Computer Programming

In this 30-week class, we will learn the basics of computer programming. Programming is as much about logical, computational thinking as it is about working on a computer. In this class we strive to introduce and reinforce those computational thought patterns while creating fun projects and several computer games.

We will begin with computational thinking then progress to write code using the Java programming language, which is an industry standard. Students will do regular labs in class and some at-home programming assignments. Students will create several computer games that they can share with friends. We usually write a standard TicTacToe game, then a dice game for which each student designs his or her own rules and layout, but these games may change from year to year. The software & online textbook are provided.

We use an online textbook for about 4 chapters, to learn the building blocks we need to build the projects and games. During these 4 chapters, students will be expected to read, fill out a study guide, participate in class review activities, and take tests, as well as do simple programming labs. Once we lay this basic foundation, we will no longer have tests because our focus will be on self-paced labs where students move mostly at their own speed to complete the lab. Students who complete the lab early will be able to choose between additional challenge activities.

Laptops: All students must have a laptop to work on in class each week. A very limited number of laptops are available from the tutor on a first-come, first-served basis. Students must demonstrate understanding of the care of the laptop and leave a deposit before being able to check out a laptop for the year. Laptops must be running a recent version of Windows (7 is the oldest acceptable version) and must be capable of running the required software. Newer Macs are also OK, but tablets, Chromebooks, etc. will not run our software.

Readiness: Computer programming is much more than just using a computer. This is a challenging class involving a lot of logic and a little math. Although the class is structured to allow students to move at their own pace as much as possible and to allow for different levels of learning, there are some skills that are needed before taking this class. Students must be able to read and follow multi-step detailed directions and have a comfort level with using and navigating a computer, including opening and savings files and using the mouse or touchpad on the laptop. Please contact the tutor for more details if you have any questions or concerns about your student’s readiness for this class.

Class homework requirements: In textbook phase, weekly reading and study guide assignments; after textbook phase, little to no homework


Time: 2:35-4:05
Grades: 4th-8th
Class Fee: $332
Supply fee: $85
Tutor: Wendi Sisson

COVID-19 Contingency Plan:

In the event that trusted public health authorities recommend against in-classroom instruction during the 2020-21 school year, we will make the following adjustments to this class: 

Tutor and students will meet at the scheduled class time via a video conferencing service. Assignments will be submitted electronically. One-on-one calls with the teacher will be scheduled periodically. Additional assistance for installing class software will be provided during an optional video conferencing session outside of TCT class hours. Live video classes will also be recorded and posted for viewing at students’ convenience.

Please note we may begin, suspend, or end classroom meetings at any point during the school year as the COVID-19 situation evolves. Our goal is to keep your family safe and engaged during this unprecedented time.