In our micro-interview blog series, we’re chatting to educators and young coding enthusiasts and hearing about their Code Club experience.
Worth Valley Primary School in Keighley, England launched their Code Club in spring 2023, and club members have been working through our Introduction to Scratch path.
Each week, 15 young people take part in the club sessions, and this is where we first met Terrell, aged 9, a budding coder with a passion for coding and learning new skills.
Terrell told us what he enjoys about attending the new after-school Code Club at his school.
Enjoy this micro-interview with Code Club member Terrell
Let’s get started…
What inspired you to start coding?
What inspired me was when I first saw coding, I saw that it was great to help people make things happen in programs and make games, and I wanted to have a go as I really like games and would love to make my own games so that I can play them and evaluate them and give myself feedback to improve it, then send the programs to share with others.
What do you enjoy the most about coding?
The best thing about coding is all the things we have to do. We’ve learnt how to follow programs and make things happen and then share them with everyone and show how proud we are of our code. I’ve enjoyed everything we do in Code Club, and learn new skills as we complete each project.
How do you help your Code Club friends with their coding projects?
I help them if they are stuck. I like to help, and if I can, I’ll find a solution, or if I know how to make them succeed, I will help them. It’s great to help each other and if we are not sure, we ask each other or persevere to find the answer.
What’s your favourite project that you have made with code?
My favourite project was making my own book as I got to use all my skills and choose my own sprites. You can replay it and add more if you want to, or listen to it whenever I want to.
Describe your Code Club in three words.
Educating. Fun. Programming.
Thank you, Terrell!
If you enjoyed this micro-interview, read our micro-interview with Sue and learn about her experiences of using the Code Club resources and projects in her club, in Norfolk, England.
You don’t need any coding experience to run a Code Club, and you can help more young people like Terrell learn vital coding and digital skills. Start a club today!
Creating guidelines for your Code Club can be a simple way to help your young coders make the most of the non-formal environment that Code Club offers. In this blog, we share a few ideas to help you get started.
Code Clubs are fun, creative, and at times wonderfully chaotic spaces. If you’re a teacher running a club at your school, it’s not always easy to transition from the role you take during class time, to a club leader hosting a more relaxed space. If you are a Code Club volunteer, there can also be challenges with entering a school as a new and unfamiliar face.
Club leader Janine Kirk at the King’s Academy in Stoke-on-Trent shared how the informal element of Code Club has changed the learning experience for both her and her students:
“In classrooms it’s often quite structured, whereas in Code Club I can be a little bit more free and they can get to know me. We can have a bit of a joke – the students really enjoy that!”
Code Clubs should be less structured than the school day, but encouraging an atmosphere where everyone takes care of themselves, club equipment, and each other can help turn a good Code Club into a great one! One way to do this is to get your young coders to come up with a set of club rules with you. This helps create a Code Club that everyone can enjoy, whilst providing boundaries that keep your club safe, happy, and fun.
Create your club rules together
At the start of your Code Club journey, you’ll need to spend some time figuring out how best to run your club and then you can fine tune the details as you go. Involving your young coders in creating your club guidelines is a simple icebreaker activity, and being involved in the process can provide them with a sense of ownership and expectation around their behaviour.
Spend ten minutes during your first session discussing how your Code Club should run, with club attendees giving their ideas on how to make that vision a reality. Right from the start, you can use this as a chance to model expected behaviours: for example, should your club members raise their hands to share an answer, or are you happy for them to call out ideas?
Once you’ve decided on your final list, you can write them up using the “Our Code Club rules” template in your dashboard, or you could ask your club members to design their own reminders of the rules using paper and coloured pens or pencils.
All ideas are welcome!
It’s up to you to choose ideas that will let your coders and Code Club thrive. Code Clubs should be fun and safe spaces, so your club rules could cover anything from behaviours that encourage exploration and imagination, to requests outlining how everyone should set up and pack away equipment each week.
If you need some inspiration to get started, here are a few ideas you could suggest:
Be kind, respectful, and treat others the way you would like to be treated.
During Code Club sessions, you can call the Club Leader by their first name.
If someone is talking, make sure to listen. It’s okay to chat to each other during Code Club, but we listen quietly when someone is speaking.
