5-6, 7-8, Robotics, Uncategorized

Robotics Classroom Procedures

f you haven’t already seen the classroom Hummingbird Kit bundles, go take a minute to bask in all its organizational glory. I am determined to keep them beautiful. My overarching strategy is to give the students ownership so they, too, want to keep the kits organized. Though this post will specifically detail the classroom procedures I use with the Hummingbird Kit, the resources are easily adaptable to whatever you’re using!

5-6, 7-8, Robotics, Uncategorized

Introducing Robotics in Middle School

It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to use hardware in my middle school classroom, so I was nervous and excited to break in our new HummingbirdBit Robotics Kits. In the before times, I had used a similar kit, and I knew I wanted to do a better job of isolating the coding and the hardware before combining the two. I also wanted to spend time focusing on input versus output devices as this always seems to be a challenge.

5-6, 7-8, 9-12, Advanced Topics, AP Computer Science A, AP Computer Science Principles, Computer Science I, Robotics, Uncategorized

Back to School Night Ideas

With the added pressure of Back to School Night in person (we hosted virtually last year in a modified format), I decided to stick with what I’m most comfortable with and just teach. In each class, I picked out a quick unplugged activity or discussion to give a truer sense of what a period in my classroom is like. Here are some ideas.

7-8, 9-12, AP Computer Science Principles, Computer Science I, Professional Development

CSTA 2021: Nifty Assignments

Titled “Unplug the Internet,” my nifty assignment is an unplugged simulation of how the internet works. Because students are taking on the role of different parts of the internet (DNS, router, client/server, TCP, etc) they are able to build a connection with that vocabulary. This year, I had my AP CSP students facilitate the simulation to my CS1 class as a review for their AP test. They gave lots of positive feedback and for the rest of the year referred back to the person playing the role in class discussions. Find out all the information about my nifty assignment here!

5-6, 7-8, 9-12, Professional Development

CSTA 2021: Highlights and Takeaways

If you’re reading this, you better not be sleeping on CSTA Conferences. I’ve attended every year since I started teaching CS and I always walk away reinvigorated for the next school year. Like many early in my CS teaching career, I used to look for ready-to-go curriculum or fun gadgets. Now, I try to find new pedagogical techniques, engaging activities, and ways to go deeper with the material I’m already teaching. Here’s an unordered list of ideas, takeaways, and sites I want to revisit before school starts…

9-12, Advanced Topics, Computer Science I, Robotics

Passion Project: A Final Project for Everyone

What do I want my students to leave my class knowing? It’s not the nitty gritty details of syntax and memory management. Rather, I want them to see computer science in their everyday activities. I want them to see their coding, iterative design, and critical thinking skills as tools in their toolboxes. And, I want them to have the skill set to investigate and research new ways to use these skills to solve problems. To prove to themselves that they have these skills, I end the year with a final project that I call their “Passion Project.”

9-12, Advanced Topics, AP Computer Science Principles, Computer Science I, Hybrid Learning, Uncategorized

Investigating Web APIs

A few weeks ago I decided to work through this Mixtape tutorial on Repl.it that utilizes the Spotify API. While an excellent tutorial on it’s own, especially for someone teaching themselves, I saw an awesome opportunity to expand each part with rich discussions and discovery activities. Over the course of a few lessons, students explore HTTP requests, discuss the values set forth by the Developer’s Terms of Service, interpret JSON objects, write basic HTML, make use of Flask and Python, and put it all together in the original tutorial’s Mixtape project.

Uncategorized

Booleo Game and Bonus Docs!

Many years ago my mom (a computer teacher long before I was!) bought me the Booleo card game. It’s a great way to practice with logic gates and the critical thinking skills necessary to plan ahead.
I also realized this week that I still had an active sellers account on Teachers Pay Teachers with some activities from when I was a math teacher. There’s nothing I wouldn’t share with my teacher friends for free so here are the few documents I had up.