Thursday, June 7, 2012

What are we doing after the AP exam?

This question pops up every year with my students...we have six weeks after the AP Computer Science exam, are we doing anything?

Nope, I've decided you can just nap for six weeks of school. That sounds reasonable.

They know me well enough that there is a lot of eye rolling at this point. After fifteen years teaching high school I have learned eye rolling equals success. It is my job to annoy them occasionally.

Usually I pick something new to everyone and we work through that. Sometimes we do advanced data structures like linked lists, java graphics or a new language.

This year's group is too eclectic for that to work. I have students that already know VB, C++, Python and just about anything else I could throw at them. They have done NASA summer internships, built robots and held part-time jobs doing web design.

So I tried something new, this year they got to pick their own projects.

The ground rules were:
  1. Do something new to you
  2. Do something non-trivial (something that will take several weeks to complete)
  3. Amaze me
I had them write about what they were going to work on first. So far this has kept them much more engagged then they normally are this time of year. Plus it has been a lot less work for me.

In short, I have been amazed. Plus, anything that cuts down on the amount of nagging I have to do everyday is a total win.

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