Coding for Non-Coding Educators

Learn how to create fun coding activities on high-interest topics like Star Wars, Minecraft, and even the characters from Disney's Frozen. Explore low or no-technology activities so can engage students both online and off!

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Defining Terms: Computational Thinking

"Computational thinking involves solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behaviour, by drawing on the concepts fundamental to computer science," says Jeanette Wing (Source)

ISTE New Standards for All Educators - Computational Thinking

“The ISTE Computational Thinking Competencies are designed to prepare students with the skills needed to solve problems of the future,” said ISTE CEO Richard Culatta. “The CT Competencies provide a framework to help teachers leverage computational thinking across all areas of the curriculum, not just in CS classes.” See the standards online.

Want to learn more about the ISTE Educator Standards? Why not get certified as an ISTE Educator? Find out how.

Session Outline

1 - Latest Updates

2- Digging Deeper: What is Coding?

The Hour of Code is a worldwide event to help everyone experience the power of coding. Designed for ages 4 to 104, the event is a one-hour introduction to computer science. Learn more.

"Code is the instructions a computer needs in order to function." Read the microwave example.


Tons of ways to introduce younger learners to coding. How should you begin?

Hour of Code

Recommendation Lists

Coding Apps

Osmo Coding Awbie

Osmo Coding Awbie uses hands-on physical blocks to control Awbie, a playful character who loves delicious strawberries. Each block is a coding command that directs Awbie on a wondrous tree-shaking, strawberry-munching adventure.

Boogie Bot

Boogie Bot is a fun and interactive learning app which will introduce kids to computer programming using Blockly - Google's visual programming language. In this app kids will program a robot to dance while they learn the basics of coding.

Box Island

Box Island is a mobile game that takes boys and girls on an exciting adventure, while teaching the fundamentals of coding. Kids apply the basics, such as loops and conditionals, to progress through the super fun and challenging gameplay. The first 10 levels are free.

Code Karts

Ready, Set, Code! Code Karts introduces pre-coding to children from the age of 4 through a series of logical puzzles presented in the form of a raceway. The objective is to use direction bricks to get the race car to the finish line.

Tynker Coding for Kids

Solve fun puzzles using visual blocks or Swift to learn the basics. Then create amazing games using over 100 guided tutorials and interactive courses.

Osmo Coding Jam

Kids love music, right? Now they can compose their own by arranging Osmo’s Coding Blocks into patterns and sequences. So it’s happy, hands-on play, and an awesome way to introduce Coding. Rock On!


Kodable is designed to teach computer science to elementary students grades K-5 (Ages 4-11). Kids learn the fundamentals of every modern programming language in a fun and inviting way.


Hopscotch is for kids aged 9-13. Learn to code by creating your own games. You can use our video tutorials, or create your own projects from scratch. Free to create, play and learn from starter tutorials. Upgrade for additional tutorials.


ScratchJr is an introductory programming language that enables young children (ages 5 and up) to create their own interactive stories and games. Children snap together graphical programming blocks to make characters move, jump, dance, and sing.

Daisy the Dinosaur

Built by the creators of Hopscotch. This free, fun app has an easy drag & drop interface that kids can use to animate Daisy and make her dance on their screen. Kids will intuitively grasp the basics of objects, sequencing, loops and events by solving this app's challenges.

Coding Apps


Get kids programming in the most fun way: by solving puzzles in a videogame! Kids from K through 12 will learn programming logic.


SpriteBox is a unique puzzle-platformer; a mix of exploration and learning to code. By giving Sprite programs of instructions to follow, you can advance through unique worlds and help free Sprite's bottled-up friends.


ScratchJr is an introductory programming language that enables young children (ages 5 and up) to create their own interactive stories and games. Children snap together graphical programming blocks to make characters move, jump, dance, and sing.

codeSpark Academy

This app teaches the basics of computer programming through a variety of interactive learning activities including puzzles, games, step-by-step creative projects, game design and offline printables – all of which can be monitored by parents.


