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C'est la Z

Category: teaching

Calling an audible

Be ready to call an audible. This was advice I got during my third year teaching. I had just transferred from Seward Park to Stuy and was being observed for the first time by my former teacher and now supervisor Richie Rothenberg. I forget exactly what the lesson was on - something with coordinate geometry I think. The lesson was okay but it wasn't going over well with the class.
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Day one back in person

Yesterday was my first day of in person teaching since early March 2020. It was,… interesting. I was looking forward to actually seeing my students in person but as I mentioned in my last post, i wasn't comfortable given Hunter's current COVID policy and Delta. I'll be happier come mid October when 100% of students on campus will be vaccinated but at least for now, mask compliance is high.
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\(2^5\) Years Teaching

I was looking over my TRS statement the other day - that's Teacher's Retirement System and noticed that next week I'll be starting my 32nd year teaching. That's \(2^5\) or 10000 - 5 bits so I guess you can't call me a two bit teacher. Two and a half years at Seward, over 20 at Stuy, and the rest at Hunter College. I've had a lot of last days before school starts but this year is different.
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Computer Science is not (inherently) fun

I saw a tweet the other day by a CS teacher. They were talking about how much easier it is to teach CS because it's fun. They went on about how they get to create cool problems which makes it so much easier to teach than other subjects. I've heard this a lot over the years particularly from teachers who are into gaming - "CS is fun because you can create games.
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Teaching Styles

My friend Emmanuel lamented over on Facebook on "Learning Styles," or more specifically on how it's still given credence. We all chimed in in agreement but not an hour later I saw a Twitter thread where education thought leaders extolled the virtues of Learning Styles all over again. I pointed out that it's a great example as to why so many teachers scoff at "the research" and "research backed practices.
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Deadlines And Commitments

A few days ago I was part of a Twitter discussion on assignment deadlines. I noticed a tweet: Not sure who needs to hear this, but stop taking off points for late assignments. It’s not helping students learn responsibility, and it’s not making your job easier. It’s only making your class inequitable. 💯 — Sydney Jensen (@sydneycjensen) September 26, 2020 I disagreed. I wasn't necessarily against floating or open deadlines without deductions but rather, they made my life more difficult and weren't in the best interest of my students.
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Quarter Century Courses

I was talking in our Curriculum Development class last week about the courses I've created over the years. From the first computer graphics course to the current teacher education courses. JonAlf pointed out that we missed an "important" occasion last spring - the twenty fifth offering of my computer graphics class at Stuy. I haven't taught it in almost 10 years but it's been running continuously for a quarter century since it first ran back in the mid 90s.
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Multiple Cameras For Remote Teaching

We used Zoom for remote classes over the summer but at this point, I've also used Coding Rooms, Big Blue Button, and Google meet as well. They each have their own strong points and failings but all are limited in terms of sharing multiple cameras and screen components. All will let you share your camera or share your screen and when you share you screen you can either share it all or a single window.
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Starting the new semester

Thursday was the first day of the new semester. The big change was that my classes were done remotely but there were also some other differences. Other changes were that I only met one of my two CS classes on Thursday. That's my CS0. I'm also teaching a recitation for CS1 which only meets once a week. I'll see those students as well as my CS0 students for a second time on Monday.
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Preparing CS Teachers - index post

Since we ended up with an eight post postmortem on our CS Teaching Certificate summer intensive I thought I'd add add an index page. Here are links to each post: Introduction - program overview On pedagogy - CS teaching methods Topics in Computer Science Deciding on which methods to teach Commentary on selected CS topics Tools for remote instruction Building a community of CS teachers The good, the bad, and what's next I also wrote a few posts as the summer intensive was running: Week 1 Week 2 An unplugged activity We start up again in a couple of weeks so look for more updates on the program then.
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