Each month this year, we will be highlighting one member of the CS for All Teachers community.
Name: Nicole Reitz-Larsen
Occupation: Secondary Computer Science Teacher
Workplace: West High School
Years in education: 16+ years
Years teaching computer science: 5
What is your background in computer science?
I learned computer science through workshops and have been lucky to have worked with some amazing folks from the Exploring Computer Science (ECS) Team, Code.org, Beauty and Joy of Computing, Scratch, Bootstrap, and many more.
Describe the most favorite CS project you have completed with your students.
My students worked on a public service announcement in Scratch a few months ago that was awesome. You could see their passions and computer science come together.
As teachers, we try every day to inspire our students. When have you been inspired by your students?
I am amazed to see students have those “ah ha” moments when they understand how to use problem-solving to change or fix something in their life. To see them apply what we are doing in class with other situations gives me a sense of fulfillment.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
My proudest professional accomplishment was being able to take one of my ECS students, who is an English language learner, to present in front of the board of education to talk about his experience in my computer science class. I was so proud of his courage to stand in front of people who don’t look or talk like him and seemed pretty intimidating and share his story.
What excites you most about the current state of computer science education in the US?
I love seeing students become computational thinkers and being able to use their creativity and passion to make the world a better place.
What is your favorite CS tool or resource?
I really enjoy helping students learn how to collect, analyze, and tell stories with data.
What do you do to recharge when times are rough?
I spend time with my own children rollerblading outside, going to the park, or playing games.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading “Computational Thinking and Coding for Every Student” by Kiki Prottsman.
What do you enjoy most about participating in CS for All Teachers?
I love networking with teachers from all over the nation on CS for All Teachers. I get a lot of creative ideas to use in class and I feel like we are a close community, although we are spread across the states.