I am completely a fan of starting with the team building and level playing field of Units 1 and 2. Unfortunately, I also am facing a situation where I will have my students for about 9 weeks (1 term) and then not again until 3rd term starting in January (or worse yet, 2nd and 4th terms for my other section).
Because of this, and the points you acknowledged, I too am considering going almost directly to Unit 3 through 7 for those first nine weeks. I am concerned about the impact to students with less programming experience (as Kaitie suggests) but also know that most of my students have had some CSD curriculum before showing up for CSP. I think I will have to work hard during the first two weeks to build community, trust, and patience as we speed to and through programming. I’m curious on what you decided to do, seeing that your students arrive tomorrow.
With any luck, I will have more in person time for students during terms 3 and 4 for many of those awesome group activities in Units 1 and 2.