See three, before me. If your code isn’t working:
1) Check you have completed all the steps
2) Compare your code to the example in the instructions, and
3) Ask the person next to you for help, before you ask the Club Leader.
Be mindful of your behaviour online. Don’t share any personal information about yourself and follow any guidance shared.
Take care of the equipment. Don’t eat or drink near computers, and put everything away neatly at the end of the session.
Have fun and be creative! Enjoy learning new things and don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild!
What rules will you include in your Code Club? Let us know on social media using the hashtag #MyCodeClub.
Whether you’re a seasoned Code Club educator or just starting out on your club journey, we’ve got some great ideas that will help put some sparkle into your coding adventures and learning this September!
To help you find your spark, four of our team members have picked their favourite upcoming events to share with you:
Zoe’s excited about our new progress charts!
With the support of the Code Club community, I’ve developed a series of progress charts based on our ‘3…2…1…Make!’ project paths as a way to celebrate learners’ coding achievements.
Earlier this year, I introduced the ‘Introduction to Scratch’ chart, which has been widely used. Now, I am thrilled to announce the launch of two new charts: the ‘Introduction to Web’ and ‘Introduction to Python’ progress charts. These charts are available to all clubs worldwide. As learners complete projects, they can collect stickers or colour the badges to mark their achievements and track their progress.
You can access the progress chart, a sticker template specifically designed for Avery round labels, or the stickers themselves on your resources dashboard. This gives you the flexibility to print in a format that suits your needs.
I hope you enjoy using these progress charts in your Code Clubs, and make sure you share your learners’ coding successes on social media using the hashtag #MyCodeClub.
Zoe Davidson, Programme Coordinator, Code Club
Ellie can’t wait for Moonhack, the online global challenge
I work with partners based all over the world, and one of the things I love to see is young people from different backgrounds coming together to have fun with coding. And in my opinion, one of the best opportunities to code together is Moonhack!
Moonhack is an online global challenge run by our partner, Code Club Australia, and you can submit an entry to this space-themed event from wherever you are in the world. This year, six new projects have been developed to showcase inventions created for space that we now use in everyday life. The projects use Scratch, Python, and micro:bit to inspire learners’ creativity and critical thinking for digital solutions.
I’d encourage everyone to have a go and submit a project. It’s a really fun way to learn new coding skills, and there are step-by-step guides if you need some help.
Moonhack runs from 10 to 26 October and I hope you get a chance to explore the projects with your Code Club — don’t forget to share what you’re up to using the hashtag #moonhack.
Ellie Proffitt, Code Club Global Partnerships Manager
Darren invites you to join him at a Code Club online event!
Starting a Code Club can sometimes feel overwhelming, but don’t worry; I’ve got you covered! My primary goal is to support you, regardless of where you are in your Code Club journey, and I understand that, when it comes to support, nothing beats the value of interacting with a member of the Code Club team. That’s why this September, I encourage you to join me at one of our online workshops.
We’re running workshops for Scratch, HTML & CSS, and Python that cater to both beginners taking their first steps into coding and experienced club leaders transitioning from block-based to text-based programming. And that’s not all: I’m currently curating two NEW workshops on artificial intelligence (AI) and micro:bit! More info on these soon!
I’ve designed all these workshops based on your feedback and needs, as well as drawing from my own experience of running a Code Club for the past decade in Ireland. They are literally made for you!
So, come and join me at one of our online workshops to take advantage of our team’s knowledge. You’ll find it easier than ever to kickstart your Code Club with confidence!
Darren Bayliss, Code Club Community Coordinator (Ireland)
Sarah’s counting down to the European Astro Pi Challenge launch
I’ve found that nothing sparks curiosity and wonder in a child’s eyes like the subject of Space. But one of the struggles of teaching this subject is its intangibility: there are limited ways children can get hands-on with such distant subject matter. This is why I’m so excited about the launch of the European Astro Pi Challenge!
Astro Pi brings space into the classroom, giving children access to actual instruments on board the International Space Station (ISS). You don’t need to be an astrophysicist or a coding whizz to get involved as Astro Pi has two programmes aimed at different ability levels.