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C'est la Z

Preparing CS Teachers - building a community

What so many non-teachers just don't get is culture and community can be so much more powerful than curriculum. The problem is, culture and community are harder to create, curate, and maintain and the results don't always show up on standardized tests. You can't force community or culture in a classroom but you can try your best to foster it. It's ultimately up to the class as a whole.
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Preparing CS Teachers - tools for remote instruction

Our summer intensive was supposed to be in person but COVID-19 changed that in a hurry. We had to scramble to redesign and figure out how we were going to run things. We decided to go with the following: Zoom for live meetings Slack for chat Git and GitHub GitHub classroom for assignments GitHub repos for code distribution, class website and resource sharing.
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Preparing CS teachers - Curricula don't add richness, teachers do

I've frequently been asked for curricula. I'll hear from a school or someone otherwise involved in a school or education and they'll ask for a course they can drop in and teach. I explain it doesn't work that way. A syllabus or curriculum is only so good. A great curriculum with a bad teacher will still be bad but a great teacher can do a lot to salvage a horrible curriculum.
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Preparing CS Teachers - what to leave in, what to leave out

Teachers always make decisions in their courses - what to leave in, what to leave out. I've seen programming and data structure classes where everything is written from scratch and others where a few things are explained and the students just use built in types like the java LinkedList or Arrays.sort() method. Do too much from scratch and you'll never finish the curriculum. Do to little and the students won't really understand what's going on and walk a path towards being programmers or coders rather than computer scientists.
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CS Teacher Certification - Topics in CS

Officially, the last course of the summer was "Modern Topics in Computer Science." The idea was that K12 CS teachers on the one hand need depth beyond the typical terminal high school course, hence data structures and also breadth so that they could create electives, mix teasers in to the regular courses, or help precocious students with independent or semi-independant explorations. If someone was teaching this in a typical fall or spring semester course, they'd probably have a list of topics and spend a couple of weeks on each.
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Preparing CS Teachers - adding methods to our madness

Our summer intensive was, well, pretty intensive. We met all day every day for a month and knocked out four classes. Programming (CS1) Data Structures Topics Methods If you ever took or taught a summer session class, you know that time is tight and generally you cover a little less than in a fall or spring semester class.
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Preparing teachers to teach CS

Now that the summer portion of Hunter College's Advanced Certificate in Teaching Computer Science is over I thought I'd do a postmortem. That is, a few posts about what we did and how it all went. First, though, an overview of the program. The Advanced Certificate program is geared towards teachers who are currently certified in another subject area who wish to earn an additional New York State teaching certificate in Computer Science.
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Scared teachers can't teach and scared students won't learn

I've been reading a lot of takes on NYC schools reopening. We've had daily conversations about it with our summer teachers but conversations abound on Facebook, Twitter and everywhere else. Many salient points have been raised - given the DOE's track record, can they make things safe and will they? Can they be trusted? Given that any policy needs all players to follow the rules - students, teachers, and staff how can that ever happen?
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Hunter College CS Teacher Certification - Final Project Fun Time

Well, we just delivered the last formal piece of instruction for the summer intensive. Writing this post between visits to breakout rooms as the cohort works on their final projects. Tomorrow and Thursday will be presentation time. Each group will give spend thirty minutes teaching us all about some topic in CS along with the plan for how we could teach the topic to our kids. We've got a few more things to talk about as a group but it's mostly time to sit back and enjoy the show.
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CS Certification summer intensive - the home strecth

We've a week to go in the summer intensive part of our CS teacher certification program so after an intense few weeks, I can start to breath a little. There's still a lot to be done but I feel like I can breath. The first three and a half weeks covered programming and data structures with a bunch of pedagogy mixed in. This meant a lot of day to day adjustment of what we were teaching and how we were teaching it, after all, this is the first time a program like this has ever existed let alone shifted from in person to remote.
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