Sunday, August 18, 2019

And So It Begins–School year 2019 2020

Tomorrow (Monday) I will meet the new freshmen in my study hall. And I’ll finish getting my room ready for the new school year. First day of real classes is Tuesday. And I am not as ready as I would like.

I have a day by day plan for every day of the semester (even the year for my AP CS Principles class). Lesson plans last until they run into actual students so there will be adjustments. There always are. It’s my 5th or is it 6th year teaching honors programming so that is more settled than anything else. I still make changes as I go along because not every class in the same as any other. And who wants to do the same thing year after year anyway.

It’s my third year teaching AP CS Principles and I am making big adjustments in the schedule over last year. I am hopeful that I’m going to get it better this year but who really knows.

My third year for teaching Mobile Application Programming and I am switching from AppInventor to Thunkable. AppInventor has given me a lot of issues with the emulator and most of my students have iPhones and Apple is dragging their feet on allowing AppInventors iPhone software. Thunkable already works with iPhones, though without support for some features I would really like. Plus it seems to connect to phones more reliably. We’ll see how it goes. I’m adapting project ideas as I go along. That’s not completely new but it is not without risk.

At least I only have three preps. Last fall I had four. I also have more free periods as I am teaching a reduced load (at my request) and that should help a lot.

Are you ready? Have you begun already? Let’s do this thing!

1 comment:

Garth said...

I have never been ready in 30+ years of teaching. That would take some of the fun out of the job. My math classes (Honors Alg 2 and Senior Stats) are easy. Stats has an incredible textbook and I pretty much stick with it. Honors 2 is much looser. Small class so we sit and chat about math and on the way we hit the things I want them to know. This works with honors kids, not with "average" kids. My programming class are all over he map. Python depends on the knowledge of the kids. Game programming with Unity is always something new. I like the kids to explore and some are better explorers than others. This year I am doing a more structured with the Mobile Apps class. I am also going to Thunkable for the same reasons you are. I was thinking of doing Android Studio but the hardware requirements were more than I had available.

I am terrible about lesson planning. I usually know what I am doing the next class but next week? No way. I used to do the full semester lesson plan book, and then tried to follow it. I found that what I thought the students could do had nothing to do with what the kids could do. Classes varied too much in ability and interest. I think if my classes were bigger I would have an "average" to plan around. Last year's Honors 2 had 3 kids, this year 7. Plan around that.

I have gotten real good about teaching on the fly. Experience helps and a willingness to accept that sometimes things do not work.