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Modifications, Accommodations, and Using CodeHS with Language Learners
Modifications, Accommodations, and Using CodeHS with Language Learners

Learn about strategies for using CodeHS with English Language Learners (ELLs), and other students who could benefit from modifications.

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Written by Lea Sloan
Updated in the last hour
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CodeHS has several features that can help ELLs succeed in their computer science courses. This article will describe these features as well as provide some additional strategies for ELLs. See Intro to Karel Programming with Karel the Dog (Español) or Intro to Python with Tracy (Español) to learn more about our Spanish course options.

Block Coding

You can enable block coding (rather than typing code) on a per-student basis or for an entire section to assist students whose language or typing skills are inhibiting their progress. For more about Block Settings, check out this article: Block Settings.

The following languages are compatible with Blocks:

  • Karel in JavaScript

  • HTML

  • Coding in Art, Music, or Sports

The following courses include some Block Compatible Activities:

  • Intro to Computer Science in JavaScript

  • AP Computer Science Principles in JavaScript

  • Computing Ideas

  • Web Design (Note: Block Coding not available in CSS)

  • Intro to Programming with Karel

Enabling Block Coding from Your Roster Page

  1. Click the gear icon next to the student's name

  2. Toggle the Blocks setting for modules, lessons, or even specific assignments:

Animated .gif showing how to enable blocks for an entire section

Enabling Block Coding for an Entire Section

  1. Navigate to the Configure app.

  2. Navigate to the Block/Text Settings tool

  3. Toggle Blocks setting for ALL modules, lessons, and assignments and ALL students

Animated .gif showing how to enable blocks for an entire section

Enable Closed Captions on YouTube

To enable YouTube-generated Closed Captions for videos, select YouTube at the start of a video and then click CC to enable subtitles. Click the gear to switch subtitle language to Auto-translate and select a language:

.gif showing enabling of closed captions

Please Note: YouTube auto-generates language settings that could impact subtitle settings beyond our control. Some schools may block access to YouTube player.

Use Slides to Review Concepts

While instructional videos are ideal for some, other students may benefit from viewing the Slides, especially if they struggle with the speaking pace. Students can take notes and work at their own pace (rather than the pace of the video speaker).

Students can access the Slides for any video by selecting Slides at the top:

Screenshot of Video page highlighting where students can click to switch to Slides at the top

CodeHS Glossary and Textbooks

On the CodeHS Glossary, you can find a full list of terms and definitions used in the CodeHS curriculum. You can filter by language (JavaScript, Python, HTML, etc). using the search bar. Click on any term to show an example:

Animated .gif showing how students can use the CodeHS Glossary

Also: Check out our Free Digital Textbooks!

Printable Handouts, Quizzes, and Slides

Many lesson plans include additional worksheets, handouts, and physical activities to help make some of the more abstract concepts of programming more accessible. These activities can help students think about solving problems in a variety of ways.

With CodeHS Pro, teachers have the ability to print slides, quizzes, handouts, and other resources, which can be an excellent adaptation for ELL students.

To print a resource:

  1. Navigate to the Resources app

  2. Navigate to a Problem Guide

  3. Click Print

Animated .gif showing how to find printable handouts and slides

Additional Strategies

Personal Dictionary and Flash Cards

Using the CodeHS Glossary, Students can make flashcards or create a personal dictionary to help reinforce programming concepts. Encourage students to draw pictures, use different colored pens, and/or paraphrase definitions using their own words. For ELL students, it may be helpful to make additional flashcards highlighting capitalization, syntax, and common commands. Students can also use the Docs tab as a guide to create these study tools.

Word Wall

A vocabulary word wall in the classroom can include vocabulary from each lesson or module. The word wall can be printed and hung on a wall of the classroom to serve as yet another interactive and visual tool for students.

Still have questions? Contact our team at to learn more!

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