Thursday, July 26, 2018

30-day Countdown til school starts -- Day 27

After a rather stressful day, the circumstances of how it became stressful is rather silly. What was rather relaxing including eating pita chips and an iced coffee, turned into a lot of thinking. LOL 

So, how do I turn this day into something I consider productive? 

I have a lot of Pinterest boards. This means a lot of pins I don't look at again. This evening I went through previous boards and re-pinned items to my new board for the 2018-2019 school year. That board has sections with all my classes for the year. Then I pinned resources to boards specific to things I plan to teach and subject areas so the boards become more meaningful. 

30-day Countdown til school starts -- Day 28

So, it's that time of the day to recap and although it's the summer I'm prepping for a new school year.  I wanted to get so much more done today but, unlike yesterday when being a parent "got in the way" today it was those darn supplemental contracts.  You know that thing you do for pretty much zero extra pay that takes a lot of your time. I am a class adviser and today I shared in a lot of conversation and research about activities that are essentially extra-curricular. Powder Puff and Prom. Trying to figure out why all these phone calls are taking so much time. And I have help!! In addition to not quite reaching my goals on the front of prepping classes I realized some things about my prep.

1) Ohio has new Computer Science Standards.  They are still in draft form but I thought I should read them and compare them to CSTA and the current Ohio Technology standards. 
I felt so unproductive because nothing formal was completed.  I looked over standards to see what were included expectations for grades 6 - 12.

2) My SMART goal(s) are generally written the first quarter of school.  Maybe anticipating that the goals need to be written that is something I should consider writing and make goals BEFORE school starts.

3) My SLO tests are created by myself as I'm not a state-tested subject. I have used the same test for the last 5 years and students come in with scores of 10 - 15% and leave with scores 70%+ and this is really good because I only see my middle school students in 9-week rotations.  BUT as well as they have been growing on these tests I thought it was time to create a list of things students should know by the end of 8th grade so I could test toward those things. Not only do I want to test these skill I think these skills will be used across curriculum.  I'd love to get more in-depth with actual computer science but I make sure a lot of CS gets in while supporting use of applications that will be used in core high school curriculum. Keeping in mind that my students rotate in 9-week sections it's not feasible to do a lot of the curriculum out there for CS that is designed for an entire year.

See my list below of competencies/specific learning objectives (not standards) to see if you agree because that is pretty much all I completed that I can show on day 28. LOL

8th grade minimum requirements
Students can

  • create a folder in a drive
  • use a flash drive
  • use the hard drive
  • use Google drive
    • change the color of the folder
  • differentiate between drives 
    • understand a cloud drive requires Internet access
  • rename folders and drives
  • differentiate between save & save as
  • save files as a different file type than the default for the program
    • i.e. save .xlsx to .csv or .docs to .pdf or .txt
    • recognize they cannot simply rename the file with the file type
  • understand what an operating system is and does
  • understand the difference between editable files such as .prel and .wlmp or .ai and final files such as .mp4, .mpg, .png
  • understand basic syntax of HTML5 tags and incorporating CSS
    • Note: other coding skills should be introduced but this is a minimum
    • compare and contrast creating a website from a text editor vs. Google Sites and Weebly
      • recognize that website builders still use HTML and CSS in the back end
    • compare and contrast editors such as Notepad, Coffee Cup, CodePen, and Dreamweaver.
  • Identify responsible use of technology
    • understand copyright laws
      • use and create images
      • understand the value of taking own photography
    • have strategies against plagiarism
      • demonstrate varied research techniques
    • understand Internet safety
      • create and remember secure passwords
      • understand personal information
      • recognize unsafe activity
      • guard against malware
  • Edit photos and video



Wednesday, July 25, 2018

30-day Countdown til school starts -- Day 29

When I got this bright idea I knew it was ambitious.  I'm actually stating that I will give updates on preparing for back-to-school EVERY day.  As productive as yesterday was, I must admit today was not as "productive" on paper. The realization that being a teacher, and being a parent and the energy that goes into my ALL my kids is not easily balanced. This is a task that plagues me during the school year too.  All the more of a reason to plan out the school year when things come up unplanned in your daily life. 

Today I planned to make an outline for AP CSP, instead I went shopping for vacation, went to yoga class, collected 45 text messages as an exchange in preparation for prom in which I'm an adviser for, and I went to the county fair for the 4-H winners' review. While at the winners' review a statement was made by the executive director of the fairgrounds when he presented the awards for the flower beds.  The statement paraphrased to the best of my recollection was: earlier today couples filled this room celebrating 50 years or more of marriage and one couple shared 73 years, and this commitment was a positive in a world where the media is sharing so many negative circumstances. Tonight this room is filled with hope for the future as we celebrate the achievements of 4-Hers via the winners review.  One example of this hope is all the work the 4-H clubs do to maintain the flower beds at the fairgrounds.  Today a group from Washington State visited Ohio for the first time and they came directly from the airport to the Clark County Fairgrounds and after seeing the facility including the beautiful flower beds they think Ohio is great!


As I reflect on how I'm going to move forward in my plans and how to best prepare for the new school year I will choose to prepare an openness that celebrates small achievements that develop into a big picture. The overall Fair and fairgrounds have many elements, many individual flower beds that go into making it a place you want to visit. 


  1. What can we do as educators to develop many individual experiences into a fulfilling course?  
  2. What can we as teachers to to inspire individual students as life-long learners? 
  3. What is it that will leave students saying "CS is great!"?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

30-day Countdown til school starts -- Day 30

After a whirlwind of a summer it's difficult to think that school begins in 30 days. So far this summer I completed my first post-masters class in school administration, participated in my daughter's June wedding, read content for CTE test questions, attended code.org training, and participated in the opening days of our county fair.

Now it's time to start piecing it all together to start a new year. One thing I've learned after teaching 5 years of K - 12 education is that having a plan to guide the year is crucial.  I lay out the year, the quarter, and each online course with supplemental material.  Then probably change 1/2 of it before the end of quarter one but at least I'm not scrambling.  In the CS world everything seems to be changing.  As if the mandates and expectations of teaching don't change enough, as in SLOs, RESA, standards are common core, not common core, technology standards vs. computer science standards then there is the whole issue that we are not using Windows 7 anymore, and Google Suite, Schoology, Office 365 (the tech) looks different but then it's time to learn Python because JavaScript isn't good enough and I always struggle with where to put my time.

This summer we are taking our summer vacation at the end of this week.  It's later in the summer but gives me two full weeks to prep before students arrive. I hope to document the next 30-days with resources AND experiences.

I will be teaching Digital Design Productions, a student-based enterprise course where students will be using various tools to design products that can be sold online. I will be teaching Technology Communications where I have students learn about social media marketing, web commerce, video production, and blogging to explore communication online and via various forms of technology. I will be teaching 6 & 7 grade computer technology courses and AP CSP.  None of these courses have district adopted curriculum so it's nice that I get to decide what to teach but also the biggest part of the challenge. 

I'm starting with AP CSP, at least it has curriculum out there already laid out within it's own set of standards and learning objectives for the course. This year I'm still using the FREE Harvard CS50 but supplementing it with code.org and using App Inventor as the initial project to garner interest in using mobile devices.


Since my students have the benefit of having computer technology courses in middle school I will be taking a lot of the code.org material and introducing it at the middle school level.  Code.org has specific middle school content so I will be looking at how the AP CSP and Discoveries curriculum integrates with each other.

Thank you for following me as a put together this plan for the new school year.