Student Progress

Q: What’s a Coder Tree®?

A: The Coder Tree® is our visual representation of a student’s learning progress.  The roots of our tree represents foundational coding concepts like loops, variables, and other concepts that make up the base of all coding.  Our trunk represents putting these concepts together with more advanced algorithms and typed languages like Javascript or Python. Finally, our branches and leaves represent advanced concepts like Artificial Intelligence, or 3-D Gaming or other advanced concepts.  Like any tree, our students’ progress follows the laws of physics – more branches and leaves need a larger trunk, and a larger trunk needs bigger roots.  Wanna learn objected oriented programming?  Grow more roots and trunk first, and your understanding of OO will be that much stronger.

Q: How does my child progress in their coding?

A: Students continue to make progress by building projects with increased complexity, using various technologies and platforms like Python or Javascript or many others.  As their application complexities increase, coding concepts learned advance along with them.  Don’t forget, repetition of concepts in different situations is important as well, practice and constant use is how students progress!  At theCoderSchool, we don’t force a one-size-fits-all progress box, but instead grow each child in a customized way, advancing in different areas at different times.

Q: How do I see and get feedback on my child’s progress?

A: Our Notes+ system is a way to visually see your child’s progress, including concepts learned and applications built.  You’ll receive a brief note after each weekly session with a summary and a link to more info.  Every 3-4 months, we encourage all students to submit their application to our gallery.  The submittal includes an assessment of their skillset at that point in time.  These give you a formal way to track progress on concepts, languages, projects, etc., that your child is learning. You can also drop by a bit early or stay a bit longer to get progress feedback from the Code Coach® or just to have your child demo for you. Lastly, we have Coder Fairs every few months where certain kids are able to present their applications.

Q: Is there homework?

A: We generally give your child recommended homework to do between sessions, but it’s optional. It is not required as we understand that some kids are busy with many after school activities–so even though it’s encouraged, it is not required.

Q: What can my child do outside of their session?

A: “Most of our teaching platforms are cloud-based so they can generally continue making progress at home as long as they have their credentials.

Other tips:

  1. Come prepared for each lesson by thinking about their project and what they want to accomplish during their session.
  2. For the younger students still mastering typing, it’s a good idea to work on this at home.
  3. Spend time thinking about their next project that they’d like to work on. If you have time to write it down, that is even more helpful.
  4. Work on the images and sprites that your project may need.
  5. Use some recommended online coding sites which offer up quick and fun challenges to keep sharp.

Q: Is there a general progression of languages?

A: We use a custom curriculum so it’s very dynamic. However, the most common progression of languages that we see is: Drag n’ Drop (Scratch or Snap)->Python or Javascript->Java or C++

Q: Can I continue to work with my Code Coach® outside of class?

A: Sorry, we’re not able to cover direct Code Coach® support outside of your normal hours. If you have a quick question, such as forgotten credentials, we will facilitate your question.

Q: How long should my child continue learning in Scratch?

A: It’s a common misconception that “learning Scratch” means understanding all its commands.  Coding however, is rooted in the logic and structure of these commands – not just understanding their function.  Because of that, extremely complex algorithms can (and will) be taught with Scratch, because it removes the distraction of syntax and complexities of other languages.  Think of it this way, just because you’ve memorized a Spanish dictionary doesn’t mean you can live in Mexico – there’s plenty more grammar, conversation, culture to learn!  Having said that, Scratch is only one of our many tools.  Most elementary school kids will begin in Scratch, while quite often kids who are able to type will start learning other technologies like Python or Javascript, but potentially continue to use Scratch at times as a tool for specific challenges.

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