As you’ll recall in my previous entry, “Angela Render to Teach At Risk Middle School Girls in Montgomery County,” I embarked this past fall on a new teaching experience. Through Passion for Learning’s GRRL Tech, Girls Really, Really Love Technology, I took on a classroom full of 6th and 7th grade girls with the intent of teaching them web programming.
You’ll be happy to know they didn’t tear me to pieces.
We started out with ten girls and now have twenty-four enrolled in the program. They are a great bunch. Because programming of any sort can be dull and overwhelming under any circumstances and some of them had been enrolled in the program before and were familiar with HTML, I decided to try a different method with them. CSS. Specifically, we started out with a blog on Google’s Blogger platform. I got each girl set up with her own account and then forced them to pick the same template. We then spent the rest of 2008 learning how to change that template so each girl would have her own, personalized place to post on whatever topic she felt like.
Since none of them had seen it before and we kept adding in new girls each week, it was a bit rocky, but every one of them ended up with a functioning blog in her own colors.
Passion for Learning decided to continue me through the end of the school year. Since I hadn’t planned on being there past December, I had to come up with a new class plan over winter break. 2009 started out with a review and then each class began with 15 minutes to post to their blogs. Then we spent the rest of the class learning how to do photo editing. Fireworks has been an interesting program to teach, especially since I don’t own a copy of it. Nonetheless, Each girl has managed to select two images ( a subject and a background) and successfully merge them together. I think this has been their favorite part of the course so far.
We’re back to CSS programming for a bit and then we’ll create custom background images and install them in the blogs to finish up.