Hello! I’m Kristi, a teacher for Girls Who Code at Pixar. Each week this summer I’ll be writing about my experience as a teacher for Girls Who Code, so you can see how different it is from the other side. Here’s the inside scoop on week 1.
I’m usually not a “morning person,” but Monday was one of those days where I was happy to wake up early because I was so excited for the first day. The morning was filled with a lot of logistical information for the students, so I started the class with a name game to try to create a friendly environment. Amanda, Rhea, and I then shared our backgrounds and career paths with the class so we would feel less like strangers to our students.
I also had the students create a summer contract to come up with goals and expectations for themselves and the teaching staff, so we could agree on what kind of environment we want in the classroom. Finally, we began our first lesson on . The class broke into groups and each group had to make a program that utilized one part of Scratch. Then, they had to present their program in front of the rest of the class. I loved seeing what they came up with for an open-ended project like this.
I lectured a lot. When I thought the students were ready for a break, I decided they should play , one of my favorite games for this type of setting. The students also completed one of their assignments: to make a flowchart for their neighbor to do a task (e.g. fill a cup up with water, walk across the room and pick up something, etc.). As they did this, I walked around the room and tested some out so they could see where they could improve (and so I could make a fool of myself). For instance, one flowchart told me to walk to the kitchen, so I ran into a table that was directly between me and the kitchen. I also willingly shouted “I’m a Barbie girl!” because another flowchart told me to. I hoped that seeing me having fun doing silly things would make them more willing to step out of their comfort zone.
The students got a much needed change from Tuesday and spent all day working on projects. I went around the room and helped with questions, making sure they understood what they were doing. I took note of common questions to see where I may not have explained the material in the best way. The girls seemed to enjoy applying what they’ve learned.
Like Wednesday, the students worked on projects all day, with only a short interruption for my lecture in the middle. They worked long and hard, so after a while I suggested they take a break like usual. This time they refused to take a break! They just wanted to keep working! It was a teacher’s dream come true!
As the first week was about getting to know each other and being comfortable trying new things, I decided to finish the week by showing the class . We had a discussion about it and I shared my story of how I was like the girls Reshma described. I hope that if any of my students can relate to me and my story, they will be be brave and not worry about being perfect.
The students spent the rest of the day finishing their last project and pulling a prank on me! It was all in good fun and, honestly, I was glad they worked as a team to pull it off. We ended the week with a presentation of the class’ first week projects, which, as you know, is always the highlight of my day. First official week is done, and I feel confident that I am creating the environment that I intend to.
Are you interested in learning to code or being a #TeacherWhoCodes? Learn more .