Interactive Coding - Triggering Blocks

I'll be honest, using technology in front of my students can be scary. I feel like I've just gotten comfortable with reading, dancing, and singing in front of my students, and those are all skills that I've been using for a long time outside the classroom. With coding my students just seem like faster learners than me.

The good thing about coding is that you don't have to be an expert to teach it. I teach writing to my students and I'm not a professional writer. The same things that hold true for interactive writing hold true for interactive coding. I'm modeling thinking about coding and new coding strategies for my students. I'm allowing them to feel like successful coders because they're generating the ideas and I'm doing the work of writing the code for them.

What if I don't know how to do something?
I usually just admit that I don't know and try my best. If I want my students to be risk takers I need to model that behavior.

What if I mess up?
The students will probably laugh at you and throw tomatoes. Just kidding. I celebrate that I had a bug in my code and enlist my students' help in identifying and fixing it. That's just part of teaching them good coding practices. Sometimes I'll even make a bug on purpose.

What do I talk about?
I think aloud, but not too much. I ask them questions and they call out their ideas. Sometimes I'll have them think-pair-share/turn-and-talk so that I can take a break and just listen to their thoughts and what they like about the coding project.

How do I focus a lesson?
Use objective cards that are clearly written and kid-friendly (like the cards in my Coding Behaviors & Objectives pack) We read over the objective at the beginning and the end of the lesson. I will also repeat key words from the objective over and over during my thinking aloud, especially if it's coding-specific vocabulary that children may never have heard outside a coding lesson.

If you'd like to learn more, I've made a quick video modeling how I would do an interactive coding lesson connected to If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. This is certainly not the only way to do it and I hope you'll put your own teacher spin on it - this is just an example of one way to teach students about triggering blocks through interactive coding.
Please note: This is my first ever video. If the screen is hard to see please leave me a comment or send me an email ( and I'll be happy to re-record or try to edit it. I had to edit the audio because I don't have the best equipment and my camera picks up a lot of noise but please also let me know if you still can't hear something in the video.

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