activities

hour of code screenshot

Hour of Code started a few years ago as a one hour activity during Computer Science Week. It has spread worldwide. Whether you teach Kindergarten, Middle School, High School, or adults, you can participate in Hour of Code. Sign up here.

This year, Hour of Code takes play from December 5 – 11, 2016. You can choose from over 200 activities, both ones that are offline and online. Some of the activities require accounts, but many of them require no additional setup. There are too many activities for me to cover, but I’ve included the ones that work on iPads, since that’s what we mostly have in K-5 at ISP, but most of the activities also work on iOS/Android.

This year, the Hour of Code website also has resources for robotics. I’ve focused on the hardware available at my school (Ozobots, Lego Wedo 2.0, Dash, Sphero), but there are other options for Hummingbird, Finch Robots, and Drones as well.

Here is a list of tools that you can use:

You may find this sample sequence useful as well:

Grade Option 1 (First time programmers) Option 2 (Some programming experience)
Kindergarten Codespark Academy: The Foos or Kibo Robots Daisy
Grade 1 Codespark Academy: The Foos Lightbot
Grade 2 Lightbot Tynker
Grade 3 ScratchJr Kodable
Grade 4 All Can Code Run Marco Tickle
Grade 5 Scratch Hour of Code RoboMind Academy or Roboblockly

Download the Google Document for your own editable copy. Be sure to also read the Hour of Code how to for great tips and resources.

Post updated Dec. 1, 2016.

Using Online Images

I believe that it’s important for us to teach/remind students to make sure that they have permission before selecting and using an image that they find online.  Remind students that just because something is posted on the internet doesn’t mean it’s okay for them to download and use it.

My favorite website for children to use is Photos for Class. The reason that I like this website best, is because the photo source is automatically posted on the image, so children don’t have to do an additional step to site the image. This is especially great for children in lower elementary. Sometimes, however, children have trouble finding images on Photos for Class. This is especially frustrating for students who have done the same search at home, in Google Images, where there are many more results.

My second favorite search tool is Google Advanced Image Search. Google Advanced Image Search searches the world wide web. You can filter out explicit results, and narrow your results to images that  you are free to use and share. See the image below to find those settings.

advanced-image-searchOnce you find an image on the web, you have to check the permission images to see what is required of you to use this image. You are usually required to cite the sources, and sometimes, to hyperlink to the original image. Some images are in the public domain and do not need to be cited.

There are a number of other specialty websites that help you find images that you have permission to use.

  • Creative Commons Search lets you search specific sites or databases for images, and other multimedia that are Creative Commons licensed.
  • Wikimedia Commons is a collection of user submitted images that anyone can use.
  • Flickr Creative Commons lets you find images that Flickr users have licensed for reuse using Creative Commons.
  • Tech for Learning is a library of images especially curated for educational use
  • UN World Library is a collection of historical images from the Library of Congress and UNESCO about our world.
  • Prints and Photographs from the Library of Congress is a collection of historical images from the Library of Congress
  • Free Photo sites is a directory of images collected from the world wide web, free for non-commercial use. Attribution is necessary for these images.
  • Trek Earth is a website that encourages people to learn about the world through photography. Images are organized by locations where they were taken.
  • Realia Project is a collection of images and media collected by faculty for use in learning and teaching modern languages.
  • Culturally Authentic Pictorial Lexicon is a selection of images specifically curated to support language learning. They bill themselves as “the source for authentic images for language learning.
  • Morgue File lets users (creatives) share photos for other people to use in creative endeavors. The website also indexes images from other sites.

Related Posts


The Kids Should See This

I’ve shared this link before, and I think it may be time to share it again, as students extend their learning into areas of personal interest. The Kids Should See This is a great website for video clips that you can integrate in the classroom. You can search the site for Innovation, Art, and many other topics of interest.

This video highlights how a Japanese town is working to reduce landfill waste. And I thought sorting into 6 bins was a lot when I lived in Japan!

Link Highlight – Ask Dr Universe


Washington State University has a great site called Ask Dr. Universe. The website invites students to submit a question, or look though questions asked by other children. Questions are categorized so that children can explore topics based on their curiosity.

You can use this website to spark children’s curiosity or to create and ask a question of an expert. This questions may derive from an individual student investigation or a whole class discussion. When children submit a question to an expert, they have to type in an email address. With younger students, e-mail replies are best filtered through the teacher’s email account. A feature that I really like about this website is that, instead of typing a question, students can upload their question with a video.

Here’s a short, official, video highlighting the tool: