Listened to the latest episode of the CS Ed Podcast yesterday. It featured Colleen Lewis, of CS Teaching Tips fame talking about how she uses manipulatives. Much like Colleens session last SIGCSE on microteaching this episode made me both happy and sad.
Happy because it's awesome that Colleen is bringing attention to strong classroom teaching practices and she's sharing good stuff. Sad because these are things rarely talked about in teaching CS or college level teaching in general.# COMMENTS
I've said multiple times that I don't believe in "Best Practices." I believe there are practices that can be strong when employed in specific situations.
I was reminded of this when I saw a reddit thread yesterday where teachers were sharing "best practices" that were forced on them by their administrators or districts, usually due to "the research" that just didn't work for them.
One in particular that stood out to me was Proficiency Grading, also known as Standards Based Grading, Mastery Grading, Competency Based Grading, Everybody gets A's, and probably other monikers.# COMMENTS
Coming in from my run this morning I had a thought. When I'm not otherwise doing anything in particular, I frequently go for a walk at some point during the day. Usually two to five miles.
I've got a few standard routes - the Union Square Green Market and/or Kalustyans, both of which usually result in some food related purchase, walking down to the village and up the river, or similar but starting by going north.# COMMENTS
One of the highlights of this week has been finally getting together with a large number of the teachers in my certification program. Another was finally being able to once again attend a CSTA-NY meeting as they've almost always conflicted with my teaching schedule over the past couple of years.
The reason I scheduled my meetup back to back with the CSTA-NY meetup was because of another highlight. Five of my Advanced Certificate teachers are from the Dryden and Groton school districts, a little east and northeast of Cayuga lake near Ithaca.# COMMENTS
Finally, after three years, we had the opportunity for the participants in my (Hunter's) CS Teacher Certification program to get together in person. Last year, a handful of the cohort 2 members had a dinner but never a big gathering across the cohorts.
Not everyone could make it, so yesterday, we had close to 50 teachers out of our total 100 across the three cohorts gather at Yext in the Meatpacking district to meet each other, talk shop, and celebrate being New York State's first certified CS teachers.# COMMENTS
One of the things I enjoy about the topics class I'm teaching is that for most of the course, the students, teachers in their own rights, deliver much of the instruction. Since I have much more CS experience than most, maybe all of the students, I usually don't see a great deal of new content for me - maybe a touch here or there, but I do get to see different approaches and teaching techniques and that can be a lot of fun.# COMMENTS
A couple of weeks ago I was catching up with Cai - one of my many former students now living in the Bay Area. Cai was back in NY to spend time in his company Ironclad's NY office. It was great to catch up. We went over to a local restaurant and I heard a "hey Z!!" from behind me. It was Rodda, younger member of the family. He mentioned that he was at Ramp along with a bunch of other StuyCS folk and that I came up in conversation the other day.# COMMENTS
So, last post I talked about the technical interview and unquestionably students at elite private schools have yet another leg up on the other folk. Today, let's look at the core subject of those interviews and what I think should be emphasized in class.
I want to be clear - I'm only talking about in class here. There are many things that can be done at public institutions like Hunter to help better prepare students for tech careers.# COMMENTS
A teacher in one of my networks posted a question earlier today - "have you had any challenges or trouble with motivating kids in your classes?"
Not a new question and I'm sure for any teacher with any level of experience the answer is a resounding yes. I don't care who you are. Not all of your students are motivated all the time.
This can particularly be a problem when a teacher switches over from teaching an elective or selective to a required class but it might not be.# COMMENTS
So, yesterday was the first day of the semester. Since I'm retiring, it's my last first day at Hunter.
Felt pretty good. I think knowing that I'll get a break after the term has alleviated some of the burnout for now.
What will I be focusing on in class this last time around?
I'm teaching three classes.
First up is my undergraduate data structures. To be honest, I'm not looking at anything special there - just business as usual.# COMMENTS