Unit 5 Portfolio - Putting it all together

I was very nervous at the beginning of this course. I did not know what to expect; I thought I’d run into many difficulties as a literacy student who always struggled in computer science and math. At first, my fear overpowered the signs that this class would be meaningful in many ways, as well as the recognition that “not getting something” right away is very much okay. I haven’t always felt like this throughout my education, but Dr. Ardito made the content relevant, meaningful and achievable. In addition, technology exploration is essential in our field, as it is growing and becoming more and more advanced each year. My twine project combined character analysis with story creation and perspective taking, which is an important area of development in my content area.

I’ve always understood that writing is a process, but after this class, I’ve thought about methods I can use in my classroom to inspire those who love math, computers and logic more than language arts. Throughout the course, we’ve also written blogs (literacy & programming, Seymour Papertthat hone in on the significance of creation and process-based learning. This is also observable in my robotics learning log.  MBOT

Without being an expert in every subject, there are countless ways to reach students who are skilled in different content areas. For example, in my middle school placement this year, I had a student who struggled with writing. This isn’t because he wasn’t capable, he just had no interest whatsoever and fell behind in foundational lessons/homework assignments. After getting to know the student and finding out that he likes helping out in his family’s auto body shop and has a passion for cars, I decided to take a creative turn in our individual workshop session.

I asked the student to draw a car, and explain the significance of each part/what its functions were. Then, according to each of his descriptions, I matched a car part with an essay section—focusing on the similarities of their functions. It wasn’t anything profound to transform writing skills, but the intention was to spark his interest. From what I can remember, this is what we came up with:

Steering wheel = first step is to create an outline for your sense of direction

Horn= Give your topic a voice! Why am I beeping? Why have I chosen to write about this??

Ignition= Introduction paragraph. Hook your audience like that “ding ding ding” you hear when the keys are in the ignition! This can be a creative sound, quote, thought, etc. Then, begin the “long drive” or writing process *sigh*

Headlights = thesis. similar to how lights inform a driver of where they’re  going, a writer is telling their audience what the essay is going to be about.

Transmission= Automatic control, aka your main idea paragraphs. Why and how is it used to control the movement or flow of a car (essay). What are in each of the gears?

Gas = Evidence that fuels your topic

Gear lever = transition words and sentences. Switching gears is similar to switching main idea paragraphs!

Brake= remember to take breaks :-)

Emergency brake= much needed second break!! 

Spare tire = Your sources! Run out of ideas? Refer back to these!

Door= conclusion ((Exit the vehicle gracefully and in style))

Rearview mirror-Check work before submission.

I do not think I would have approached the workshop session this way if I hadn’t been reminded of the importance of process-based learning in this course, as well as correlating logic and function with ELA concepts. In order to be creative, this student required structure. Ultimately, in my own odd way, I made that happen for him and supported him to become more interested in the material. 

I am very appreciative of Dr. Ardito's understanding for specific learning needs and patience/support while helping me with weaknesses. I have learned so much from the course :) 


    • Gerald Ardito
      Gerald Ardito


      I LOVE the story about the study and the car. More that that, I love what it says about you as a teacher.

      I deeply appreciate all of your hard work and willingness to learn.

    Computer Science for Teachers Spring 2019

    Computer Science for Teachers Spring 2019

    Here is the online home for CS for Teachers at Pace University for Spring 2019.

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