Online for the 2023-2024 School Year
Teacher: Mrs. R. Lang
Course Description (Adapted from Code.org): The curriculum from Code.org is designed to prepare students for the AP CS Principles Exam and serve as a foundation for future studies in computer science. It is divided into 9 units: Digital Information; The Internet; Intro. to App Design; Variables, Conditionals, and Functions; Lists, Loops and Traversals; Algorithms; Parameters, Return, and Libraries; Create PT Prep; Data; and Cybersecurity and Global Impacts.
In this course, you will
- Build problem solving skills through the use of computational widgets such as the pixelation and text compression widgets
- Experience a blend of online, guided tutorials and open-ended, project-based learning
- Learn from a diverse cast of role models, from well-known tech celebrities to social innovators who are using CS to tackle society's problems
- Engage in constructing your own understanding of computer science concepts through inquiry-based instructional strategies
- Prepare for the AP® CS Principles exam, including built-in preparation for the Create Performance Task (a portfolio submission) and the new "Single-Select Questions with Reading Passage" that have replaced the old Explore PT.
You will be interacting with your classmates, teachers assistants (TAs) and teacher, me--Ms. Rebekah, primarily through Schoology.com, Discord, and email. On Schoology, you will participate in discussions, submit projects, post resources, upload homework, and complete assessments organized into weekly work folders. We will also have some partner coding and group projects during the year. I will also record and post weekly orientation videos to help with the weekly work folders. This course will also feature a TA-run Discord Channel and TA hosted office hours where you can build connections with your classmates, get help with homework, brainstorm project ideas, study for tests, and more!
Who Should Apply: Anyone interested in computer science, technological innovations, creative problem solving, logical thinking, and learning! This course introduces high school students to the foundational concepts of computer science and challenges them to explore how computing and technology can impact the world. All hard-working 9 - 12 grade students can succeed in this course, regardless of prior coding experience (or lack thereof!).
Students who have limited computer experience or who might not yet be ready for the challenges of an AP course, should consider Honors Computer Science Discoveries (CSD) instead. CSD is meant for students in grades 6-10 as a precursor to AP CSP or AP CSA. Students who are primarily interested in coding in Java (or majoring in computer science in college) should consider AP CSA instead. Here is a brief summary of the difference between CSA and CSP.
Prerequisites: The College Board recommends that that students have a B or better in Algebra I before taking AP Computer Science Principles. Prospective students should be ready to commit up to 10 hours a week for independent coursework.
- We will use Code.org's AP CS Principles curriculum, which is freely available on their website
- We might be reading chapters from Blown to Bits (available free online)
- An optional test prep book will be announced in the Spring (typically Barron's or The Princeton Review)
- Computer with audio and high-speed internet access
- A Gmail account
Course Dates: I post work each Monday, which is then due the following Monday. There will be weekly TA office hours scheduled in August after I survey enrolled students and TAs to determine the best meeting times. The course will run approximately Monday, September 11th, through approximately Friday, May 16th, 2022 (depending on the date of the AP exam), except for the following breaks:
- November 18 - 26 for Thanksgiving break
- December 16 - January 1 for winter break
- March 30- April 7th for spring break
If you need additional time off or flexibility with deadlines, you can always email for adjustments.
Grading Approach: My goal is to help all students to learn the coursework well enough to earn an A! I loosely follow a standards-based grading approach, where students are graded based on what they know and what they can do rather than on their timeliness or compliance. Tests are meant to assess as well as prepare students for the AP exam. There are also project grades which comprise a large percentage of the overall course grade. I accept test corrections and late work, and make all the accommodations I can to help all students to succeed. Also, students who score a 5 on the AP Exam will have their grade updated to an A+ for the course.
Course Fee: Regular Tuition Fee $800. Audit: $400. I am committed to helping all high school students learn computer science, so please contact me if you need help paying for the course.
Please Apply for the Course HERE before submitting payment. I check the applications weekly in the Spring and summer, and I will send you a follow up message with the status of your application before you pay for the course.
Ms. Rebekah's Qualifications: This will be my seventh year teaching this course for PA Homeschoolers! Our class average on the 2022 AP CSP exam was 4.16/5. Better yet, all of my students who have taken the exam so far have earned a 3 or higher (passed!). (The global average for the exam this year was 2.91.0/5, with a 63.5% pass rate).
I am a lifelong teacher and learner who has taught in public, charter, private and online for AP Homeschoolers, for middle and high school students, for the past 14 years. (I additionally teach AP CSA, Intro. to Java, Advanced Java, and Web Design in person for a local private school). Additionally, I was homeschooled, so I understand how diverse, independent, intelligent and engaged homeschooled students are. I'm excited to be able to offer this course to work alongside students studying computer science!
In addition to earning my BA in English and Secondary Education from Grove City College, I also have a MS in curriculum and instruction from Western Governors University, a certificate from Penn State University Lehigh Valley for teaching English Language Learners, various state teaching certifications for NJ and PA, and educator certifications from various tech companies. To learn more about computer science, I have attended CSpd week once, the annual CSTA conference four times, and a Code.org week long AP CSP Summer Learning Institute. I have also participated in Cooperative Learning Research for Computer Science Principles. I have read for the AP CSP exam as a distributed reader for the past 6 summers as well. The training and scoring of thousands of exams has really given me great insights on how to best prepare our class for the performance task portion of the exam. I am also a CS for All Teachers Ambassador and CS Awesome RPP PD Facilitator.