Our Code Club rules! How to have fun and set boundaries

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.

A classroom setting with young people sat at tables working on laptops.
Melbourn Code Club

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.

Three boys in a classroom gathered around one laptop, laughing.
Working together to set club rules

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.

Club rules template. Be kind, Listen to other, Have fun.
Club rules template

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

September sparks: Four inspiring ideas for you and your Code Club!

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:

Members of the Code Club posing for a photos in front of a wall. Some our kneeling, some are standing.
The Code Club team

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.

Coding progress charts and stickers for Scratch, web and Python.
Three new progress charts

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, Oct 10-26 2023.

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!

A young girl sat at a desk looking at a laptop. A educator is next to her, looking at the screen and smiling.

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!

The International Space Station in orbit.
The International Space Station (photo credit: NASA)

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.

Learn how your Code Club can get involved.

Sarah Eve Roberts, Code Club Community Coordinator (Wales)

Keep in touch and let us know what you will be working on with your Code Club! We are excited to hear about the projects you’ll be trying and the coding adventures you’ll be going on.

Our survey says…A look at the results 

The summer is an exciting time for us at Code Club as we receive the results from our Annual Survey and we learn about your club and your opinion of Code Club. 

Thank you to everyone who filled in the survey; your responses were insightful. Read on for a closer look at the highlights and most significant findings that we’ve uncovered.

Children sat at desks in a classroom looking at laptops.
Melbourn Code Club

Where and who: getting to know clubs and their leaders

We’re interested in building a picture of what clubs look like, where in the world they run, and who participates in them. 

First, we found that there’s a real global mix: 69% of responses were from clubs in the UK, but we also heard from clubs from 31 other countries, from Afghanistan to Canada!  

You told us that being part of our global community is important to you: 77% of you reported that you find being part of the community motivating, and 81% of you have found that community beneficial for answering questions and solving problems.

Next, we found that just over 50% of responses were from school educators and the rest were from volunteers who go into their local school or library to run their club. Over half (53%) of club leaders identify as female and we were pleased to discover that, again, the proportion of Code Club members who identify as female has increased, to 42%. This is fantastic and we’re very proud of this achievement.

If you’re interested in engaging with fellow club leaders from around the world, consider joining our community on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, and LinkedIn. Share your questions and success stories to connect and interact with like-minded individuals.

The impact of Code Club

We were overjoyed to hear about the positive impacts that coming to Code Club has on your young learners: 94% of you told us that you saw positive changes in club members’ personal confidence. You also reported that attending Code Club helps your learners: 

  • Increase independence in their learning (91%) 
  • Develop their creative thinking (90%)
  • See the usefulness of computing (90%)
  • Increase their feeling of belonging (81%) 

We also discovered that, when thinking about digital technologies:

  • 94% of you agreed that club members’ skills in computing and programming had increased
  • 93% agreed that your club members’ confidence in learning about computing and programming had increased
  • 92% agreed that your club members’ interest in computing had increased
  • 87% agreed that club members’ ability to solve problems with computers had increased

Why do schools run a Code Club?

We asked educators about how their school benefits from running a Code Club and discovered that 84% valued the increase in visibility of computer science in their school and 61% valued the contribution to a broad extra curricular programme.

What happens at Code Club sessions?

We were not surprised to find out that the majority of clubs (95%) use Scratch in their sessions, but we were pleased to hear that you have been also working with Micro:bits (58%), Python (47%), and HTML/CSS (30%).

We heard a lot of love for our projects, with 81% of clubs using them mostly or exclusively. You told us that you found them easy to follow, and liked the layout:

“[We find the]..clear coloured blocks and guidance tips useful. The use of expandable information windows is good as it saves scrolling back and forth.”

How can we support you?

This is one of the most important questions that we asked you. We want to help you run fun, successful clubs, and are keen to hear your ideas for how we can support you further. 

We found that 75% of you have participated in training offered by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. This includes our Code Club online workshops, the ‘Prepare to run a Code Club‘ course, and any of the courses provided by the Raspberry Pi Foundation on the global online learning platform edX.

We’ve had some excellent feedback and ideas about how we could do more to help, and we’re going to work on a few of these suggestions in the next couple of months. Watch this space!

We always enjoy hearing your ideas on how we can assist you in running your Code Club. If you missed the survey but have an idea about how we can support you, please reach out to the team by emailing us at support@codeclub.org.