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Vinny Chiaramonte Recognized by CS For All Teachers
Posted On:
Wednesday, September 06, 2017
Vinny Chiaramonte
Vinny Chiaramonte

5-Sept-2017 (RFBMS)- Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and managed by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), CS for All Teachers is a virtual community of practice, welcoming all teachers from PreK through high school who are interested in teaching computer science. Learn more about CS for All Teachers. 

CS For All Teachers recently recognized our very own Computer Science teacher, Mr. Vinny Chiaramonte, in their September profile.  Congratulations, Mr. Chiaramonte!

[Excerpt]:

What is your background in computer science?

No background - just raw drive and willingness to learn. I was a social science teacher who took a job teaching CS. I dug right in and started learning as I was teaching. I am never afraid to say to students, “I don’t know, let’s figure it out together.” There are a vast number of resources available to learn from. I went through the Accelerated Intro to CSCourse on code.org. I attend as many workshops and training opportunities as possible to further my knowledge and sharpen my craft of teaching. After my first year of teaching CS, I took Dr. Jeff Gray’s MOOC CSP4HS 2015 over the summer, and it really opened my understanding to the impact of CS in our world and the potential for student impact. After year two, I had the opportunity to go to CSPdWeek with Exploring Computer Science (ECS) and further my understanding of CS and pedagogy with CS concepts. This summer included the completion of year two with ECS and another week of training at CSPDWeek. I also received more training with code.org at TeacherCon for CSD and facilitator training. A+ College Ready has partnered with code.org to bring CSD to middle schools across the state of Alabama. I am thankful for the opportunity to lead and support other CSD teachers across the state as we implement CS in the middle grades.

Describe the most favorite CS project you have completed with your students.

We use MinecraftEdu and the ComputerCraft models to learn loops, conditionals, sequencing, iteration, comparative operators, and other programming principles. They have to program their turtles (like robots) to escape an obstacle course with a series of 18 puzzles, construct a bridge, and demonstrate the Fibonacci Sequence in a program. It’s pretty cool, and as a result, the dialogue about CS throughout the process is very rich.

As teachers, we try every day to inspire our students. When have you been inspired by your students?

When have I not been inspired by them?! They honestly inspire me almost every day with great questions and innovative ideas that challenge me to be better and never stop learning. The letters, the notes they write, and emails I receive from former students are probably what inspire me more than all the aha moments that happen in the classroom. I keep them in several growing scrapbooks to look back on as reminders for why I teach. They’re fuel for my teaching passion! It is difficult to choose the time I was most inspired by my students, so here is the most recent: It is the last day of school, and the students have already gone home. In walks Michael, a student from the first CS class I ever taught three years earlier. We talked and did some reminiscing. He shared opportunities he has had and future plans. I am reminded of just how bright he is, what we learned about CS together, and what I learned from him about computer hardware. He is a junior now, and to keep the story short, he is standing in the middle of my classroom looking around kind of taking in the room with this look of deep thought on his face. Then he says, “Yeah, this class is the whole reason why I am so interested in CS and engineering. It all started here. I don’t think I would have wondered as much about how things work or what’s behind the screen without being in this class.” My heart was full. That was my first year in CS; I barely knew what I was doing, but it worked! He got it. Michael started to look at the world around him with “how” eyes and decided to find out. Fuel for my teaching soul right there!

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