Python comes to SAS

SAS (Secondary Academy for Success) serves grades 9–12, embracing students whose learning styles require different instructional approaches who need or want an alternative setting to the large comprehensive high school.

SAS students expect and embrace a culture where their number one job is getting down to the business of education.

Ucodemy was invited to provide coaching for a 110 minute block class on EarSketch. Every Friday SAS has a series of electives that students can sign up for. For my first session, we had a small class with six kids in the class; which was perfect for a lot of one on one time with the students.

EarSketch is an online digital mixing workstation controlled by Python code. It teaches computer science through music composition and remixing! No prior knowledge of either computer science or music is needed.

I worked closely with the teacher guiding the students through several programming concepts offered as part of the EarSketch curriculum such as: function calls, strings and more. It was great to find that the teacher was also well prepared, having gone through most of the course’s online digital learning videos, lesson plans and examples. Most of my time was spent engaging with students and providing ideas and direction.

The students had a great time mixing and creating all sorts of sounds unique to each student’s personality. Our demo section at the end where each student shared their own mix even had me dancing along!

Probably the most exciting part of the class was to see the students still engaged after almost two hours. The teacher indicated that it was great to see them all still interacting with the coding content all the way up to the end of the class!

There were a couple of key takeaways. First, the videos and content in our curriculum helped the instructor to be confident with the material. Second, it is important to structure the content in a block class be flexible to students’ interests. At SAS, they were very involved in sequencing and less interested in making beats, so we skipped some of the content and jumped to show them how to sequence with “for loops“. Like another teacher told me: “Just be flexible and it’ll go great!”

I can’t wait to go back to SAS and work with more students on our next programming project together!

 

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