I ran my first Code Club session yesterday at Bradwell Village School in Milton Keynes. I would have started ages ago, but the whole CRB application process was far longer than it should have been.

The club was for thirteen children, all Year 5. They're the school's existing Digital Leaders, volunteer experts in all things IT related.   Some of them had done a little bit of basic scripting before, but none had done any serious programming. The Digital Leaders are organised by +Sway Grantham , a teacher there. She was in the session to run crowd control for me, which I appreciated greatly.

We started off with the Felix and Herbert project. Picking up a suggestion from +Winkle ink , I bought nice green folders for all the kids and printed some sticky labels with Code Club logos on. The first task was for each child to put the label on their folder and write their name on it. This brought up the first problem: primary school children don't carry around their own pens! We fixed that, so they could also tick off the steps in the project.

While they were doing that, I introduced the club to them.
"You'll be doing lots of programming!" I said.
"Yay!" shouted the kids.
"Most of the programs will be games!"
"But this is a serious club, so you won't be allowed to play any of the games."
Stunned silence.
It wasn't quite lip-quivering, but close.
Then +Sway Grantham piped up, "He's joking. You can play the games."
A few moments while cogs turned. "Yay! We get to play games! Let's get started!"

And we were off. The session itself was best described as a riot. There was shouting and confusion around as all the children leapt into the tasks. Cats and mice abounded, mouse pointers were followed, and scripts were written. I managed, just, to keep things synchronised for the first few steps. That allowed me to ensure that all the children knew to tick of the tasks as they did them, thought about testing their projects, and could save their games. After that, they all went off at their own speeds.

There were lots of questions about whether they could choose their own images and names for things. I tried to make sure they understood at least something about the logical structure of the code. Not much went it, which was fine, but I think they were at least considering what they were doing. That understanding will come later, when they have to do more complex things. This first session was much more about driving Scratch and getting something working. 

About half of the children finished the games and the rest were almost there by the end of the session. Unfortunately, the school's firewall prevented them sharing their projects on the Scratch website.

All the children seemed to enjoy it. Quite a few mentioned that they'd be blogging about it the next day, so it seems to have made an impression!

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