Educator Sophie, shares her experience to help you get started with Code Club

In February 2021 Sophie Hudson, a teacher at Linton-on-Ouse Primary School and Nursery, took the leap and launched her first Code Club! 

Sophie shares what she has learnt from running online sessions and her advice on how you can get started with your Code Club. 

Female teacher Sophie Hudson stands in front of a wall mural
Sophie Hudson

Sophie’s helpful pointers

If you’re ready to set up a Code Club in 2021, Sophie has three helpful pointers that gave her the confidence to start a club. 

1. Head online

I completed the FREE online FutureLearn Prepare to Run a Code Club course. This really helped me to understand how to run a club and what I needed to do to get Code Club ready! 

Take part in the Code Club meetups! Joining the meetup showed me that there is a great community ready to answer my questions, if I need help.

2. Learn together

Admit when you are ‘learning together’. It’s been really good for the children to see me work things out and hear my thought processes. The Code Club projects are really useful and provide a clear pathway through Scratch and onwards! 

I was worried that I wouldn’t be knowledgeable enough to lead a Code Club effectively, but I couldn’t have been more wrong — learning together has proven to be a powerful tool!

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3. Don’t worry!

Don’t worry about new projects! I’m looking forward to getting into the Python/HTML projects with the more advanced club members. Now I’m accustomed to the projects, I feel confident I will be able to do this without getting into a pickle!

What were the highlights?

It’s been seeing the children’s progress! A few children started off needing me to talk through each step with them, but now they are often steps ahead of me! There are two girls who are quietly gaining confidence to stray from the projects and create something totally different. I’m pleased to see their confidence grow and the pride they have when sharing their projects.

What do young coders think of this new Code Club? 

“I like that we can do it together and also we can do it on our own. My favourite project so far is probably the ghost game because I used a bat and made it my own. It was a bit tricky online to start [with] but it got easier as I did more projects.”

Joe, Year 4 coder

Final words from Sophie

I was nervous to start my Code Club online, but in the end it was completely worth jumping in at the deep end! The children have really enjoyed it and now some of them can meet in the classroom, it is clear that they have been able to follow the projects themselves and learn so much from it.

Six primary school children sat at their desks with laptops.
Code Club members meeting in-person

Learn how you can go online with Code Club 

Take a look at our ways to run a Code Club page for everything you need to know about taking your Code Club online. 

Five ways to inspire your club members about code!

Whether your Code Club is just launching or has been running for a while, here are five ways for you to get your Code Club members excited about coding

A young girl is sat in a classroom working at laptop. A female volunteer is looking at her laptop screen. Both are smiling!
A young Code Club member showing her code to a volunteer.

1. Make Scratch Cat say hi! 

Just starting out with new Code Club members? Christina from Code Club USA encourages you to begin with the basics:  

“We often forget that the simplest things can inspire folks — start with the basics! Show your Code Club members how to make Scratch Cat say hi, and then have them change what the cat is saying and encourage them to try and make the cat do a dance.”

– Christina Foust, Club Program Manager, Code Club USA

2. Be ready, inspiration is contagious!

Make sure you are the first one to be inspired: join us at a FREE online webinar and make sure you’re #CodeClubReady! Talk to our team from across the world, ask your questions, and find out what support we’ve got for you. 

An illustration with too robots, the Code Club logo and words, we are #CodeClubReady

3. Send your code to space

How cool would it be to have your own code run aboard the International Space Station? Your Code Club members can do just that with the European Astro Pi Challenge!  

The Astro Pi Challenge has launched with two missions.

  • Mission Zero: With the help of a step-by-step guide, your Code Club members write a very simple Python program that will run on the International Space Station and show a message for the astronauts there! This mission is a great introduction to Python for learners who want to move on from Scratch. 
  • Mission Space Lab: participants design and write a program for a real scientific experiment that has the chance to run aboard the International Space Station. This mission has four phases and runs over eight months. 
An illustrated image with the Astro Pi logo, two astronauts and the launch date details.

4. Encourage a show-and-tell 

Hold a show-and-tell session to celebrate you club members’ achievements! You can even invite your club members’ friends and family and teach them about coding by having the club members showcase what they’ve been creating and learning. If your Code Club is registered on our website, download certificates from your dashboard to hand out to your members at the end of the show-and-tell to make it really special. 

“A show-and-tell is a great place for your club members to share what they’ve learned and also talk about anything they found challenging. It leads to great discussions and encourages the other children to ask further questions.”

– Rohima Cooke, Code Club Regional Coordinator, South East 

An older ladies hands working on a laptop, drawing a person on the laptop screen.
A family member taking part in a show-and-tell session

5. Build your own game

Who doesn’t love to play games at home? Inspire your learners to create and code their own games. With our free step-by-step projects for Scratch, Python, and Blender, children can easily learn how to make games. You never know, you may have the next Tim Sweeney, game developer of Fortnite, in your group!

How do you get your Code Club members excited about coding? Share your ideas with us on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #MyCodeClub.

Code Club ideas: friends and family sessions

Code Club Champion Mia Chapman has been running her club for two years now. Here she talks about a recent session she ran in which her Code Clubbers taught their friends and families how to code.

With the summer drawing nearer, it was time to figure out how to end our second year of Code Club with a bang! We all agreed that this year we wanted to do something a little different, and after a round of votes from everyone, it was decided: the Code Clubbers were going to run their own session to teach their families how to code!

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Together, we prepared, planned, and rehearsed until the big day arrived — and what a turnout! Our little computer room was full of mums, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents, and friends, all eager to see what the Code Club kids had in store for them.

First up, one of the Code Clubbers gave an introduction to our new members. In his very best game show voice, he told our visitors that we organised the event so that they could see “how cool Code Club is!”

Next, our teams of Code Clubbers gave what they called their “circus pitches”. We had given each team a programming language (Scratch, HTML, Python, Sonic Pi, or micro:bit), and now it was their task to convince the visitors to join their activity for the session. As it turned out, they were all so convincing that it was difficult to choose, but we had to give extra points to Team Python for closing with their “turtley amazing” pun!

After our visitors had chosen the programming language they wanted to learn, the session went by in a flash, with everyone getting stuck in and trying out some Code Club projects. The families were totally engrossed, and we even had a mum make us a thank-you card based on the HTML project Happy birthday.

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Of course we couldn’t end the year without an awards ceremony to celebrate everything our Code Clubbers had achieved, and we also gave a big thank you to our visitors for being resilient and diving in head-first. When the event finished, no one wanted to go home, and the parents finally understood why we struggle to get the kids to leave at the end of each week’s session.

Running a ‘friends and family’ session was a great way to celebrate the end of our second year and show off everything we’ve learnt without the pressure on our learners to have to present a project to a room full of people. Everyone had a great time, and it was fun for us volunteers to hand the teaching over to someone else for a change. We can’t wait to see what ideas our Code Club members come up with next!

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Share your stories with us!

Have you tried something interesting at your Code Club that you would like the community to know about? Tell us about it by emailing support@codeclub.org.uk or reaching out to us on Twitter or Facebook.