Coding in the Primary Classroom

Area(s) of Focus: technology
Division(s): Primary
Level(s): Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2

Teaching simple coding to early primary students in order to share their learned knowledge through oral communication and spatial reasoning with their peers.

Teaching students to code robots (c) will enhance science, spatial reasoning, fine motor skills, oral communication skills and increase the amount of French learning in an authentic way.

Team Members

  • Myra Ryan

    District School Board Ontario North East

  • Michelle McKechnie

    District School Board Ontario North East

Professional Learning Goals

  • We learned how to teach younger students coding and became more familiar with the concept of spatial reasoning (e.g., using baby steps such as working on fine motor skills, exploration of the Ozobot, teaching coding, challenge-based learning, respecting technology)
  • We also learned to teach our own Grade 1 and 2 students how to teach younger students (kindergarten) coding through peer collaboration.
  • Through this TLC, we were also able to further develop our own understanding and use of the technology

Activities and Resources

  • Four full-days for planning and learning the technology
  • Ozobot club for students in kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2
  • Took part in the Hour of Code Day (December 9, 2016) and challenged other teachers and grades within our school to participate (grades 1-6 participated!)
  • Lightbot Hour app
  • Purchase of two classroom kits of Ozobots
  • Ozobot/OzoGroove apps
  • Education section of the Ozobot website
  • See the Resources & Media section for links

Unexpected Challenges

  • Lack of fine motor skills in the kindergarten students, as well as some of the Grade 1 and 2 students
  • Translation of the purchased (English to French) materials took a lot longer than anticipated and we overlooked the cost of the label maker tape
  • Hiccups with the use of the actual technology (e.g., initial setup of the Ozobots and their calibration)
  • Their young age and remembering the dos and don’ts; we should use visual reminders for the handling of the Ozobots
  • Board protocols caused some delays in the receipt of funding
  • The products having to be ordered from the U.S. caused some delays and extra fees (e.g., exchange rate and duties)
  • Crayola chisel tip markers would be better than the Ozobot markers as they dried out within a few uses

Enhancing Student Learning and Development

  • The colour codes enabled the students to develop the skill of reading left to right
  • Using the markers developed the students’ fine motor skills
  • The lessons that the Ozobot team provided, such as Programming with Colours (the school and construction zone) and the Valentine’s Day challenge, helped students develop their problem-solving skills
  • Developed collaboration, self-esteem and patience by working with younger students
  • Developed spatial reasoning skills and the French vocabulary to support those skills


  • Shared our knowledge and students’ knowledge with the kindergarten classes
  • Shared during our staff meetings and in conversations with other teachers at various grade levels and throughout the board
  • Shared coding knowledge with teachers and students through presentations and demonstrations in the kindergarten classrooms
  • Ongoing sharing of students’ learning with parents through the use of the Seesaw app

Project Evaluation

Our project was a success. It ignited a coding “bug” in our early primary classrooms. The skills developed will help scaffolding in coding as the students progress to higher grades. As professionals, we were put out of our comfort zone which allowed us to learn more with regards to coding (e.g., helped develop grit not only in our students, but also in ourselves as professionals).

We determined success through observations of student engagement, as well as teacher, parent and student positive feedback.

As far as something we could have done differently, we feel that next year we will be more consistent with including coding into our weekly schedules and timetables. We would also like to extend our use of the Ozobots (coding) into more cross-curricular activities (e.g., storytelling, number sense activities, etc.).

Resources Used

Ozobot YouTube clips. Search “Ozobot.”

Ozobot website link.

Ozobot education section (detailed lesson plans offered).

Ozobot Facebook group. Do a Facebook search for “OzoAcademy.”

Ozobot app by Evollve, Inc.

OzoGroove app by Evollve, Inc.

Hour of Code website

Lightbot Hour app by Lightbot Inc.