Each month this year, we will be highlighting one member of the CS for All Teachers community.
Name: Ashley Waring
Occupation: STEM teacher and CS for All Teachers community ambassador
Workplace: Rocky Ridge Elementary School
Years in education: 9
Years teaching computer science: 5-6
What interests you about computer science?
Computer science is all about problem solving and thinking critically. It is applicable to any area of life and any area of education. Anyone can learn it and the possibilities that open up through exposure and experience in CS are endless.
How did you start teaching computer science? Do you have a background in CS?
I started teaching CS after attending a Code.org Computer Science Fundamentals training with Dr. Jeff Gray. Prior to completing this course, I did not have a background in CS.
How have your computer science students inspired you? What is your favorite CS project you have completed with your students?
My favorite student project was creating pianos using Makey Makey kits, Scratch, their Chromebooks, and copper tape. Having the opportunity to see students excel in CS when they struggle in other areas of their educational career drives my passion for spreading CS to all.
How do you recruit students into your CS classes?
This year presented a new opportunity for me to expose all students at my school to CS Fundamentals. As the STEM/STEAM teacher, all K-5 students come to my class weekly. I have this incredible and unique opportunity to inspire every kid in my building to at the very least take a stab at CS, if not go full-fledged.
CS EDUCATION COMMUNITY
What excites you most about the current state of CS education in the US?
The momentum for CS is building and people are slowly realizing the importance of teaching our students these skills. CS gives a platform for connectivity and can help make our country a more equitable place.
What do you enjoy most about participating in CS for All Teachers?
I really enjoy being able to welcome new members to our virtual community and helping them navigate the site. It is an incredible platform to connect with educators who share my passion for teaching CS. This group of educators understand the importance of CS and how it will impact the future.
Besides the CS for All Teachers community of practice, what is your favorite CS tool or resource?
This depends on the standards being taught but I love using a good deck of cards to teach fundamentals or perusing the coding options on Kodable. Scratch and Makey Makey kits are among my favorites, too. I can keep going…..
What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to potential CS educators?
To fail just means it was your first attempt at learning. Strive to be a lifelong learner alongside your students. You are capable of more than you know, and there is nothing wrong with asking TONS of questions and learning with (and from) your students.
TELL US MORE!
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
Aside from becoming an inaugural CS for All Teachers ambassador? That would have to be my selection to serve on Alabama’s Digital Literacy Computer Science Course of Study Committee and Task Force to make history by constructing standards for CS in Alabama.
Write a poem or haiku describing what teaching CS is like.
Explore, reevaluate, model, and test.
Make it better than all the rest.
Just put in the time and follow that line.
Work your brain and solve problems the best.
What do you do to recharge after a long day (or week, month, year, etc.) of teaching?
I am always planning some sort of travel adventure to decompress and recharge! I firmly believe that travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer. I also love to get outside and hike with my pup or find a cool, new local restaurant to try out.