Posted by CSTA Conference Committee on Apr 08, 2021
CSTA 2021 PreK-5 session recommendations
Here are some suggestions from the Pre-K to 5th Grade Committee. 

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With more than 100 sessions to choose from, we know that planning for the CSTA 2021 Conference might feel a little overwhelming. To help you navigate, the CSTA Conference Committee has provided their recommendations for presentations you can’t miss to help get you started. Here are some suggestions from the Pre-K to 5th Grade Committee.

Children’s Literature as a Bridge for CT Integration

Session presented by Ashley Andrews, Jennifer Albert, Deepti Joshi, Robin Jocius, and Melanie Blanton 
In elementary schools, CS/CT may be taught by a classroom teacher or the school librarian, or in the school’s makerspace. Even when taught by a specialist a cross-curricular approach helps students to connect CT and CS to their core curriculum. In this session, participants will learn an approach to creating cross-curricular lessons using read-alouds in order to “make CT accessible to students and teachers by providing concrete examples and thinking for abstract concepts.”

Opening New Worlds for Young CS Learners 

Session presented by Brianna Wilkinson and Lorri Coates 
The CSTA Standards for Teachers say that “effective CS teachers … work towards an intentional, equity-focused vision to improve access, engagement, and achievement for all of their students in CS.” (Standard 2. Equity and Inclusion) Even in elementary school, where all students may have access to CS classes, it is important to focus on equity in our classrooms to ensure that all of our students are successful in our CS classes. This session will teach “ways to … inspire early interest in CS” and “ways to catch young learners’ attention, build confidence, and spark a lifelong connection to CS.”

PrimaryAI: AI Curriculum in Grades 3-5 

Session presented by Bradford Mott, Anne Leftwich, Cindy Hmelo-Silver, Krista Glazewski, James Lester, Adam Scribner, and Seung Lee 
Artificial Intelligence is everywhere these days and is having a huge impact on society. It is important that elementary students learn about AI even though it is not currently a specific CS standard. Students may be discussing the impacts of AI (1B-IC-18 “Discuss computing technologies that have changed the world, and express how those technologies influence, and are influenced by cultural practices.”) but often do not go beyond that into hands-on activities. This session will share an elementary AI curriculum, developed in a partnership of teachers and researchers, which includes both unplugged and plugged activities for learning about AI concepts.

Increasing Diversity in CS in a Title 1 Elementary School

Mini session presented by Kim Gudinas and Michelle Dunphy 
It is important that students have access to inclusive and engaging CS opportunities prior to middle school since stereotypes are often entrenched by then. This mini-session will provide tangible takeaways for implementing a school-wide engaging elementary CS program, increasing teacher and student confidence with CS, and engaging the broader community. 

No More Silos: CS in Core Curriculum with PBL

Workshop presented by Alexis Cobo 
In Standard 4 (4d) of the CSTA’s Standards for CS Teachers, we see that “effective CS teachers should design learning experiences that make connections to other disciplines and real-world contexts.” Participants in this workshop will learn “how to transform and differentiate student learning by incorporating computational thinking through the application of creative computing, robotics, and other innovative CS practices in project-based learning units.”
To view all of our PreK-5 sessions at the conference, head our agenda page to filter down our program by either grade band, or grade band and topic. We cannot wait to connect with you during these sessions and more during CSTA 2021! If you haven’t yet registered, head over to the CSTA 2021 website, and secure your spot!