Professional Development - APCS-A, similar and beyond

A while ago I wrote about our plans at Hunter to run professional development for CS teachers. Specifically, running once a month sessions for teachers who teach APCS-A, similar and beyond. The idea started as a joke but morphed into a legit idea. I was talking to some friends about CTLE hours and how ridiculous the system is. NY State teachers need 100 hours of CTLE credit (PD hours) every so many years.
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Sloan awards for excellence in teaching science and mathematics

I spent yesterday evening at the Cooper Union in their Great Hall, a place famous for Abraham Lincoln's speech that some say propelled him to the presidency. I was there in the audience watching as the Sloan Foundation and the Fund for the City of New York awarded seven public school teachers with an ward for "Excellence in the Teaching of Science and Mathematics." I was their to see my friend Dave Deutsch, a long time public school physics teacher receive the honor.
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CS For All The Time

A question that frequently comes up with respect to CS for All is what does it mean? To me it means giving all students some fundamental exposure to computer science so that they can: Make use of those thinking skills, problem solving approaches, and practical tools regardless of their future paths. Provide a path for the subset of "all" that desire to further pursue computer science. But even with this, how do you do it?
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Email Policy

I saw this tweet the day along with the ensuing thread: Seriously, who emails a professor with words like "u" and "plz hlp"? Am I allowed to put language in my syllabus that penalizes students for obnoxious, intentional misspellings? Maybe: -1% to your course grade multiplied by the edit distance of the word with its correction? — Austin Cory Bart (@AustinCorgiBart) November 30, 2018 I wanted to reply but as usual, I decided to reply in a blog post so that it doesn't get lost in the Twitterverse.
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Reunions 2018

Thanksgiving weekend is also reunion weekend. I've been on and off invited to Stuy reunions over the years. Not as often it seems as some teachers but more often than others. I always do my best to attend. I have very fond memories of many students and many classes over many years and think a lot about them so feel very honored whenever I'm invited to one of these. In the past each class due a reunion did its own thing - some club or bar usually in Manhattan.
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Teaching Sorting

Earlier today I saw a facebook post asking for thoughts on teaching sorting. The question was specifically not about motivations like having the class act out sorts or sort cards but rather about the coding. I've been meaning to write about this since last summer when I attended Owen Astrachan's talk on the same subject. Early in my career when teaching sorting I developed the n^2 sorts as standalone routines just as they're presented in most books but as I gained more experience as a teacher, I changed it up to build the sorts (at least some of them) from existing concepts.
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PD in NYC

I spent this past Saturday morning up at the Microsoft building in Times Square. What was I doing there? Aankit Patel invited me to check out the professional development that he and his team organized for the teachers involved in the assorted CSforAllNYC programs that his office runs. Wow. Lots of great things going on. I was only able to stay for a couple of hours but I spent some time in two rooms run by TEALS, a room of BJC teachers, a group working with p5.
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An experiment with code review

Sometimes professional practices don't work well in the classroom and sometimes they do. One professional practice that does work well is code review - reading and reflecting on other peoples code. I've had my students do code reviews in the past but this time I did things differently. Here's what I did and here's how it went Two weeks ago my students completed a lab. The lab involved reading in a poorly indented C++ program and spit out a properly indented one.
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Let Teachers Teach

Mark Guzdial's post the other day about direct isntruction struck a chord with me. Right up front, Mark said: The research evidence is growing that students learn better through direct instruction rather than through a discovery-based method, where we expect students to figure things out for themselves. Quite a surprise to the teachers who have been beaten over the head with "everything must be discovery" in recent years.
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Local Tech and Local Learning

A couple of weeks ago I took twenty four of my first year students up to Catskills Conf. As usual it was a great weekend. I particularly enjoyed this years talks. I found one talk particularly engaging. Jordan Koschei gave at talk titled Digital Terroir. Terroir refers to the natural envorinment in which a wine is produced - the ground, the climate, everything. It's why wine (and foods) produced in one location taste differently than the same things mamde elsewhere.
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