Teach Kids Programming with Javascript: Lesson 0 - Getting Started


Just copy and paste this code, and you'll have kids editing programs within a half-hour. All you need is any web browser and any text editor, like Notepad.

The first thing new programmers need to learn, is the Write-Save-Open ; Edit-Save-Reload sequence. Here's how it goes. First open up Notepad, or TextEdit, or any plain old text editor. Copy and paste the following into the editor:


function popup() {

alert("Hello out there!");

<button onclick="popup()">

Down to Grade/Age: 
2nd Grade
Up thru Grade/Age: 

Game programming with Javascript?

I like to start off teaching Javascript, because everyone with a computer has all the tools you need: a browser and a text editor. Its pretty easy to have kids change the screen color, make pop-ups appear, take user input and munge it around. But kids want to program games, so I'm considering Flash. In the meantime, here is a full-fledged Javascript game we may try to edit.


This is a blog post rather than a lesson plan, as we haven't tried it out yet!

Speak Truth To Power: a free Human Rights Education Curriculum

http://blogs.nysut.org/sttp/curriculum/ has several free, well-written lesson plans on human rights subjects including children's rights, slave trafficking, freedom of expression and domestic violence. Some (all?) have special interviews for the project, including one with Vaclav Havel at http://blogs.nysut.org/sttp/defenders/vaclav-havel/

Most are for grades 9-12, some for 6-8.

Writing Unblockers


Reading a poem, quote, joke or short powerful piece can be a great writing unblocker. Read out loud together, then ask your child to 'quickly take ten minutes and write whatever this makes you think about'.

Some good website sources for 'unblockers' are


Some kids will write a reaction to the piece, like what they thought about it or how they liked it. That is ok, but I ask them to 'make something new from it'. Take the 'Underwear Poem' for example:
Underwear Poem

As soon as Fred gets out of bed
His underwear goes on his head.
His mother laughs “Don’t put it there,

Connected Mathematics


Program for teaching mathematics that focuses on problem solving and making sense of problems. Has some introspection and meta-cognition but is not primarily based on this. More organic from the problems themselves.

Cascading Timelines


Creating these timelines takes a bit of time up front, but its an investment you can use all year long. Timelines are a wonderful place to hang bits of knowledge, and see the relationships between different subject areas.

Materials needed: paper, ruler, pencil, and books or Wikipedia. Printable Template here

We used butcher paper and a good chunk of wall space. We made 5 timelines, on different scales. The thing to do is choose a convenient, easy to measure timescale that approximately fits the thing you want to display.

For a 120 cm stretch of butcher paper, here are some scales you might want to use:

Down to Grade/Age: 
1st Grade
Up thru Grade/Age: 
High School

Identifying rocks


We looked at several rock identification websites, this was the most immediately useful for simple identification of common rocks: http://saltthesandbox.org/rocks/names.htm

Frameworks in the Mind

"You put something in long-term memory by finding a structure that already exists in your head; by making sense of it, in other words." - Frank Smith, The Book of Learning and Forgetting

Students have so many facts to learn, but who wants to end up as a big bag of facts? It is important to give kids frameworks to help structure and make sense of all that they learn.

Free Math Drill Worksheets

I noticed my daughter's 4th-grade teacher using printouts from this site:


It has a great variety of free PDF worksheet pages. We mainly use it for getting up to speed on the basic operations, especially multiplication and division.

What would you like to see here?

If you are looking for something special - a lesson plan to teach poetry, or how to teach listening skills, or what to do if your child just doesn't seem to want to be taught today! - please post it here so the community can make suggestions to help.

All questions, ideas, suggestions and requests welcome!

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