katharine_childs
Raspberry Pi Foundation Employee & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Foundation Employee & Forum Moderator
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:54 pm

What is your top tip for running a Code Club?

Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:22 am

We know there is a huge amount of collective wisdom amongst Code Clubs around the world. So please feel free to share your top tips for running a Code Club here! What is your top tip?
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Katharine Childs
Programme Coordinator, Code Club
Raspberry Pi Foundation

dannad
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 8:13 pm

Re: What is your top tip for running a Code Club?

Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:13 am

We stopped using the printed Code Club projects and started using the online versions last year. No more rifling through paper versions of projects trying to find the next one fo the kids to do! We thought that the code clubbers would always be closing tabs by mistake but they picked it up straight away and they really like it as they can move on quickly once they're done.

If its possible to do at your club it's definitely worth trying if you're not already.

Cheers

Dan
@danielpowell

Forris
Raspberry Pi Certified Educator
Raspberry Pi Certified Educator
Posts: 276
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:46 pm

Re: What is your top tip for running a Code Club?

Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:39 pm

dannad wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:13 am
We stopped using the printed Code Club projects and started using the online versions last year. No more rifling through paper versions of projects trying to find the next one fo the kids to do! We thought that the code clubbers would always be closing tabs by mistake but they picked it up straight away and they really like it as they can move on quickly once they're done.

If its possible to do at your club it's definitely worth trying if you're not already.

Cheers

Dan
We mostly use the online resources, although I get at least one kid (sometimes the same one!) every session whose window magically disappears, despite them not having clicked anything. Honest!

Where the printed versions are really useful is when you have kids with some types of learning difficulties, such as dyslexia or ASD. Being able to print the resources onto a cream or pastel-coloured paper, or just having the resources in a tactile format can make a huge difference.

Forris
Raspberry Pi Certified Educator
Raspberry Pi Certified Educator
Posts: 276
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:46 pm

Re: What is your top tip for running a Code Club?

Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:11 pm

There's so many 'Top Tips', but my toppiest (yes, it is a real word!) tip would be;

All Codeclubs are unique.

What I mean by this, is that every club works differently, and what works well in one club may not work for your club. It's very easy, especially if you're on social media, to see all the amazing things that other clubs are doing and think that you have to do the same.

If you have the skills, time, and the right mix of kids, then go for it! after all, it might just work and the kids will love it. But don't worry if you don't have the right kit to do Physical Computing, or you don't have the knowledge or confidence to do HTML. Keeping within your comfort zone, especially if you're a new club, is absolutely fine. The Scratch Module 1 projects are ideal for new clubbers (whether kids or teachers/volunteers) and will be guaranteed to introduce the kids to new programming concepts in almost all settings.

Conversely, don't think that you have to use a formal 'teachery' (yes, that's a real word too) approach to your sessions. If you're used to that sort of environment or, for your own sanity, want to keep things nice and orderly, then that's fine. Personally, I find that quite dull (for both the kids and myself) and I use a more 'unstructured' approach, especially when the club has 20+ kids from across the whole of KS2 (7-11), where they start of with the standard Codeclub resources, taken at their own pace. When they've worked through (or got tired of) the Scratch projects, they can choose where to go next. Some progress to Python or HTML, some have a go with the Microbits or Raspberry Pi's, and others will go completely freestyle with their own projects.

IMHO, the learning aspect of Codeclub is not the main objective. The main thing is that the kids are having fun and becoming more confident in using computers as a creative tool. And don't forget, you need to have fun too!

Addendum:

If you do want to do something different; maybe some Physical Computing, or programming robots, but your club doesn't have the kit; get in touch with your Regional Coordinator who may be able to put you in touch with someone that can lend you some kit (and some expertise) for a session or two), or reach out on Twitter, on the forum, or at a Codeclub Meetup.

karenpeacock
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:34 am

Re: What is your top tip for running a Code Club?

Fri Nov 23, 2018 4:42 pm

Yes I agree with the post above. At first I tried to keep everyone on the same projects at once and run the session like a teacher. This worked with a smaller group but then people left and new members joined so were all at different levels. What we do now is hand out the projects and sign them off a list when they are completed. If they love a project they'll spend ages on it and add extras to it, if they don't they'll rush through it. We try to make sure they've completed at least module 1 before they go off on their own too much though: they need the basics first.

It's fantastic when one of the club has adapted a project with some creative ideas or created their own creation as they have such pride in showing it off!

jvvw
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2018 1:45 pm

Re: What is your top tip for running a Code Club?

Sat Nov 24, 2018 11:37 am

We're only a year or so in with our Code Club, but the thing that has made a massive difference was not trying to have all the kids do the same project each week, but just letting them go at their own pace. We don't seem to have had any problems with the kids going off and playing computer games since we did this (which was an issue before) and it just seems to work a lot better - and is more interesting for us! It's also got rid of the issue of 'do we run a beginners' course or do we let people carry on?' and we now don't have lots of new people start at once, but just invite people from the waiting list when places become free which is much more manageable. I've also started taking one or two kids aside each week to do microbit stuff (we use the library's loan microbits so don't know how many we will have available so can't really do it with everybody at once).

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