Pacing Guide help

Hi – I was wondering if anyone finds themselves in the same boat… I’m trying to create a pacing guide for CSA. It’s 140 lessons, but due to my school having a drop schedule (we also start on September 8) if everything goes absolutely perfect – no snow days, no interruptions from state testing – I only have 112 classes with my students before the exam time.

How are you working around this issue? I think I will have to assign whole units to do on their own time, but I’m sure each unit builds on the previous one. This is definitely stressing me out a bit!

Hi @tedesco.michael ,

First, it is a great to know at this point in the year where you sit pacing-wise!

Let’s start with some good news - 140 lessons includes 15 lesson that are “AP Review” (Unit 9). In the past, I have typically moved much of the AP review to homework (and optional for students who are not taking the AP exam). Each teacher has a different philosophy on AP test prep, so I will let you decide how much in-class time you want to dedicate to AP review, but hopefully that will help.

I also want to point out that curriculum is not really set up to have students do whole units independently. The teacher and other students play a role in each lesson, which makes it tricky to just tell students to “do Unit 7”. I know this is different from some other curriculums, so I just wanted to make sure you were aware of that too.

Here are some other ideas I have:

  1. Each Unit includes a 3-lesson project. The lesson plan also links to a 1-lesson version of the project. In general, as a teacher, I find the time I put into projects in class pays off in learning, so I hate to cut projects entirely, personally. You might want to look at the 1-lesson projects and determine if those are a good fit for your students.
  2. I would recommend looking at the standards covered in Unit 7 and 8. You can find these in the “Teacher Resources” dropdown in each unit (Image below). Content from those two units might be able to be covered in a different format to make up for time. For example, Unit 7 has a series of lessons on recursion. Since recursion is only on the multiple choice test, when I run out of time, I usually cover how to trace recursive methods (rather than how to write recursive methods). If you spend the year building up computational thinking skills, students might find reading recursive methods not as intimidating. In Unit 8, students learn about different types of searching and sorting algorithms. In the past, I have covered that content in a day or two though a student-led jigsaw (assigning groups of students different algorithms to research and then share out in class).
  3. Finally, it might help looking at the Course and Exam Description to understand where most of the content lies in the AP exam (if that is a focus of yours). Page 194 shows the breakdown of what is on the exam. You may be able to better prioritize what you spend more or less time on during the year.

(How to find the standards for a unit pictured below)

Again, each teacher will prioritize different content and goals when teaching the course. I’d love to hear how other people prioritize content in their CSA courses too!

  • Kaitie