Tynker is the easiest way for children to learn programming. Solve puzzles to learn concepts, easily build your own games, and control robots and drones using our new step-by-step coding tutorials. 50+ free starter templates.

Pocket Code

Pocket Code allows you to create, edit, execute, share, and remix Catrobat programs in a visual programming environment and programming language. You can remix programs that others have made and share them with your friends and the world.



With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community. Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.

Emoji Code

Using the Scratch-like drag-n-drop programming, create your own personalized girl emoji.

Blockly Games

Learn simple programming skills using drag-n-drop, Scratch-like programming.


A great game is more than just badges and achievements - it’s about a player’s journey, well-designed puzzles, and the ability to tackle challenges with agency and confidence. CodeCombat is a game that gives players that agency and confidence with our robust typed code engine, which helps beginner and advanced students alike write proper, valid code (Python, Javascript, or Lua).

With its extensive curriculum and activities, teachers will love Activities for pre-readers help teach basic computational thinking.

Choose from different courses to differentiate for your students and provide age-appropriate learning activities. An accelerated course is also available. Several courses have also been translated into 25+ languages!

You'll be building Android apps within hours of learning to program. Build games, social apps, quizzes, and other apps for you and your friends. Check out their blog for current information, training, and updates!

Code Monster

Code Monster from Crunchzilla is an interactive tutorial for kids that focuses on action. Code changes immediately yield visible results. Projects start with simple boxes and colors, rapidly progressing into exciting experiments with simple animation and fractals. Important programming concepts like variables, loops, conditionals, expressions, and functions are introduced by example.


This block-programming tool allows students to create games on a laptop that they can play on their device using eith the iOS or Android app.


This online code editor makes it easy to create and publish your own web pages while learning HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Start your own project or remix someone else's project.


Alice is an innovative block-based programming environment that makes it easy to create animations, build interactive narratives, or program simple games in 3D. Unlike many of the puzzle-based coding applications Alice motivates learning through creative exploration. Alice is designed to teach logical and computational thinking skills, fundamental principles of programming and to be a first exposure to object-oriented programming.


Learn a variety of coding languages including HTML, CSS, Python, JavaScript, Java, SQL, Bash/Shell, and Ruby. Courses lead you through step-by-step learning. This site is text heavy so students who are struggling readers may need additional support. A PRO version is available for those wanting quizzes and more resources.

Khan Academy

Learn Javascript programming through this course. Besides clear, understandable videos explaining each portion, you'll also have access to great documentation, spin-offs, and transcripts of what you've done. Students earn points and badges as they complete sections.

Fee-based Sites to Consider




Code Avengers

Events & Contests

Women Who Code

Check out this site to see if they are hosting an event near you.

Hack Reactor

Join one of these events to learn more about programming.

CodeWeek EU

Search the US for coding contests (in-person and online) near you.


Participate in monthly challenges...or just practice and get better :-)

Tynker Camps

Think of this as a camp-in-a-box that you can easily establish...even after school.

Google CS First

Google walks you through the process of starting your own CS Club with your students.

Family Code Night

Sign up to receive all you need to host a Family Code Night at your school!

4 - Resources

  • MakeCode
    • Curriculum for Micro:bit: This course is targeted to middle school grades 6-8 (ages 11-14 years). It is also written for teachers who may not have a Computer Science background, or who may be teaching an “Intro to Computer Science” course for the first time.
    • Coding with Minecraft: Features online tutorials and free curriculum
  • Exploring Computer Science: Exploring Computer Science is a year-long, research-based, high school intro-level computer science curriculum and teacher professional development program that focuses on broadening participation in computing.
  • Google's Teach Computer Science: Teachers, parents, and librarians alike have used CS First. No computer science experience needed. Instructional videos guide students through each activity, allowing you to work with students individually.
  • ISTE's Computational Thinking Standards and Resources

In the GT Classroom

"Computer programming, otherwise known as coding, has become a hot topic among parents with gifted children. While not all gifted and talented students will gravitate towards computer science (CS), there are increasing numbers who excel and quickly advance beyond most of the standard computer science curricula available on the web."