AP CSA Enrichment Gone Awry

This week, as our district office implements their ALSDE approved #COVID plan, teachers were asked to focus students on enrichment versus new instruction. Monday, AP CSA was assigned a polymorphism activity This was the 2nd time they had been introduced to the topic, and I have an unofficial theory that it is not until the THIRD time a student interacts with an upperlevel concept that the idea begins to cement in their heads.

After three remind messages with legitimate, but small questions, I realized their understanding was all over the place.

What I realized is that my remote instruction had gone awry. In class, as I was explaining the assignment after about three minutes, it would have been apparent that they had not yet grasped the concept and I could have switched gears. But, now it is Tuesday night, and I know they “don’t got it“. Remote instruction is weird, I can’t see them. I have to trust that they will message me with questions. For a student who is hesitant to ask a question in class, sending me a remind is an impossible hurdle.

The foundational tool of all my courses is a notebook. APCSA students receive a 5 subject notebook, a Java Journal, that we use to document, plan and prepare. This is a valueable tool that they can take to college.

I Heart a Document Camera and a Good Pen

To help them out – I did what I would have done in class. Stop what you are doing – let us go back to some basics. So I quickly grabbed Building Java Programs 4th Edition, the textbook we use in class, and made two short videos based on the examples in Chapter 9.

The isANotes video reviews extending a superclass using the IS-A relationship. One concept I keep referring back to is that “Computer Scientists are Lazy” (not true but helpful) and anytime they can avoid writing the same code twice, they will develop a tool instead. The tool this time is inheritence, where a sub class can have all the states and methods of the superclass, as well as any unique method or fields.

isABasicNotes To help Clarify SubClass Inheritence

Are your kids sitting at home struggling with this? You are welcome to use or edit this video! Are they out there? Are they ok?

Published by MaryClair Wright

High School Computer Science Teacher in Alabama.

2 thoughts on “AP CSA Enrichment Gone Awry

  1. Nice to have another CS Educator blogging.

    Not only is it hard for some kids to ask for help but many kids will also think they get it during the lesson and well beyond because they “follow” what the teacher said but haven’t really internalized it or understood it.

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