Discussion

New Year--New CS Goals!

Happy New Year! I know it's the middle of the school year, but something about New Year's celebrations does get me thinking about what I might resolve to improve or try for the first time with my computer science classes. I do my best thinking by brainstorming all possibilities and then narrowing my options down to those I might actually achieve. So here are some ideas I've had for New Year's resolutions to enhance CS instruction in my classroom and school:

  • Start an afterschool CS club. Consider Girls Who Code, Hour of Code, and perhaps Minecraft Edu.
  • Hire former students to work as TAs. (This one I've already done with my AP class, but I'd like to do with my introductory level classes). They could host virtual "office hours" to help students debug code or creatively expand projects. Or they could be the leaders of the afterschool CS club?
  • Create a virtual bulletin board space to highlight students' excellent CS work--this could have links to their games, projects to download, testimonials about what they have enjoyed learning. It could be both a celebration of their achievements and a way to recruit new students.
  • Reach out to professionals who use CS as part of their job who might be willing to talk to the class. Set up virtual tours with students, Q & A sessions, or maybe even a 20 questions--guess their job activity.
  • Pick a few really successful lessons I've taught, document them better and publish them for other teachers here on CS for All Teachers.
  • Learn to code even better on my own. Pick a new coding language (Python?) and plan a path of self-study and milestones to measure my progress. Document my struggles and successes and share those with my students to be a lead learner for them.
  • Record mini-lessons on important CS topics and post them for my students (and others) on YouTube. "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good."
  • Research computer science heroes/heroines from all backgrounds and make a point of including what I've learned about them in my classes. Continue to develop an inclusive classroom culture where all students have success with CS and see themselves among the industry leaders.
  • Consider integrating robotics into my curriculum.

Have any ideas to add or ways to help me accomplish my potential resolutions? I'd love to read your ideas in the comments!