The focus of this quarter will be on continuing our Visual Art and Computer Science unit, using the Processing language (check out processing.org to learn more). Processing is a text-based language built on Java that is used primarily by visual artists (check out processing.org and openprocessing.org to learn more and see some examples). We will be learning more Processing functions, creating digital collages, and using variables and conditional statements to create interactive art. Some of the 8th graders will also be introduced to Swift Playgrounds, an iPad app that teaches students to code using Swift, which is the language used to build iPad apps. These lessons are self-paces, but will also include some “unplugged” activities that help students understand fundamental computer science concepts such as sequence, conditionals, looping and variables.
Since we took a detour through using Scratch programming last quarter, during the 2nd quarter 7th graders will begin with using StarLogo Nova to program a simulation of the spread of a disease. Students will learn how powerful computer science can be in helping to solve complex problems. Following this unit, students will use VidCode (Check it out at https://app.vidcode.io/), where they will learn to use the JavaSript language to make video filters and stop motion animation.
All 6th graders have completed some introductory units in Scratch, but since some students have had TCS for 1 or 2 years and others are new this year, there is a wide range of proficiency levels. This quarter, using the CS-First curriculum created by Google, students will be able to choose a theme that fits their interests and their skill level. New students will choose between Storytelling and Music and Sound, while students who feel ready to do more can choose between Art or Fashion and Design, and those who are ready for a challenge will choose between Sports, Social Media, or Game Design. The CS-First curriculum includes instructional videos, starter projects that students remix, and short quizzes for checks on student understanding. All themes contain 8 projects/activities, and although one activity will typically be completed each class, students will work at their own pace and may complete a whole theme and begin work on a second during the quarter. Other students may choose to expand some of their projects and work on them over 2 classes.
Students will continue their introduction to Computer Science and Scratch programming. This quarter students will complete a number of “unplugged” activities that will help develop their “computational thinking” and their understanding of concepts such as sequence, coordinates, and conditionals. Students will create animation and stories, as well as an interactive greeting card.
Students will continue to grow in their ability to use the mouse and keyboard to control the computer, access websites, and create art. Using the SeeSaw app, students will create a drawing for things they are thankful for, as well as for each of the seasons. Students learn to use a code to join the class both on the computer and the iPad. Students will also use the app Build with Chrome, a virtual Lego builder which also helps them learn to use multiple mouse functions, including the right click and the scroll wheel. After we return from winter break, students will begin using Kodable, a website that introduces the computer science concepts of algorithms, sequence and conditions.
TCS, or 21st Century Solutions, is a class focused on exploring computer science and using technology in a creative way.
About Mrs. Kostecki:
I've been teaching at Disney since 2004. I've always loved technology, especially using it creatively, such as in graphic design, video editing, and coding. Prior to teaching I worked in IT, including 3 years at Disney. I have a Masters Degree in Sociology from Northwestern University, and also recently earned my MA in Educational Technology. I am married and have two kids, and I love traveling, which I often do to visit my mom, three brothers and sister, who all live if different cities!