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Tools of the Trade

Cracking the Code

For students, learning to code is like unlocking a secret language. Whether you're a Python pro or Ruby newbie, there are intuitive tools, how-to guides and easy-to-use apps to help you get your class coding - and creating - with confidence.

By Melissa Campeau

  1. Code, Create, Teach Free!

    New to coding? Have the fundamentals down but want more? This in-person, full-day course welcomes K-12 teachers from beginner to intermediate. Held in cities across the country, the program is designed to empower you to elevate digital literacy levels in the next generation of innovators.

    Grades: K-12

  2. Free!

    Imagine the enthusiasm - students designing their own video games, apps and websites! Projects, units and lesson plans help students create and build. Plus, you'll find discussion goals, teaching methods and plenty of support. There's also professional online learning when you are ready to dive deeper.

    Grades: K-12

  3. Kids Code Jeunesse Free!

    Loops, sequences and functions - not clear on what they are? You soon will be with the help of this Canadian site and its in-class lesson plans and workshops (ideal for school clubs!). Tap into its professional development resources, too.

    Grades: K-12

  4. Codeable Crafts Free!

    Ask a story-prompting question: "What did you do over the holidays?" Then let students animate their answer with this fun, intuitive app. They'll introduce characters and create a narrative arc as they drag and drop puzzle-shaped programming blocks together and learn the basics of coding.

    Grades: K-3

  5. Swift Playgrounds Free!

    With this Apple app, students use code to direct an animated character around a digital landscape, collecting gems and completing missions. Looking for more than just the basics? Kick it up a notch by applying code to real-life robots and drones (available for purchase).

    Grades: 4-12

  6. Coding & Computational Thinking in the Classroomcontent Free!

    Use code to decide whether your favourite Toronto Raptor should attempt a two-pointer. Or, blend it with language arts to break a story into its actions. Find these and other coding activities at the TVO TeachOntario hub, plus a deep well of thoughtful articles on teaching tech in the classroom.

    Grades: K-12

  7. Code Mobile Free!

    If a visit from an expert can instantly inject added excitement into your classroom, why not invite one of Canada Learning Code's 13 regional squads of tech-teaching specialists to drop by as they trek across the country? Their goal? A fun, hands-on event to get students enthused about coding.

    Grades: K-12

  8. Code Builder for Minecraft: Education Edition Free!

    Build walls, create waterfalls or make a character dance. Students can do all of the things they'd normally do in Minecraft, but they'll use code to do it. For teachers, setup is quick and painless. For students, it's a warm welcome to the world of programming, algorithms and problem-solving.

    Grades: K-12