Discussion

Unit 3 Professional Development

We had our ECS Unit 3 Professional Development on Saturday October 18th.  

      Jane Margolis welcomed all our new and returning teachers to the PD and briefed us all on the exciting things happening in the world of CS Education.  She mentioned:

      1. The LAUSD / Code.org Partnership
      2. The Hour of Code - Which is happening December 8th - 14th during CS Education Week!
      3. Ramon Mella is now working on STEM Initiatives for LAUSD, he's filling in as Todd Ullah's replacement. 
      4. Julie Flapan will be joining ECS in the coming months, she's the Executive Director of ACCESS.

      John Landa, our ECS Super Coach, went over the agenda 

      Agenda

      • Intro
      • Unit 3 - Day 4
      • Planning
      • Lunch
      • Unit 3 - Days 5 - 7
      • Unit 3 - Days 8 - 10
      • Wrap-up

      reminded the group about the three pillars of Inquiry, Equity and CS Concepts and finished by giving the following quote to think about: 

      "... classrooms should be laboratories for a more just society than the one we now live in." - Rethinking Our Classrooms

      Leslie Hicks taught the Day 4 HTML demo lesson.  She used these storyboard examples in her lesson: Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing, Grace Murray Hopper and Judea Pearl.  She assigned a computer scientist to each group.  "Students" were introduced the basics of HTML before having each team come up and place a HTML tag on the board, teams placed a new tag where they thought appropriate and rearranged any tags they thought were not placed correctly.  She then gave teams time to use w3schools to explore what different output the tags produced.  After Leslie's great model lesson we explored differentiated teaching for different types of learners and direct instruction versus exploration in the debrief.  Teachers reported feeling more comfortable with HTML, there was a feeling that it would be helpful to students to move tags around by hand.  One teacher wanted a more structure approach for her students, the teacher reported that they felt lost when they were asked to play around with it.  Leslie in her own self-reflection asked, "My question is, 'If I had that student in my class would I have found them?' " 

      Other comments by teachers:

      • "This experience showed me that this type of lesson will allow students to visually see and interact with code by using their fingers, instead of just sitting in their chairs"
      • "We need to help students by making it rigorous but also by sending them a lifeline when they need it."
      • "I think there are a lot of connections that can be made with the problem solving unit, which comes right before this unit."
      • "Students naturally get help from one another but you have to set that envirnoment up.  Struggling needs to be structure!"

      We followed with planning and the rest of the lessons using the Teacher, Learner, Observer model. The first group teacher lesson was on the HTML tags <em>, <strong> and <img>.  The second group taught a lesson exploring Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).  During the debriefs we came back to many of the same themes of differentiated teaching and exploration.  Two quotes during the debriefs that left us with things to think about in our own classrooms:

      "HTML and SCRATCH are the two units where teaching and grading [needs to be done differently] so kids can drive their own car at their different speed, rather than all students being in the same car."

      "How do we do structured inquiry?  If we say 'just play' will we leave people behind?  How do we scaffold for different learners?"


       

      Unit 4 PD: December 6th (new teachers)

      ECS 3+ year PD:  November 15th (veteran ECS teachers)