Don't Panic

Dropbox for Scratch Files

Don't PanicI save my scratch code for showing to students in Dropbox for various reasons but mainly so I can get to the code from any computer I happen to be using (yeah, I have too many computers).

This morning I was showing my students how to solve a particular problem in Python for our programming class. The main teaching goal here was to show them the process of developing code towards a final solution.

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kids can code

Is it worth teaching young kids to code?

Mark Guzdial’s “Computing Education Blog” is at the top of my personal list of education blogs to follow, there is always good content and great insight there. I hope to get a chance to bounce ideas off him someday soon.

Today he posted about “Is it worth teaching young kids to code?“.  I recommend you go read the post yourself as well as the original article that he is referring to from Wired.com.

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Thanks to all my students
Thanks to all my students

On Monday I attended a nice ceremony to receive an award for being among a group of faculty that have “left a mark on our students”.  Apparently this puts me in the top 5% of faculty over the 70 year history of our university system at the Tecnológico de Monterrey here in Mexico.

Obviously those of us with a large number of semesters (and total number of groups taught) have an advantage, or I think that would be true. It is also obvious that the more recent semesters have more students and also more students that are connected to the internet in order to hear about the voting and cast their vote.

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I will be teaching a professional development class this week on Flipping the Classroom (Thursday from 3pm-6pm) and we are already receiving requests for other sessions for those that cannot make it. I sure hope I live up to the demand for knowledge!

Since this is a class about flipping the class, I assigned a small amount of pre-course homework and hope that most of the students come prepared. Yes I know that teachers make the worst students, myself included.

I also want to point out a couple related posts while I am on the subject.

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Image of a true passion for reading by Katie CannonA long time ago a very special grade three teacher planted the seeds of a love for reading in her classroom.  She would take time each week (if I recall correctly) to read books to us in the classroom. I am sure there were many more but the ones I recall vividly after all these years are James and the Giant Peach, A Wrinkle in Time and Where the Sidewalk Ends.

Where the Sidewalk Ends 30th Anniversary Edition: Poems and Drawings by Shel Silverstein
Where the Sidewalk Ends 30th Anniversary Edition: Poems and Drawings by Shel Silverstein

That last one by Shel Silverstein especially stuck in my mind. I can recall listening to my teacher recite the poems with my head on the desk and eyes closed visualizing the story.  I had the luck to come across the 30th anniversary edition (linked above) three years ago and quickly grabbed that (and other books) to bring home with me to Mexico.  I wrote inside the front cover a message to my daughter about my memories of that book in my third grade class with the hope some of that excitement would rub off on her as she entered grade three (not needed, she has always been a good reader).

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