Wednesday, August 01, 2012


I'm at my 4th of four workshops (and dorms) this summer. Apparently, I'm going for the seasoned professional dorm dweller award. This one is an APSI on computer science, and there are only 9 people in the class. Sheesh, it could be the reason there is the NSF 10K Project:

"The CS 10K Project aims to have rigorous, academic curricula incorporated into computing courses in 10,000 high schools, taught by 10,000 well-trained teachers."

or it could be like our teacher said, "I was told that the whole APSI was closed for further enrollment because they had the maximum total people they could handle, so we couldn't get more in our section."

Either way, here are some tidbits I learned/heard already:

* "Students will be 8 different people for 8 different teachers."

* The first lab assignment he gave us was differentiated. We were working with methods and objects, and he said, "if you are new to APCS, do this one. If you're in the middle of your grasp, do this one. If you're seasoned, do this one." The first was graphical in nature, so there was an easy visual on if you were right or not. The next 2 were related, so if you started with "medium", and it was easier than you expected for you, then you could extend it to the more challenging one.

I like this idea and want to remember it for my assignments.

* He said, "students get really good at programming on the computer in class. Unfortunately, the AP exam is based on non computing skills. You need to intertwine theory and practice of the theory throughout the course in addition to programming."

* His WHOLE class is paperless, down to assignments and quizzes. I don't know if I can go that far, but maybe I'll start with more things they save online. One idea I am toying with is an Excel spreadsheet of vocabulary of a certain structure. Maybe columns for type of word and hints on remembering or anchors to past learning and topic the word is related to in addition to the columns for word and definition. That way, the kids can sort as they need in various situations. (I'm also toying with the idea of those big binder rings and vocab words so that they are more portable).


  1. Anonymous11:19 AM

    I'm teaching computer science for the first time this year. When you announced that you were teaching it too, I was delighted, as if a close friend/mentor would be doing it with me. I'm used to collaborating with a large (14) math dept., teaching CS could be lonely if it weren't for the great online resources. Like yours.

  2. Hi Karyn,

    Yay! Another newbie to commiserate with and bounce ideas off of. What resources and such have you started thinking about using? I don't have my 1st week(s) planned out yet. I'm still in the phase of "overall picture and philosophy and structure" mulling over.

    Send me e-mail if you want to have more ongoing discussions. I'd love it.