Unit 5 pacing with different levels of programming experience


I am new to teaching and 1st time CSP.

Are are getting close to finishing unit 3. I am seeing a huge variation in programming experience in my 2 classes. We will jump into Unit 5 once done. Some have not had the patience for the basics and keep jumping ahead on lessons. Others are struggling to finish some of these intro exercises. Any suggestions?

I am exploring if setting up more of a self paced plan for Unit 5 would be better. The ones who get it can jump ahead and those struggling can get more time from me or classmates. Has anyone tried this approach? Recommendations on how it worked or things you would suggest to make it successful?



I do a self-based approach per lesson (i.e. I keep future lessons closed till everyone gets there). The reason for this is that the struggling students start getting overwhelmed when they see their peer on lesson 10 when they are still struggling on lesson 5 for instance. They start to give up and shut down. This was my experience the first year I taught this course.

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Hi @jreilly2016,

My approach is similar to Sangeeta’s - I limit the self-paced aspect to within each lesson. When pretty much all my students have gone beyond a certain threshold that I feel is sufficient for moving on to the next lesson, I then start the next lesson and tell students to go to that lesson regardless of where they were on the previous lesson.

I don’t believe the unit was intended to be self-paced, even though I can see aspects of it that definitely lend itself to that more so than other units. If you decide to let students pace themselves, I recommend at a minimum checking the quality of their work either in person or via the dashboard. I have found that often students who zoom ahead may have cut corners or misunderstood directions on certain bubbles. Even if that’s not the case, I often find many students making similar mistakes on certain bubbles, so it’s definitely worthwhile to monitor students’ work.



I can relate to this struggle.

What has helped me is having a group warm up (or do now) at the beginning of every period. It’s often a quick Kahoot, or google quiz, or coding puzzle. I want the entire class to start with the same activity.

And then second we will split up for practice, where I will set a goal. “I want everyone to get through level 8 by the end of the period. You may go beyond that if you have time. But my goal is to get everyone through level 8.”



@jreilly2016 - did you end up going self-paced or did you leave it as it was? Is this unit working better for you?



Our school calendar got a little disrupted with a spirit week and ski week/presidents day break. As a result I was slower to finish Unit 3. I have only done the 1st lesson in Unit 5 but I actually turned them a little more loose to work through and seemed to go well. I am hoping to follow similar path on the other lessons and see if that keeps everyone engaged. I introduced a “free coding” day and so now if they finish a lesson early instead of jumping ahead on code, I am steering them to create a project and apply the things they have been learning or test out some of the questions they have. Too early to say if it is working or not but I will keep you posted.