Curriculum Notes


#1

I love the code.org material, however, when students are absent from class they miss material reviewed with the hands-on activities. Is there any resource I can give them to explain the concepts they missed besides giving them some of the lesson notes from the teacher’s guide. I know I can give them the handout from the lesson, but is there some other resource I can use so students can complete the Check your knowledge responses. I like to use these reflection questions as a way to see their writing about technical topics to prepare them for the performance assessments.


#2

I believe that this is a critical question for the code.org team to come up with a really effective answer for. I have been following essentially the same procedure that jmclean describes and I think it is acceptable but far from ideal. Students learn the vocabulary through these materials but miss out on a major portion of the content. I think the activities are instrumental in communicating the justifications behind the protocols and explaining the decisions that have been made over the history of computing. This is, I believe, the primary mechanism that code.org utilizes to facilitate accessibility. In many cases, students who struggle with attendance are precisely the students who will most benefit from this material.

I think that a good solution would be a set of videos of a lab classroom that implements all the activities of the year would be a good solution. I could ask students to watch the video of the missed lesson and to take notes on the activity guide as a makeup assignment. While this sounds like a production nightmare, I think teachers would be willing to contribute to this effort. It would be massively helpful to new teachers, as well as the absent students. I would certainly watch many of these videos (probably at 1.25-1.5x speed) before trying to implement the lessons as a way of validating the lesson plan in my head. I have thought of creating these videos myself but the classroom I am teaching in has horrible acoustics and site-lines for video.


#3

Hi @jmclean and @ehenry,

Students with frequent absences are definitely a population we don’t want falling through the cracks. I agree this is particularly challenging when there is heavy reliance on activities/discovery/experiencing and there’s no substitute for that. In terms of concepts, sometimes the videos that come with certain lessons cover the CS content and it might be a good idea to have the student watch the video relevant to the content missed.

I’m sure there would be many teachers who would like and may benefit from videos of these lessons happening in other classrooms. As you mention, this would be pretty resource-intensive. I’ll forward your questions and concerns to the code.org team and meanwhile nobody will stop you from recording your classes and posting links on these forums! (except if you need media release permission, make sure you’ve got that all squared away)

Frank


#4

Hi,

I do think this would be a great idea if code.org could implement something along these lines.

In the mean time Carole Black was kind enough to share some lesson recap slides - Lesson RECAP slides which I use in class and adapt to add further content/justification/discussions that we had in the lesson. Students know I post these at the end of every lesson and have an additional resource to review if they are absent.


#5

To add to what @frank_w_lee referenced above, the curriculum relies and uses collaboration to help students understand the course concepts. Students who are absent miss out on that skill. I recently had students who were added to my class after some foundation lessons in Unit 1. To get them up to speed, I gave them a Crash Course in what they missed and paired them up with a partner. I also gave them the opportunity to try the simulator/activities with a classmate during lunch and club time. This has worked well. The videos and worksheets are great way to provide the missed material. However, opportunities to review the activity with a classmate will help with understanding and reinforcement.


#6

Hello everyone, GT from the CS Principles curriculum team here. I wanted you all to know that we’ve seen this feedback and take it seriously. Our activity-focused pedagogy is designed to drive student engagement, develop key practices like communication, collaboration, and iterative problem solving, and promote deeper understanding of CS concepts. While every classroom is different, we generally hear from teachers that this approach achieves those goals and helps create a collaborative and welcoming classroom environment that many diverse students can succeed in.

Of course, as you’ve all noted, this model begins to break down when students aren’t in class :slight_smile: . I think there’s many approaches to addressing this problem but if I’ve learned anything in my time developing curriculum resources here at Code.org it’s that 1. it take a while to thoughtfully develop resources that work at a national scale and 2. in the meantime this community is one another’s best supports.

For point 1. that means we want to have better solutions for students who are absent but I’d consider that solution to be equally complicated in nature to developing our overall course pedagogy. The difference between using the Internet Simulator vs watching someone use the Internet Simulator vs reading about IP addressing in a textbook are all significant, and there’s of course other approaches. Each have relative benefits and coming up with and executing on a formula that we think will work broadly takes time. It’s important to us that you know we take these comments seriously and are trying to coming up with strategies to improve the situation in future releases of the course.

For point 2. I think there’s a lot this community can do to support each other here. This forum is a great place to share resources like the ones @carole_black shared or. You all are encountering these challenges on a daily basis and are the true experts on the best ways to address them. My recommendation there would be to continue to ask these kinds of questions of this community and share your answers when you have them.

Just wanted to offer a bit of the Code.org perspective here. We’re working hard to help solve your problems. Often we’re learning just as much about the best way to do that from talking to our teachers, and so until we have a more holistic solution for supporting absent students I highly recommend you keep talking to other CSP teachers right here on the forum.

Cheers!
GT