Katherine Shaffer

 ✹Communication Techniques/CSI✹
Ballenger Creek Middle School ✹ 7th Grade ✹ Mrs. Shaffer

Overview
Welcome to Communication Techniques/ Computer Science Investigation! 21st century communication skills are explored throughout the course. Exploration includes podcasting, digital photography, video game creation, computer animation, and electronic portfolios. This is a course that empowers students to create authentic artifacts and engage with computer science as a medium for creativity, communication, and problem solving. Students have the opportunity to interact with the latest tools and computer applications used to transmit ideas and support academic concepts.

In this course, many of the skills focus on computational thinking, a problem-solving process that includes approaches such as:

  • Logically organizing and analyzing data
  • Breaking large problems into smaller subproblems which can be solved independently, leading to a solution to the larger, more-complicated problem
  • Automating solutions through a series of ordered steps
  • Formulating problems in a way that enables us to use a computer or other tools to help solve them
  • Learning this way of thinking and approach to problem-solving is important for learners not only to help them with coding, but, more importantly, for future college and career success.

Learning these skills can help students develop:

  • Confidence in dealing with complexity and ambiguity
  • Persistence in working with difficult problems
  • The ability to deal with open-ended problems
  • The ability to communicate and work with others to achieve a common goal or solution

Units of Study
This course is broken into the following units:

  • Introduction: Grit
  • Problem Solving: Computers and Logic
  • The Internet and Web Development
  • Tech Fair Units: Game Design/ PSA
  • Programming: Interactive Games & Animations
  • The Design Process
  • Data and Society
  • Physical Computing

Grading
This course will follow the Ballenger Creek Middle School elective grading scale. Assignments will be placed in one of three weighted categories:

  • 60%- Assessments and Major Projects
  • 35%-Classwork
  • 5%- Homework

Assignments and Homework
Assignments in Comm Tech will often be projects that span several weeks. Some projects will be completed independently, while others will require students to work in collaborative teams. Most of the assignments in this course will be digital. Students are required to join Google Classroom. To join the Google Classroom for the course, students should use the following codes:

  • Period 3: 4kgdqq3
  • Period 4: ro5mitn

There will be several technology-related homework assignments throughout the term. To sign up for the Comm Tech Remind homework notification, text the message @bccommtech to the number 81010.

Late Work and Absences
Assignments are expected be completed and submitted on time. Assignments turned in after their due date may lose credit each day they are late. Most assignments will be assigned through Google Classroom and may be accessed at home. Per FCPS policy, students who are absent from class must request makeup work within two days of their return. The amount of time for a student to complete the work will equal the number of days he or she was absent. It is the student’s responsibility to ask the teacher about work upon returning to school. Students are welcome to contact me by phone or email to ask about assignments.

Class Expectations
Comm Tech will offer students a chance to collaborate, explore, and create. Students are expected to participate and engage in multiple projects. The classroom should be a place full of respect and reasonable risk-taking. It is expected that students will always conduct themselves in an academic, respectful manner when using technology in the classroom. Students should not be on apps or websites that have not been approved, should only use technology for academic purposes, and must always use the school’s wireless connection. Students should not be texting or using social media at school. The following class rules will be in place:

  • Follow all school rules.
  • Follow directions.
  • Bring all materials to class.
  • Use appropriate, respectful language.

Our class will follow the school-wide PBIS program, which is a proactive approach to establishing the behavioral supports and social culture and needed for all students in a school to achieve social, emotional, and academic success. Students who do not choose to follow class/school expectations will have the following consequences:

1. Verbal Warning
2. Reflection/Conference with student
3. Parent Contact
4. Administrative Lunch Reflection
5. Referral (Note: Automatic referral for major offenses)

Contacting Mrs. Shaffer
I welcome all students and families to contact me with questions, concerns, and ideas. The best way to reach me is by email at katherine.shaffer@fcps.org. I can be reached by telephone at 240-236-5746; please note that I will not be at my desk for the majority of the day.