Category Archives: CS Bookshelf

Second Semester Looms

So now that we are past the holiday rush, and exams are done, I am trying to pace out second semester. I have boon looking to a couple of places for inspiration.

Books:

Blogs:
I have found a wealth of ideas through elementary themed blogs – who knew! My favorite so far is using a oil pan from autoZone ($10) for a large magnetic wall board.

Created by Rebecca Dovi

I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

It’s the end of the year as we know it – and I feel fine

Fourteen days left…not that anyone here is counting.
The end of the year is always bittersweet. Summer – positive. Goodbyes – negative.
I teach many of my computer science kids for all four years they are in high school. They are going on to great things, but I still miss them.

So this isn’t exactly computer science, but it is definitely teaching. And I could use a dose of inspirational.
In the past month I have tried to explain the whole Dave – Eggers/education thing to at least five people. Here’s a summary:

  • Ted Talk – while I am not a writing teacher, per se, this is exactly what I am trying to create in the lab. I watch this several times a year, always good for inspiration.
  •  Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America’s Teachers – I have not (yet) read this. Seriously folks, it is the end of the school year. If I make it to the end of the day without getting caught in a food fight I am doing really good. It is on my summer catch up list, promise.
  • The documentary – Here’s an NPR story about the documentary AMERICAN TEACHER. As a computer science teacher one of my grumbles is, well, other teachers’ grumbles. When they complain about lack of planning time I try to remain calm – most other subjects have age-appropriate books with worksheets and practice problems. Over my 15 years of teaching computer science I have probably written five or six textbooks. Notes, worksheets, projects, the whole thing. These things are in short supply for computer science teachers.

    One of the main points of his work here is the amount of money spent on textbooks, $8 billion. Now I do not mind developing materials for my classes, curriculum work is actually part of what I enjoy most about teaching. It is just sad that out of that huge total the computer science teaching community is so under supplied.

So here it is – a little reminder of why we do what we do. Something to get you over the hump until summer. Just curious, where do you find inspiration?

Created by Rebecca Dovi

I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

Free Books – OReilly Media

Our local CSTA chapter recently signed up for Oreilly’s User Community. If you are a member of a local CSTA chapter (and you should be – it’s free people) this is a service that might be helpful for your chapter.

From their website: If you run a user group, Meetup, professional association, or other technology group, O’Reilly Communities can provide you with:

  • Review copies of O’Reilly, Microsoft Press, Pragmatic, No Starch, and SitePoint products
  • Donations of books and other promo items

Hope this helps!

Created by Rebecca  Dovi

I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

AP Computer Science Principles – Bookshelf

One of the things I get asked most often about the pilot is “What textbook are you using?” In reality limiting the course to one book isn’t possible. Part of the whole point of the curriculum is broadening the focus beyond just teaching coding.

Also, computer science is by its very nature is not static. Having a great set of reference books to work from has been essential this past year.

These three were my main resources:

  • Computer Science: An Overview by J. Glenn Brookshear
    • This book did a good job of covering the basics, plus it covered some other areas like artificial intelligence and computer graphics.
  • Computer Science Illuminated by Nell Dale and John Lewis
    • This one takes a layered approach starting with the information layer of how data is stored and processed and then moved up through applications. Each chapter had a good set of thought questions, beyond just simple vocabulary and multiple choice, that related to the topics covered.
  • Explorations In Computer Science by Mark Meyer
    • This books takes a laboratory approach with a series of hands on applets. Great for brainstorming how to approach a topic.

Some other books I used. If you haven’t guessed I am a huge reader, so this is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Introduction to Computational Science by Angela B. Shiflet and George W. Shiflet-
    • This book was new to me this year. One of the hardest areas to teach with the CS Principles course was Large Datasets. While the book is over the head of your average high school student, it is a fabulous resource for teachers. It is all about how computers are used in modeling and simulation and has an entire module on errors in modeling. Each topic covered has several case studies that range from Drug Dosage to Skydiving to Mushroom Fairy Rings. Great examples to pull from.
  •  Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Petzold
    • This covers the first steps of representing data as a code – like Morse code all the way through graphics. It is clear and easy to follow with fun examples. It is a it a level high school students could follow most of it, although some passages get a little more mathy than most students are comfortable with. This is one of the books I came back to again and again.
  • The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography by Simon Singh
    • This is one of my all time favorites. His website also has lots of great interactive tools for teaching on this topic. I have used the digital version in class for several years. I also have developed a set of  hands-on cryptography activities whenever the network is down at school-like Caesar sticks and Morse code.  Understanding some of the history of how humans used encryption to send messages makes the abstraction of computer science easier to understand

 

Rebecca Dovi
As CEO (chief educational officer) of CodeVA Rebecca is responsible for training teachers and developing computer science curriculum as CodeVA works to bring computer science education to all Virginia students.

Computer Science – Children’s Reading List

I am super excited – I get to go to Williamsburg next week for the VAASL Conference next week – that’s the Virginia Association of School LIbrarians. Any excuse to visit my hometown is a good one, but add books and I am definitely in.

Virginia Association of School Librarians

For the presentation we will be talking about how librarians play a central role in bringing computer science education to all students. Included in this is an overview of the Hour of Code in December.

For this presentation we compiled a list of books, fiction and non-fiction, for K-12 students to support computer science education.

By far my favorite suggestion was using Amelia Bedelia to teach algorithms and sequencing.

amelia

 

It is fun to see how many great options are available compared to just a few years ago. Huge thanks to everyone in the CS Education Facebook group for all of the suggestions!

Rebecca

Elementary Books

A is for Array Brandon J Hansen Elementary
Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine Laurie Wallmark Elementary
Amelia Bedelia Chapter Books Herman Parish Elementary
Codecrafter Erica Sandbothe Elementary
Computational Fairy Tales Jeremy Kubica Elementary
Hello Ruby Linda Liukas Elementary
If Ruby Dances Liz Lah Elementary
JavaScript for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming Nick Morgan Elementary
Lauren Ipsum: A Story About Computer Science and Other Improbable Things Carlos Buen Elementary
Learn to Program with Scratch Majed Marji Elementary
Python for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming Jason R. Briggs Elementary
The Cryptic Case of the Coded Fair Barbara Tinker Elementary
The Harrowing Case of the Hackensack Hacker Roberta Baxter Elementary

Middle and High School Books

 

Best Practices of Spell Design Jeremy Kubica MIddle and High
DK Workbooks: Coding with Scratch Workbook MIddle and High
DK Workbooks: Computer Coding MIddle and High
Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women Catherine Thimmes MIddle and High
Hacker’s Delight Henry S. Warren MIddle and High
How to Code in 10 Easy Lessons Sean McManus MIddle and High
Masterminds of Programming Lethbridge, Lucy MIddle and High
Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future MacCormick, John MIddle and High
Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age Rushkoff, Douglas MIddle and High
Secret Coders Gene Luen Yang MIddle and High
The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography Singh, Simon MIddle and High
The Desperate Case of the Diamond Chip Penny Noyce MIddle and High
The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems . . . and Create More Dormehl, Luke MIddle and High
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage Sydney Padua MIddle and High
Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet Blum, Andrew MIddle and High
Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe Dyson, George MIddle and High

 

 

 

 

Rebecca Dovi
As CEO (chief educational officer) of CodeVA Rebecca is responsible for training teachers and developing computer science curriculum as CodeVA works to bring computer science education to all Virginia students.