Meet The Teacher: Christina Cucci

How you became a teacher in Computer Science?

I am not a Computer Science teacher, I am actually a School Librarian and I am responsible for teaching both library skills and technology skills.  I am a former special education teacher, classroom teacher, enrichment teacher and basic skills teacher. I have been a School Librarian for 12 years and my home is here in the library. I’ve always loved books and reading aloud to children. Since the pandemic, all of my students were given a Chromebook and it’s exciting to see how technology impacts their learning.

How do you utilize CodeMonkey courses and platforms, and why do you think it is a good educational tool for your students?

We celebrate Computer Science Education Week in December and I use this time to launch the Hour of Code. We spend a few weeks exploring the foundational skills in Code Monkey.  We use a join code to get all the students set up (we use Clever). I assign courses to the classes. The kindergartners use Code Monkey Jr. and the First Grade classes use Beaver Achiever.

I think CodeMonkey is a great educational tool because it’s geared toward younger learners, who are new to coding. The platform is easy to navigate and is engaging to new coding students. My students love the characters and music in the game. They are motivated to try more difficult challenges because the lessons are scaffolded. I subscribe to the newsletters and can keep up with the new updates and content being delivered all year.

Do you have an interesting story to tell us?

An interesting story is that my students love to continue their coding work outside of school. They ask if they can use Code Monkey at home, which they can do easily with our Clever single sign on. Our public library also has coding after school programs, which many students register for.

Complete the sentence: It’s important to me that my students… 

It’s important to me that my students love learning and see it as an important part of their future.

What is one piece of advice you have for teachers who are just now introducing educational technology into their classrooms, and are looking to engage their students?

For a new teacher who may feel intimidated by educational technology I would say to try and engage your students by making references that are familiar to them. For example, my students love to play Minecraft and Roblox in their freetime.  When I teach coding I try to show how coding is used in the creation of these games.  This helps students see  the connection between their favorite games and coding.

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