A few weeks ago I posted about the poster that I had created for the new computer programming club that I am running in my school. “Code Monkeys” is a way for me to get the most interested students some programming experience. We do not have a computer science course. We used to (I wrote it), but I wasn’t entirely psyched about the dynamic, it being populated with students who weren’t really fellow travelers, and not uniformly dedicated to learning the task at hand. So this year, I thought maybe a club would be a better way to get my grubby little hands on the students who are most interested in actually writing code.
The club, which is really an internal, communal, codeyear group, meets on Friday’s. To make things interesting, I decided to set up a few gimmicks that add to the mystery:
- I sent out an email to a few, handpicked students, telling them that I was going to be starting this club, and that they should, perhaps, think about joining.
- I gave the club poster to only a few colleagues, and asked that they put it up in their room and say nothing about the club to their classes. The idea being that this mysterious poster would start to serve as a sort of secret handshake.
- A cryptic announcement ran all week prior to our first meeting: “Code Monkeys Assemble. Friday’s 256 Promptly.” When asked about this announcement, I only repeated it back, verbatim.
- During our first meeting, I informed the students who attended that they were now part of an “association of like-minded folks”, and that, when asked by their peers what transpired during our meetings, they could only answer “Code Monkeys Assemble.” In this manner, I am looking to style the club in the fashion of a Fight Club for Geeks.
We had 20 students at our first meeting. It will be interesting to see how thing develop over the rest of the year. The grand scheme is to stoke enough coding interest that when the new AP
Biology Computer Science course launches in a few years, I can populate a section with students who actually have some understanding of what it means to program.