My school is being super awesome about a problem that could be very dire. We have way too many students right now. A bubble class, as they say. The bigger problem is, that when these kids graduate, we’ll return to our normally scheduled growth.
Why is this a problem? If you hire someone, they have to follow the kids up (i.e. CrAzY endorsements), and then they get fired at the end of four years. Yuck.
Our solution? Offer classes during the summer that got booted from the schedule during the year, and pay teachers to teach them!
My sacrificial lamb was Computer Programming, and now it’s back! YAY!
There are a few Cornallian folds I’ve worked into the course:
- I don’t actually know Processing. I mean I have about a sum-total 5 hours programming in the environment. I was so impressed by the tutorials and attention to beginning programmers that I jumped on the bandwagon. I want my students to watch how I learn the language and struggle with error messages.
- Second, I’m videoing every project I do in order to learn the language. I think this breaks heavily from Khan or whatever douchebaggery; they have content to preach, I have learning to model. A not-so-subtle difference.
- Programming projects are not a part of the students’ grades. Grades make me sick, and grading creativity makes me sicker. I know, I know, “they won’t do it if you don’t grade it.” Shut up; that’s getting old, and I’m in my fourth year of kids doing things for no credit.
- Grades are based on quizzes, which are standards-based. They spiral the central standards back from the past and present. They get an incomplete until the final quiz is taken. Scores are most recent.
- My office hours are optional, copious, and designed to foster creativity.
- Projects are designed to be stems not wholes. Students are encouraged to add whatever they want onto them.
Here’s the link to the course. Welcome to a productive summer.
I’ve had a few twitterites ask if they can take the class. Sure, I guess. I suppose I can email you the quizzes? Or, just watch the videos, post your sweet projects, and let’s all learn to code together.