Hi. My name is Corey Saines and am I piloting AP computer science A at Middle Park High School in Granby, CO. I have 16 juniors and seniors signed up who I’ve had in Algebra 2 and most of these kids will see me twice a day between Computer Science and Calculus, so it’ll be a comfortable, known group of good kids to start me on this AP computer science path!
I learned Java last school year by hustling through the codeHS mocha course during most of my plan hours so well, that it seemed like a no-brainer to utilize it in my classroom. I plan on having them work independently on codeHS while I bust in on occasion to teach lessons from codeHS professional development and an AP seminar I just took in Denver. Examples of lessons will be deeper breakdowns of classes (uses and structure) and debugging.
Here’s “Pro Tip” that may help. In the introduction to D&S Marketing prep book for Computer Science (I’ve used these books for years to prep students for the AP Calculus exam and credit them with how strong and successful my program has become), they suggested using variable tracking. So I started practicing their multiple choice sample questions (often with very nasty nested loops) by making a table to track the variables. Each variable in play is a column, and each row of the table contains the values from my next walk through the loop. This helped me understand the questions much better. This method is slow, but I found I could often bail from the table once I saw the pattern.
Hope that helps anyone!
Good luck, fellow teachers!