How to plan your Hour of Code

Join the movement and introduce your students to computer science with these steps.

Computational thinking helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic, and creativity. And technology is transforming every industry on the planet. Students today should learn how to create technology, not just use it. By starting early, they’ll have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path.

Trying an Hour of Code is a simple and fun way to introduce students to computer science, perhaps for the very first time, and it fits perfectly for both in-class and after-school settings. Take a look at our participation guide if you still have questions.

An Hour of Code can also be hosted remotely! To get started, check out our tips for hosting a virtual Hour of Code event.


1. Watch the Hour of Code how-to video


2. Explore activities and tutorials

We provide a variety of fun, student-guided tutorials for all age groups and experience levels. It’s popular for students to try self-led tutorials, though many activities include lesson plans for teachers to guide discussion or extend the activity as well.

Explore the activities and decide ahead of time if you want to choose a single tutorial for all of your students, or let each child pick their own.


3. Create your plan for the day

Think about your technology needs - computers are optional!

  • The best Hour of Code experience includes Internet-connected computers. But you don’t need a computer for every child, and you can even do the Hour of Code without a computer at all! For unplugged activities, simply filter the Classroom Technology section to show options for “No computers or devices”.
  • Make sure to test tutorials on student computers or devices to ensure they work properly on browsers with sound and video. Have low bandwidth? Plan to show videos at the front of the class, so each student isn't downloading their own videos. Or try the offline tutorials.
  • Provide headphones for your class, or ask students to bring their own, if the tutorial you choose works best with sound.
  • Don't have enough devices? Use pair programming. When students partner up, they help each other and rely less on the teacher. They’ll also see that computer science is social and collaborative.

Pick a day and time

People around the world join in the Hour of Code celebration during CS Education Week (December 9-13) when the latest tutorials and activities are released. But you can do an Hour of Code any day of the year!


4. Promote your Hour of Code

Now that you've planned your event, it's time to start promoting it!

Tell your School and Community

Promote the Hour of Code to other teachers who may want to join in on the fun! This is also a great opportunity to reach out to your school’s PTSA or share in parent newsletters, letting them know their children may come home wanting to try more activities and tutorials!

Let Volunteers Know by Registering Your Event

When you sign-up your Hour of Code event, you’ll receive helpful email communications with news and tips for hosting a successful Hour of Code. It’s also how you can let local volunteers know your school is participating. Volunteers are a great resource and can come speak to your class about computer science or simply help your students with Hour of Code activities.

Get your Students Excited

Lead up to the event by sharing inspirational videos highlighting diverse people and creative ways that computer science can be used. Or order inspirational posters for your classroom! Students are more excited to participate in a subject when they see people who look like them encouraging it.

           

           

Learn more about posters, videos, stickers and other ways to promote your event to your community.


5. How to start your Hour of Code strong

Once your Hour of Code celebration has arrived, make sure you start your event strong with some of these tools and tips.

Invite a local volunteer to inspire your students by talking about the breadth of possibilities in computer science. There are thousands of volunteers around the world ready to help with your Hour of Code through either a classroom visit or video chat with your students!

Show an inspirational video:

  • The original Code.org launch video, featuring Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and NBA star Chris Bosh. (There are 1 minute, 5 minute, and 9 minute versions available)
  • Find more inspirational resources and videos.

It’s okay if both you and your students are brand new to computer science. Here are some ideas to introduce your Hour of Code activity:

  • Explain ways that technology impacts our lives, with examples both boys and girls will care about (talk about saving lives, helping people, connecting people, etc.).
  • As a class, list things that use code in everyday life.
  • See tips for getting young women interested in computer science here.

6. Get coding!

Direct students to the activity

When your students come across difficulties it's okay to respond:

  • “I don’t know. Let’s figure this out together.”
  • “Technology doesn’t always work out the way we want.”
  • “Learning to program is like learning a new language; you won’t be fluent right away.”

What if a student finishes early?

  • Students can see all tutorials and try another Hour of Code activity.
  • Or, ask students who finish early to help classmates who are having trouble with the activity.

7. Celebrate your students' success


Other Hour of Code resources for educators:

What comes after the Hour of Code?

Computer science doesn’t have to end with the Hour of Code! Our curriculum is web-based and free to use, forever. Learn how to bring CS to your school and students.