By: Allysen Lovstuen
Do you have an idea for an app that you think would be helpful to you in your classroom? Or in your life? The Project Lead the Way AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) class might be able to help!
This year the CSP class has been hard at work learning about the design process, creating product backlogs and sprint task lists, and analyzing and building programs in different programming environments. We will continue that work and, later in the year, will work with internet security, webpage design, and managing and visualizing big data.
Students created their first products using Scratch, a fairly visual online programming environment. Working in pairs, they designed games or stories (think "Choose Your Own Adventure”) where user input changes the outcome. After listing and prioritizing the features they wanted, identifying some for future release, they then created their project.
You can check out their projects by clicking the links below (once you click the link, clicking the green flag in the upper right hand corner of any project starts the game):
Next the students are going to be creating apps for Android devices. In my training class my partner and I created an app to randomly pair up the students in a class for partner work. Do you have an idea for an app that would be useful in your classroom? Or in your life? If so, share your comments below. Maybe the students will choose to build on your idea and create something you have been waiting for!
By Shannon Horton
More and more I notice students looking and finding an “easy button” when it comes to independent reading. They choose graphic novels because the pictures help them enter the story quickly, they choose realistic fiction about characters and places that are familiar to them, and they often pick up books they’ve read before. That’s not all bad, don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of graphic novels, books that reflect my own life, and even books written well below my abilities, BUT I also push myself from time to time and reap enormous benefits.
What methods have you found to push students in a direction that will get them out of their reading comfort zone? Here are a few ideas to get us started:
Read a chapter, or a few chapters, to hook students and help them with the work of getting into a book. List the books in your classroom or on Canvas for student reference. (So many of you have done this as teachers, and I’ve seen the positive results in the library.)
Make reading social. How can students talk about and recommend books to other students? This is satisfying for readers and can also hook new readers on books they wouldn’t naturally pick up. Could students be given a choice in how to share the books they love with their classmates? In Canvas start a discussion so that students can add books they recommend by attaching files, such as a picture with their book or a short video.
Self-selected, independent reading is key to developing readers. Give them choice! Praise and show interest in their choices! Let them be “lazy” and read something below their abilities. And, every now and again, find creative ways to push them.
P.S. If you want one of the posters that outlines the reading challenge, just let me know. I see it as a great way to advertise on your door how you’ve accepted the challenge yourself or to post in your room for students. I made it using http://www.canva.com/, my favorite tool for making posters and signs.
By: Liz Fox
During his keynote address, Trevor described the challenges of a jungle tiger vs a zoo tiger, and I immediately saw how applicable this was to our students. He describes this in a fascinating video. I plan to show at least this section to my students within the first few days of school.
Trevor referred often to the work of Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, who used decades of research on achievement and success while writing her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
He outlined the difference between a fixed mindset (avoiding challenges, not wanting to look bad, “I’m not good at math”) and a growth mindset (“I’m not good – yet.” “ I can learn – bring on the challenge. “)
The brain is like a muscle. Neuroscience shows that just when students want to give up is the window of opportunity where the brain is most malleable – brains are built to learn when stretched.
Good learning is not pretty. However, encouraging students to believe in their capacity and to embrace the difficult, they will learn. Trevor says, “Seek out the ugly; in the struggle will be growth.”
Next up: more on Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
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