Nicole Wallach

About me

Hi! My name is Nicole and I am a fifth grade teacher at Hamilton School in Mt. Vernon. 

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      • Nicole Wallach
        Nicole Wallach published a blog post Text Based Coding
        When I was experimenting with Trinket and using colors I noticed that the program did not recognize "rainbow" as a color. I was curious to see if each letter would be a different color. I thought it was interesting that the program did not...
        • Nicole Wallach
          Nicole Wallach published a blog post Unit 2 Week 2
          I created various shapes using the Turtle coding this week.    Repeated...
            • Gerald Ardito
              Gerald Ardito

              Nicole,

              I really like what you have done with these projects. My favorite part is how them seem almost musical - variations on similar themes.

              I am curious to know a bit about what it was like for you to learn this block based language and to express yourself (at least a little) with it. Please do share.

            • Nicole Wallach
              Nicole Wallach commented on the blog The Hokey Pokey
              I mainly used the codes that were from the original set because I am not too familiar with writing a code. I thought that what I created for turning around was a good use of a repeated code. I also included having the character say,"That's...
              • Nicole Wallach
                Nicole Wallach published a blog post Unit 2 Setting the Table
                a. What do we mean by Computational Thinking?   While completing the readings I felt that Computational Thinking seemed to have a few different definitions.   “According to Wing (2006), “computational thinking involves...
                  • Gerald Ardito
                    Gerald Ardito

                    Nicole,

                    You did a really good job here responding to the readings. I particularly liked how you connected them -- and the insights you derived from them -- to your teaching practice.

                    I would love to know more about your teaching of fractions at some point.

                  • Nicole Wallach
                    Nicole Wallach published a blog post The Hokey Pokey
                      • Gerald Ardito
                        Gerald Ardito

                        Nicole,

                        This is an interesting code for the Hokey Pokey.

                        Did you consider creating any new snippets of code for moments (like "turn it all about") that were not included in the original set?

                        • Nicole Wallach
                          Nicole Wallach

                          I mainly used the codes that were from the original set because I am not too familiar with writing a code. I thought that what I created for turning around was a good use of a repeated code. I also included having the character say,"That's what it's all about." 

                        • Nicole Wallach
                          Nicole Wallach published a blog post Week 1
                          Video: One thing Papert said was, “The learner can take charge.” I think this is a key idea, especially for upper grades. The students need to learn to take ownership of their learning. “Play often provides the best...
                            • Gerald Ardito
                              Gerald Ardito

                              Nicole,

                              You have done an outstanding job with this post.
                              Where to start?

                              Let's start with the Turtles. I have used Turtle Blocks with students 4th grade through graduate school. So, I know that's possible. I am wondering if your experience of feeling lost or disconnected can be attributed to not having a live teacher to work with and bounce off of. What do you think? According to the picture, you certainly did successfully program some turtles in interesting ways, so I am just wondering.

                              Writing vs Typing. This is an interesting and timely dilemma. I have found that students write more when are handwriting since usually they are faster with pen/pencil than they are with a keyboard. I have been doing research with a former colleague from the middle school in which I taught. It was around a robotics program that she and I designed together, and she had her students keep a handwritten journal throughout the program. I wanted to analyze their writing, which required translating their journals into digital text, which was pretty laborious, as you can imagine. And yet, we both noticed the amount and (sometimes) quality of their writing, which she said was never as good when they typed, primarily owing to their inefficiency in doing so.

                              You are also very thoughtful about how to do this kind of work with your student. Your observation about the computer teaching the child (from Papert) was spot on. We usually have the children "work for" the computer instead of vice versa. As with many things, this is due to time being a limited resource, but I often wonder about the unintended consequences of this kind of thinking. I think Papert and Kay were saying that learning is inherently labor intensive, and we have a false sense of confidence from structures like standardized curricula, but I wonder what happens to problem solving and critical thinking as a result. What do you think?

                               

                              It seems that you did not talk about Alan Kay, and I was wondering what you thought about his work. Perhaps you can revise this post to include that as well.

                            • Nicole Wallach
                              Nicole Wallach published a blog post Unit 1
                              What did you learn about the history of CS from these two authors? I did not know much about PLATO. I found it interesting how they created this program to educate more people because according Brian Dear, “there weren’t enough...
                                • Gerald Ardito
                                  Gerald Ardito

                                  Nicole,

                                  I really enjoyed reading your response to the work of Rankin and Dear.

                                  I especially loved the connections you made between their work and your classroom:

                                  One thing I took away from the readings was how can I create a respectful culture in my classroom between both boys and girls. 

                                  Interestingly, when I was preparing to teach this course last Spring, I had just read the books by both authors. I had been following Brian Dear on Twitter and invited him to participate in a video session for the course. He initially agreed, but then when he saw that I framed his interactions with Rankin as a debate, he begged off. I tried to explain that I was very eager for him to share his work on PLATO, but apparently I had upset him.  Oh well.

                                  It is interesting that we often see the history and practice of technology approached as if it were somehow a neutral, objective thing, rather than a set of practices, interactions, and even conflicts between people, just like every other human enterprise. I love that that part really resonated with you.

                                  I was also interested in seeing your response to Etoys. This matches my own experiences with the software. While I still taught in a middle school, I worked with the 5th grade teachers in my building to introduce their students to both Scratch (which is similar to Turtle Blocks) and Etoys. While they liked both, they strongly favored Etoys exactly because it started with a creative act of drawing on their part. Even though Etoys has a sharper learning curve than Scratch, this artistic component more than compensated for the additional work students had to do to learn the tool.

                                • Nicole Wallach
                                  Nicole Wallach published a blog post First Blog Post!
                                  Hi everyone!   My name is Nicole Wallach and I am a fifth-grade teacher at Hamilton School in Mt. Vernon. I taught third grade my first year and then moved up to fifth and have been teaching fifth for the last three years. I am...
                                    • Gerald Ardito
                                      Gerald Ardito

                                      Nicole,

                                      Thanks so much for introducing yourself. And, congratulations! You are the first TESOL student to ever take this class.

                                      I appreciate the pretty much all of what we are up to this semester in terms of computer sciency things will be new to you. Be sure to stay in communication and reach out to me and the others as you are working to become proficient at the various tools and skills.

                                      Lastly, nice job exploring the formatting options for your post. Nicely done!

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