Sunday, July 15, 2012

AP Computer Science Prep...

I just got back from my AP Calculus AB workshop, so I feel good about that course. Now it's time to focus more on the Computer Science prep. I still wanted to get a good sense of the order of topics. I know I could just look on someone else's syllabus, but I wanted to make sense of it myself and then check against how others did it. I guess that's "constructivist" thinking. Anyway, I feel better about it now. I first used "pretty girly" stock paper (used for scrapbooking) and cut each page up into smaller index card sized pieces. Then I just went over the AP Curriculum and textbook and such and listed topics and things I think the kids should know.

Then I first separated them into big ideas that went together.

Then I put the piles in order of how I think they could be taught. Then I checked against how my online course textbook presented things last year, and I checked it against other syllabi. I like it. Some of the things I think I'll sprinkle throughout the course instead of teaching first (as is done in my old text). For example, I don't think the kids IMMEDIATELY need to know about ethics and safety and binary/hexadecimal, etc. I can introduce that after I "hook them".

The awesome teacher I went to last week for calculus mentioned that at her school, the AP teachers have about 3 weeks to get the kids to buy into their course. The kids can't drop the 1st 3 weeks. Then they can (with a ton of paperwork to discourage the practice). I have to win over my students and show them the fun and value of computer programming. So I think I'll start with some sort of graphics (super scaffolded) or some sort of game (again super scaffolded) that introduces some of the other concepts I want them to know (variables, primatives, loops...) with the warning to them that they won't understand the WHOLE picture at first, but they get to see the power of programming and the capabilities.

I'm also going to a summer workshop for computer science late July. I don't want to feel so behind and slow, so I'm going over this book chapter by chapter to refresh my memory. I think I also want the kids to have a copy of it this year. It was recommended on the AP Central Electronic Discussion Group for Computer Science, which I also highly recommend.

Other than that ...

1 comment:

  1. I'd love to read more about what you do for AP CS. I taught a non-AP elective in CS at my school last year, and I'm setting aside a few weeks this summer to revise my course.