# Biggest Challenges and Favorite Changes?

What do you see as the biggest challenge and/or your favorite change for the new courses A-F? I’m so curious to know how it is going! Our school district will have a group of teachers work on piloting these courses next year and any heads up is very much appreciated. We are tentatively planning on rolling out the new course design this spring, training in the summer or fall, and periodical check-ins for support.

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I’d love to know, too! We’re still reconfiguring, so we might end up with more or less of things as you respond!

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2 things that I think would really help in the course A and B…

1. Have a button for the story to be a read aloud… maybe even have them answer a few questions at the end.
2. Lock levels so the students can not “accidentally” skip ahead. OR Have it set up so they have to complete a task for them to unlock as motivation to work through.

As for course D…
the students LOVE the Pong Game! More levels like this that help guide them through the creation of something they can publish would be awesome! Love the game design… maybe something encouraging creativity in the game design and encouraging them to switch things on the last to be more creative after working through the guided lessons… Allowing them to open up a few tools that they haven’t tried to see what they will do to change the game.

Casey

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I couldn’t agree more with the read aloud button!
After reading you post I’m excited to try the Pong Game. I’m doing a training for teachers this spring to highlight the new courses. I think I’ll start with having them do some of the Pong lesson…

Biggest Challenge: I have tried course E with 4th and 5th grade students. Talented ones, I might add, and they are struggling with being able to apply the use of functions in their program. They can write functions, but they just can’t quite grasp the utility of them yet. I believe that the bee function level starts on the right track, but gets difficult once they really have to use abstraction to decide the appropriate functions to make. That point is around level 8. Also, functions in artist (stage 4) is more difficult than functions in bee (stage 5).
I would argue that the “concepts” of course E functions are more of a 6th grade level. 4th grade students need a more scaffolded version where they see the correct use of functions in programs.

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This is great feedback, I’m sure the curriculum developers will want to know your thoughts! @anon89503335 Do you have any thoughts about this or suggestions for @kcunha and his 4th graders as they go through the beta?

This is great feedback.

There is definitely a difference in being able to use a function when told, versus knowing when one will be helpful. The concept is challenging for students of all ages, to be sure! Hopefully the provided hints offer enough scaffolding for struggling students, but if you feel that students are getting through all of the hints and still don’t know what to do, please feel free to suggest hints for specific puzzles here in the forum!

Hi Valerie–

I really like the improvements to Course A! I think students will benefit from being able to see the blinking solution at the top of the mazes as they work through them. The younger children need help thinking through the new concepts and the visual aids will mean fewer hands raised or feelings of failure. I also like the little lightbulb and the friendly offer of a hint. It would be nice to see the sprites a little bigger in Laurel the Adventurer. I also like the “Artist with a Purpose” where a students help to make a beach drawing. That will be fun for them. The multiple choice questions at the top of some of the puzzles will help them to think about what is happening which should enhance their understanding. Finally, I think that locking unneeded blocks is a helpful strategy in Stage A, but would suggest disabling that help after the first few puzzles of each stage so students wouldn’t breeze through without trial and error.

All in all, Course A gets an A+ from me!

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I’m exploring courses A - F to start teaching students after spring break. I’ve used course 1 (1st and 2nd) course 2 (3rd and 4th) and course 3 (5th) in the past.

Challenges: I’m concerned that my some 2nd graders will not be able to read much of the content in course c. It would be great to have the read to me button in that course as well. In Course A and B the questions where students have to look at the code and answer a multiple choice question, almost all of my students would struggle with the reading on these. Looking at Course A & B, I think many kinder/1st graders would struggle with some of the content, even with the read to me.

Favorite changes, I like the way each course C - F focuses on a specific new coding concept (loops, conditionals, functions, variables) with practice in multiple different scenarios. I have been doing the following scope sequence using Code.org and Dash and Dot for a few years.

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One strategy I heard about at a conference is to have your younger kids go through the lessons with an older mentor. I wonder if that would be a good support for your 2nd graders with the reading and the K-1 with the concepts. Good luck.

Thank you for the feedback! We can definitely enable text-to-speech for C, and I’ve followed up with the engineering team to get that on our list. Similarly, we plan to enable that button for the prediction multiple choice questions as well.

Regarding difficulty, we definitely appreciate hearing what you think will or won’t work for your students and will be keeping an eye out these issues.

Thank you again!
Sarah

I agree that the multiple choice question in course A is a pretty big monkey wrench for my kindergarteners. The reading as well as just the concept of a multiple choice question is too much for me to teach in my limited time period (library/media). I like the idea of having the text read aloud but I would streamline the lower levels as much as possible. I have worked with a-f and like much of the new material.

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Loving the grade level courses! Thank you code.org!!!

One suggestion that I have is to not limit the number of blocks. For example as you move blocks to the work space the number of blocks (ex. move forward decreases 4 --> 3)decrease in number. Although, I see how this could be helpful, it’s also limiting. It’s my opinion that a student should be able to use as many blocks as they need and then can go back and debug to the suggested number of blocks.

Another suggestion/bug (Course C not sure about other courses) is that students are able to change the language to Spanish. But, only the blocks are in Spanish and not the directions.

My last suggestion is to have the ability to change the course students are enrolled in. As of right now, I believe, you are only able to assign courses for the entire class and not individuals. Allows for differentiation.

Thanks again!

I agree. I find that the best way to teach students to understand and use loops correctly is to have them complete the puzzle regardless of how many blocks they use, then have them look for patterns they can repeat and put into the loop. Same thing with functions. Especially for the first several puzzles in a new concept, have the blocks be unlimited so the students can see the pattern and how many blocks they are replacing as it is an important aspect of learning. Maybe, if the student uses more blocks than required to solve the puzzle, you could have any blocks over the designated number have hash marks across them, or a red boarder, or some other visual indicator that you are using too many blocks, but not stopping them from doing so.

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Thanks for the feedback! So happy you like the new material.

I’m sure the content will continue to be revised, but if not as quickly or in the manner you are thinking I wonder if an additional unplugged activity would help your students. Here is another version of the Getting Loopy activity that I found on an interesting looking blog. http://www.thedigitalscoop.com/the_digital_scoop/2014/12/celebrating-cs-week-teaching-loops-with-the-beats-project.html

I agree. I would not limit the number of blocks. I, too, have had the students use as many blocks as they need to complete a puzzle then find the pattern that they can repeat in loops. Loops has not been an easy concept for many first and second graders but they understand seeing patterns if I tell them to look for the pattern in the sequential blocks.

I am noticing several of the puzzles in the different courses do not have a grid to count the steps. Younger students find it difficult to see the steps needed.

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These are great. I’ll be sure to bubble up to chat about these in our next CSF meeting!

Doris,

When you talk about puzzles without a grid, do you have any specific levels in mind? For example, Artist and Play Lab work using pixels, so grids aren’t as helpful.