Blog Post

How Are You Celebrating CS Education Week?

This question has been on my mind for two reasons. I recently asked my department members for their ideas about how to celebrate CS Education Week, December 9-15, at our school and then I saw a post on Facebook posing a similar question. So, I reflected on what I’ve planned for CS Ed Week activities over the years and want to share some ideas with you.

For a few years, I invited the local elementary and junior high school students to come to our school campus in the evening with their parents. My computer science students volunteered to help the younger students as they worked through Hour of Code activities. We had cake and held a raffle at the end of the hour. Pictured below is one of my favorite pictures from an event.

Boy smiling while taking part in classroom activity

 

A friend and CSTA K-8 Board Member Vicky Sedgwick told me about an activity that she has done with her elementary students, which I then had my students complete. She has them create Pioneers/Innovators of Technology Trading Cards using Google Slides, see one pictured below. Here is a link to more examples and a template, as well as a form I created for students to sign-up for a specific pioneer/innovator.

Trading card of Google's Sergey Brin

 

More recently, I have asked my school to play the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) CS Education Week audio announcement during morning announcements. Students seem to take notice when it is played. CSTA, in conjunction with the University of California-Irvine, also developed five videos, one for each day of the week. I show them to my classes each day and also ask the math teachers to select one or play all of them.

I have also arranged field trips during CS Ed Week for my classes. One class visited Hydraflow (a fluid transfer systems provider) and Raytheon. The employees at both of these companies planned tours and activities for the students, who were able to see and experience first-hand how computer science is used at their facilities.

And for the last few years, I have held activities on our campus during lunch. My computer science students try out the activities on the Hour of Code site and then select the ones that are most appropriate for other CS students at our campus and the activities that work on the lab computers. I set up a Smore with a list of activities for students to select. My students receive extra credit for bringing friends that have never taken a computer science class (my way of recruiting). Finally, I have a raffle and bring snacks to help increase student engagement.

Here is a list of sites with more ideas:

Would any of these ideas and suggestions work in your school? Let me know in the Comments section!

Myra Deister is a computer science and mathematics teacher at Sunny Hills High School, Fullerton, CA. She earned a Bachelor's degree from California State University-Long Beach with a major in mathematics and a minor in business education. Additionally, she holds Masters' degrees in software engineering from National University and education and mathematics from California State University-Fullerton. In addition to serving on the CUE (Computer Using Educator) board, she serves on the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) Southern California/OC/Inland Empire Chapters boards. Deister was a member of the California Computer Science Standards Committee, the California Mathematics Framework Focus Group and served on the CSTA board for 8 years.

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