So I'm a BIG fan of Andy Weir's The Martian. The book is beyond excellent and because he originally published it chapter-by-chapter, he had many fans and scientists check the science. It's pretty much all correct. As a fan of sci-fi but also TRUE SCIENCE, I appreciate this. Also, he has some clutch JPL and Caltech shout-outs in there, so I have to be a fan. Needless to say, when the movie came out in 2015 I geeked out. Now what does this have to do with teaching and my programming class? Well, there's a very crucial moment when the main character, Mark Watney, must use an ASCII table and decode hex messages from NASA. My students have already learned hexadecimal representations of numbers. It's a quick jump to see the relationship to letters, and after this, we're going to start some more intense cryptography tasks. I wanted to start the new semester off with something fun, so I used The Martian scenario as inspiration.
PROGRAMMING, REPL.IT, GRAPHICS
As you know, programming has quickly become one of my favorite classes to teach. This year I'm reusing many of my materials from last year, so I actually have the time and mental space to fix things, change assignments, and tackle more intense projects. One of those projects is teaching the students some basic graphics with the Zelle textbook's graphics.py package. Last year we just used Turtle, so this year I had to tinker around with Repl.it to get graphics.py to work.
PLAN WITH ME: PYTHON PROGRAMMING
This summer I talked a big talk about creating a scope and sequence, developing your curriculum, and making creative warm-up's. Now it's time to show you how I walk the walk. I want to share this with you to illustrate one main thing: I used to have to spend a LOT of time prepping outside of school hours, but now, in my 7th year of teaching, it doesn't take me as long AND I get to re-use materials I've previously created. PHEW!
Example Warm-Ups: Programming Fall 2020
You may know, I love a good 5-minute warm-up to start each class. I've ALWAYS used these in my Algebra 1 classes, but when I heard we'd be entirely remote again this fall, I thought it'd be good to do warm-ups in all of my classes and it's totally paid off.
“COLBAORATORY” – CODING WITH GOOGLE
In my Programming exposé post, I described how coding went from being one of the scariest things to teach to one of the funnest. I also mentioned that this year I'm using Google's interactive Python notebook, Colaboratory, as the coding environment for my students. If you're familiar with Python programming, it's Google's version of Jupyter notebooks. If you're not familiar, keep reading! I'll explain! Colab would've been WAY too fancy for me to use last year, but I reached out of my comfort zone this year and am SO happy that I did!
Programming Class ’20-’21
This year I'm teaching Python Programming for the second time at my current school. I've actually taught programming/computer science ever since my first year teaching but this year and last were the most rigorous. Before I tell you all the details about this year's class, I have to share a secret with you...
Reflecting on the 2019-2020 School Year
I've been on summer break for a few weeks now, so I've decompressed enough to start unpacking exactly what happened this spring! Needless to say, THIS. YEAR. WAS. CRAZY. While I was in the thick of remote teaching, I honestly felt a lot like I did my first year teaching...
Virtual Teacher Interview: high school computer science, Maryland
When I first got to college, I'll admit I was nervous, just like most students are! I was 3,000 miles away from home and I didn't know a single person who went there or had gone there before. My closest relative was a 5-hour drive away. Mom and Dad helped me unpack and set up [...]