Code Club Stories
My Code Club - Week by Week
Hi, I’m Rowena, a volunteer at a Code Club in Sydney. I run my Club every week on Wednesdays during term time. I’m a software developer and started my club five years ago at the local school.
I decided to start a Code Club because …
"I didn't have opportunities like this when I was at school so I wanted to share my knowledge and inspire the next generation to see technology as a medium to express ideas and solve problems creatively."
I keep coming back because ….
Students keep signing up to come :) There’s also a large range of resources available so I can teach a different module each term.
My Code Club highlight is ...
On top of receiving thanks from all the students and their parents at the end of each term, it would have to be when students come back the next week with something they want to show me. Often it’s their own extensions for last week’s project, other times they’ve created something completely on their own!
At the beginning of each week I run through the lesson I’m teaching the kids. The projects are all online, so it’s easy to jump in and have a go during my lunch break or after work. It also helps with troubleshooting because this way I’ve made the mistakes and worked out a solution before they happen in class. The kids enjoy being challenged, so I always make sure to complete the challenges at the end of each lesson too - I know they’ll ask me questions, so I like to be prepared!
On Wednesdays I leave work early and head to the school. My workplace allows me to leave early as I can continue working from home after my Code Club, take the time as my volunteer leave or work from home that day to minimise disruption. My company was really excited that I was keen to volunteer with Code Club as they could see why those skills would be useful for me in my work, but also why those skills are important for kids of the future.
Each term I teach a different group of kids, which is always a challenge! They have varying ages and skill sets, so it’s helpful to get to know them during the term.
Running the club
Each term, we pick one of the coding languages that Code Club has resources on which we focus on. The kids typically work in pairs in each lesson to complete one of the projects. As it’s all online, they are able to save their projects and show their parents when they’re at home or download the project onto a USB.
We start every term by creating some guidelines for the club. These are usually rules on respecting each other’s voice, listening and having a go. By doing this at the beginning, we can look back on them if we need to. Sometimes I even start the class by asking what the guidelines are, this way the students are conscious of it during class.
Mistakes will always happen as part of learning so I try to make it as natural as possible for the students by playing “error bingo”. Each time a student makes a mistake, they write it on the whiteboard with their name. If it’s already there, they write their name and ask for help from one of the other students whose name is there. If they are working in pairs, I also get them to ask their partner before calling me for help.
At the end of each lesson we try to do a small showcase, where the kids can share what they built and ask any questions. They’re able to see what their friends have done and congratulate them on their hard work.
End of term
At the end of each term, I present every student with a certificate. They are always so proud of the work they have done and can’t wait to share their projects with their friends and family. I encourage the parents to come in for the showcase of the last lesson. They are always so thrilled to meet the volunteers and share what they have learnt too!