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Great Resource for AP Computer Science Teachers

Debbie Carter who teaches AP Computer Science at Lancaster Country Day School in Lancaster, PA has put together an excellent resource book for AP Computer Science Teachers. You can get the book at AP Central. I've worked with Debbie as a member of the now defunct Microsoft Faculty Advisory Board and presently as a Board Member for the Computer Science Teachers Association.

The book contains information that will help both a beginner teacher and veteran teachers as well. It has five chapters and the first chapter reviews the history of AP Computer Science along with a course description and review of key concepts and skills that must be covered during the school year with our students.

One thing that I liked from the start is that Debbie went out to the AP Computer Science community of teachers and asked them for input on different topics covered in the book. I recognized familiar names that I've met in the past at workshops in the book.

Chapter 2 was advice for AP Computer Science Teachers. What is hard for many of us teaching the course is that we are the only teacher in our school teaching the course and it does get lonely when we run into a problem and may need some help. The advice given was very good and I've been pretty good at figuring out what I need to teach in the curriculum but what has been tough in the 11 years that I've taught the course are the many changes that have been made to the curriculum. I started teaching PASCAL to my students and then C++ and now JAVA. I've adapted to these changes and my students have benefited by their successes at learning the material and passing the AP exam with a good score.

Chapter 3 is about course organization. Several sample syllabi are listed for teachers to use in their course. The only problem is that the case study that we need to teach our students has changed and the syllabi don't reflect that change but any teacher can include that into the syllabus.

Chapter 4 discusses the exam and the format. A teacher really needs to know how students are graded on this exam because it may be different from how they grade their own exams. Exam preparation is the key to student successes and there are many exam review books teachers can use with their students to prepare.

The last chapter has many resources for teachers to use. There are many things teachers can do to help teach the class and one I would strongly recommend is professional development.
There are two appendices at the back of the book that reviews the new case study and have supplemental documents.

If you are a new teacher, I would suggest getting help early in your teaching so you don't get too frustrated. There are many of us to help!
Good luck!

Brian Scarbeau
CSTA Board of Directors

Comments

Your blog is always fascinating to read.

That was very useful review for teachers. Sometimes, when looking for good books i buy several before i find what really meets my demands.

Hi I have been teaching computers to grades pk - 8 for about 7 years, I started out in a Catholic School and had to build their curriculum from scratch! Wasnt easy but I did it! Now I teach in a publich school 5 -8th grade an I am having to do the same, trying to find out what exactly needs to be taught and arranging it in a matter that these students only come to your lab once a week.

Along with not having all the materials, programs ect. There is so much to be taught I would really like to get this book, can you please email how to?

I teach in the state of NJ, and I have a BACHELORS in visual communications ( graphic design) I mostly base my classroom around, art, history, science, math, language arts, internet, Microsoft office programs, adobe programs, ect. I try to test the students as well on the Microsoft office programs. I do tons of projects and really teach them alot!!! I need to know what I NEED TO DO, to continue my education, in the state of new J you have to pass the prax elementry exam, which I took, but I wish they had a certificate to test computer science, since that is the field I am in. I thought of going to get my Master Instructional technology, but this may take a while to obtain. I am a parent with three little children. I need direction nobody knows what has to be done to teach computer science grades pk - 8! Any suggetions to get some certs on the way to benefit myself and these kids! Thanks Kelly Ford

Does anyone know where I may find Debbie Carter's AP CS book?

Thank you in advanced.

--Elizabeth

I'm a tech dir in denver, looking for books, online courses or systematic tutorials (cheap or free) and/or resources (including a teacher in the Denver area if you know one) to help guide a small group of students toward the AP Java exam on a self-study basis.

Any ideas?

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