This year I started teaching at a second private school, St. Perpetua School here in Lafayette, California. I’m teaching programming to the entire junior high (grades six through eight) of about 70 kids.

First Trimester Course

Our first trimester course is Animated Graphics Programming with JavaScript and p5.js. JavaScript is a popular programming language, and p5.js is an amazing tool for combining programming with 2D and 3D graphics and animation, and sound. I like using graphics with students because many find the beautiful results motivating. They want to learn more programming so they can do more with their graphics.

Some Things We’ve Learned

We’ve recently learned about the Cartesian coordinate system, and how we use x, y coordinate pairs to place graphics on our canvas. We have made points, lines, ellipses, and rectangles appear in various ways, and in many different colors. We’ve learned how our retinas are sensitive to red, green and blue light, and that’s why our TV and computer screens are made up of very small red, green and blue lights. I passed around a strong magnifying glass and had the students look at something white on their screen, and they saw that it really isn’t white. Perception!

Problem Solutions Videos

To help provide continuity, since I only see each student for one brief class period per week, I create videos explaining problem solutions. I encourage students and their parents to spend some time between classes watching, reading and coding. Time invested pays off!