#CSinSF Fall 2017 Reflection

Fall 2017 was extremely productive for everyone on the #CSinSF team!  My role as Computer Science Content Specialist allowed me to focus on Curriculum Development, Teacher Training, supporting Implementation at school sites, and my own Professional Learning.

A look back at some highlights from Fall 2017:

Curriculum Development


CS 2: App Inventor 

2017-18 is the 2nd year of the CSinSF App Inventor curriculum (CS 2).  This curriculum is intended for students who have already taken CS 1 (MyCS). Students learn to design and develop real, downloadable apps for Android devices using a tool created by Google and MIT.  Projects include a designing and programming a soundboard, drawing app, quiz, slideshow, and various games. In their final projects, students apply design thinking to collaboratively develop an app that will be used for positive social impact, addressing a community need or challenge.

Over the summer, we implemented significant changes to the curriculum, which are detailed here.

CS 3: CS Discoveries

Our prep for 2017-18 started in late July in Phoenix at the Code.org Teachercon.  During this event, we learned strategies for teaching Code.org’s CS Discoveries curriculum, we which adapted to be used as our 8th grade course, CS 3.



CS 3: CS Discoveries is designed for students who have already taken courses 1 (MyCS) and 2 (AppInventor) and was adapted from a new curriculum created by Code.org.  Students build upon their foundation in CS by learning text-based programming (JavaScript), about the relationship between hardware and software (by building interactive projects with Circuit Playgrounds), and engage in a User-Centered Design Project.



Teacher Training


#CSinSf Summer Trainings

After Phoenix Teachercon, we hurried back to San Francisco to prepare a similar training for our own teachers (followed closely by another training for all CSinSF teachers!).  During the week of July 31- August 4, we trained 15 teachers on the Code.org CS Discoveries curriculum.


SFUSD/SFSU Summer Institute

During the week of August 7-11, all CSinSF teachers were invited to participate in a Summer Institute held on the SFSU campus.  Each day featured joint sessions with lectures from SFSU professors, unplugged activities and a design challenge.  Teachers also chose to participate in sessions on Elementary curriculum, Scratch, App Inventor, and CS concepts.


















Professional Learning Community (PLCs)


Every month, CSinSF Middle School teachers meet to build community, share best practices for teaching computer science, learn more about computer science concepts, engage in CS-related challenges, and model lessons and activities with each other.

PLC #1 (September)

Highlights from agenda:

  • Creative Commons Vocabulary and Kahoot!
  • Reflections on initial successes and challenges
  • Flipgrid
  • Recap Blog post


PLC #2 (October)

Highlights from agenda:

  • Student Work Review
  • Input and Output Unplugged Activity
  • Student Portfolios with Google Slides


PLC #3 (November)

Highlights from agenda:

  • Creating Template Classes in Google Classrooms
  • Using Lists to create Quizes in Scratch, App Inventor and CS Discoveries


PLC #4 (December)

Highlights from agenda:

  • Bitmoji
  • BBC Microbits
  • Design Project Overviews

Design Project Training

Embedded in the CS 2 and CS 3 curriculums is a Design Project, which uses design thinking principles to guide students to create an app (for android or web-based).
Last year we developed a guidebook and curriculum for this project, and provided related PD.  This training was a synthesis of a Design Project workshop offered by SFUSD in January 2017 and the D School’s Discover Design Thinking workshop


Classroom Support

Part of my role as CS Content Specialist is to support the implementation of CS courses in schools and classrooms.  During Fall 2017, I focused my time at:

Visitacion Valley Middle School


James Denman Middle School



Martin Luther King Middle School



Design Projects:

Design Thinking is the Practices and Process for Creative Problem Solving. In this unit, students are introduced to the following practices: Discovering insights, Ideating solutions, Prototyping designs, and Sharing to get feedback.  In both CS 2 and CS 3, students use Design Practices to develop web or app based solutions.


Click on the examples to learn more about the Design Projects at each level.

CS 2: 


CS 3: 



Other Highlights

Salesforce Dreamforce

Many SFUSD CS classes were able to attend the Salesforce Dreamforce conference at Moscone Center this Fall.  Students navigated Spheros through mazes, were introduced to Python code, engaged in a scavenger hunt, and got to enjoy being SF Natives by hanging out in Yerba Buena Gardens.


Fall Cue-Steampunk Playground

The Fall meeting of CUE was held at American Canyon High School, near Napa, CA.  I presented SFUSD’s Design Project curriculum.  The highlight for me was meeting several incredible educators: Jesus Huerta and Ascension Reyes, from a middle school in El Centro, CA. Both are experts at using Physical Computing and Design Thinking in their work.


CS Ed Week

SFUSD went big for CS Ed Week.  We organized a joint-event with CUE SF for teachers to tryout out Hour of Code activities, compiled incredible lists of resources for each level K-12, and ran teacher and student contests.

Check out the CSinSF CS Ed Week website.



Code.org Champions of Computer Science

At Code.org’s Hour of Code Kick-off event at College of San Mateo, the #CSinSF team received an award for being the District-level Champions of Computer Science!  The event featured 3 amazing Female leaders in Technology (Sheryl Sandberg, Susan Wojcicki, and Peggy Johnston), as well as California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.



Game Based Learning Course

Several members of the CSinSF team partnered with Lindsey Blass of the SFUSD Digital Learning team to develop a Game-Based Learning course, which was offered at Foothill College to participants of the MERIT Fellowship program

2 Goals for Spring 2018

  1. I intend to carve out significant amount of time to play devices with and develop more creative projects involving Physical Computing.  I am especially inspired by the work of Ascension Reyes, Amanda Haughs, Hal Speed.

2. I intend to be more familiar with High School CS curriculums, so that I have a better understanding of the sequence of connect between Middle School and High School.

In particular, I’d like to spend time with Mobile CSP, CS Principles and Bootstrap.



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