Advice on order of units


#1

This is my second year teaching AP CSP and although the course went great last year, I felt a little rushed to get done with the tasks in time. During training, I heard a lot of teachers say they do the lessons in this order…1, 2, 4, Explore Task, 3, 5 and Create Task.

I know that it is a personal decision but would really like to better understand the pros and cons of going out of order. I really hesitate to stray from how it was written, knowing how much thought was put into this curriculum. Advice?


#2

This is my second year as well and I plan on the same sequence as stated above


#3

The first version of the curriculum had units 3 and 5 combined into one unit. Unit 5 takes a very long time to complete. Being combined with unit 3 made it too long. With a long unit on programming, the students were bored and it felt very monotonous. I also had a hard time keeping the slow students focused and motivated since they would start getting overwhelmed when their peers were too far ahead or were finishing them without much difficulty. I like the unit being split up into 2 and taught with a break in the middle. It cut the monotony and helped me have more control on how much time was being spend on each lesson, keep the slow students a little more motivated than the prior year. I think this was the feedback they got from a lot of the teachers who piloted this version of the curriculum and hence Code.org decided to split it up. I have taught 1, 2, 3, 4, Explore, 5, Create sequence for 2 years now and I liked the flow. This is also the reason, I decided to split up the Performance Tasks and have the students do them at different times in the year.


#4

Thank you for your response. Since last year went so well ordering it like you suggest, I will do the same this year. Perhaps, I will eliminate a few lessons in Unit 4 if I feel we are pushed for time. I noticed also that code.org rearranged the lessons and this should help with timing too. I feel confident now that this is the best plan for me and my students.


#5

This is my second year–last year, I taught the course basically as published (I did the actual explore before finishing 5, but we had started it), while this year I am doing 1.1, 2, 1.2, 3, 4, explore, 5, create.

Here is why I don’t put all of the coding together: Some of my students are very anxious to get to the coding part, so I felt that moving it all to the second half was not a good plan. Also, like bhatnagars, having too long of a block of straight coding meant that there was a very wide discrepancy between my faster and slower coders and I could see it leading to many of the same issues. Finally, putting the real explore off for a little longer (we did it during the end of Jan/early Feb) meant that I had a little time to have them do an additional explore for their semester final (that’s Dec for us) that I could grade and give feedback on.


#6

Also, if you look at the revised lessons for this year, you’ll notice that about half of unit 2 has been removed to “post AP”–so you may have some additional time compared to last year!

edit: oops, I meant unit 2, not unit 4!


#7

Just my 2 cents – With the reduction in Units 2 and 4 I think this will fit much better in the school year. I plan on Units 1, 2, 3, 4, Explore, 5 (chapter 1), Create, 5 (chapter 2), Exam. I find the students like to get a little programming (unit 3) earlier in the year.


#8

@biermanl quick correction here that we moved about half of Unit 2 to Post AP. As you noted, however, this was done to help improve the pacing of the course. For all full description of what changed and why I highly recommend checking out Appendix C of the Curriculum Guide [link].


#9

I second what George said here too. I had done code.org when it had all the programming at the end - students needed something different than the “code.org” structure toward the end - some saw it as a system to game and others wanted more freedom. I like having 3 and 5 separate and am hoping to throw in some mini-units throughout chapter 5 (like the stuff from the post-AP unit) BUT I do move pretty fast through the curriculum. I am on Unit 3 right now and we started school in September. Your schedule/pace might look different.