I teach high school at Lynnfield High School and live in Gloucester MA.
I have taught Math for many, many years. Two years ago I transitioned to teaching computer science full time and am loving it!
Educated in New York, and teaching mathematics and some computer science for the past 34 years, Ellen has made it her passion to keep mathematics real and relevant for her students. “I do my best to explore pathways of learning so that my students can see value in what they learn and why they are learning it.” Ellen enjoys spreading the word through professional development in the areas of STEAM and encourages other teachers to take risks and offer these experiences as well. Ellen Falk is a mathematics and AP CSP teacher at North Salem High School in North Salem, NY and is the current president of AMTNYS and an active member of the New York State STEM Collaborative. New to Snap! and the BJC community, Ellen is enjoying learning from such a great community and is passionate about growing the CS program at her school.
- BJC Master Teacher
- BJC4NYC Facilitator
- AP CSP Reading Table Leader
- Math for America Master Teacher Fellow II
Thanks for helping with Snap!Con 2021!
No materials for the event yet, sorry!
We asked a group of teachers from around the country to share: (1) What students are doing creatively in high school with Snap!, (2) What students are struggling with in high school in learning Snap!, (3) How teachers can support the learners who need more time to process coding in Snap! or need more foundational structure?, (4) How can teachers keep more advanced students engaged?
Whether students are learning to program using Snap! in the context of AP CSP or in a general programming course, there are consistent issues across classrooms and challenges that together we can explore and work to improve and address.
Procedures, parameters, arguments, inputs, outputs, oh my! How do we use and make comfortable the vocabulary of text based programming languages when teaching Snap! Students need to feel comfortable both on the AP CSP exam and in college CS courses. It’s great to talk about snapping blocks together, but when our students face a conversation with traditional vocabulary, they tend to feel more excluded than knowledgeable and included.
In Snap! - how are we teaching the difference between calls to a procedure and different paths that can be taken in a program? Are students understanding and owning the power of procedures with inputs. We take a square to a more generalized polygon and build a contact list but students are still challenged in building personal programs that use generalized procedures with ease and purpose. It’s just too easy to stay with ask and answer. We need stronger bridges to entice them to cross the valley of ask and answer.
Sure Snap! may make flow charts and code tracing seem obvious and unnecessary but when faced with flow charts and text code tracing problems, our students are not successful. Do we need to adjust how we are teaching in Snap! or better articulate the big picture?
In the BJC curriculum, lists are introduced and used in a number of labs from a shopping list to a quiz app to a contact list, but are students able to integrate the power of lists into personal projects and ideas and use them in dynamic ways that take advantage of lists as holders of data? Are we making use of data sets and API calls and libraries enough as we teach and learn to use Snap! - where does it fit in and why?
In the midst of these challenges, students are building amazing projects in Snap! They are connecting computer science to cross curricular areas of study as never before. From anime games to health issue challenges, from simulated card games to math explorations AP CSP is exploding thanks to the BJC curriculum and engaging students from diverse backgrounds who never saw CS as a course of study that was possible or open for them. Students who were unsure about their future interests in general are falling in love with CS and deciding that they have found an academic home and a real life connection because of Snap! How can we blend this creative energy to make our students even more creative and engaged CS students in college and beyond?