I’m learning in public. Which means that I’m not doing the normal everything-is-awesome social media post. I’m trying to figure something out and navigate some tricky pedagogical terrain as a kind of newbie. Just a bit of backstory…..

I was hired by a local independent school to teach computer science in their middle school. They use a progressive pedagogical approach, are almost entirely project-based, use a lot of student voice and choice, and till this year, did not even assign grades. And all these things checked major boxes for me, although I’ve spent my entire career teaching in independent schools with a much more traditional approach. But I have always loved learning for learning’s sake and felt I could bring my PBL approach in and it would mesh pretty seamlessly.

And in some cases, that happened. Kids were happy to be doing CS, and the administration seemed pleased with my efforts. But there were several things I hadn’t anticipated and am trying to work my way through. In no particular order:

no grades

very wide range of experience and interest and (dare I say it) abilities

a Chromebook-based infrastructure

So it seems a good idea to pause and reflect mid-year. What’s going well, what needs more tinkering, what could I do better.

The hits —

Code Monkey

The misses —

microbits (kinda)
bigger robots
virtual robots

Stuff I still want to make work —

Wide differentiation
Motivation without grades
Behavior issues with looser structure