Learning Trajectories for Integrating K-5 Computer Science and Mathematics


 

LTEC Staff Profile: Judy Rocke

September 07, 2017

Name: Judy Rocke

LTEC Role: I am a Mathematics/CS Lesson Plan Editor. In this role I help develop and edit lessons which incorporate coding into the mathematics curriculum. I also support teachers as they use these lessons in their classrooms. This allows me to see firsthand how students work through each activity.

Professional Background: My background is in middle school education with an emphasis in mathematics. I taught a self-contained fifth grade class for 22 years in a rural district in Illinois. All the while I was interested in furthering my knowledge. I assisted in the development of Illinois Assessment Frameworks for fifth grade mathematics, and I worked for several years with ISAT Assessments. Many years ago, I began my partnership with the University of Illinois and began writing Mathematics Materials for Tomorrow’s Teachers (M2T2), the ideas of which I incorporated into my classroom. Technology became a particular interest to me which led me to Lenny Pitt and Jana Sebestik. Together we wrote three 4H manuals, the first of which is called Discovering Computer Science & Programming through Scratch. Currently I am developing and editing classroom-ready activities using Scratch to enhance elementary mathematic curriculum.

Why is LTEC my jam? I have watched with dismay as many students would become “helpless” as they struggled with a problem. They waited for someone to “rescue” them and were not willing to persist. They gave up too easily. I wanted them to become self reliant. With Scratch LTEC activities, if students became “stuck” they were willing to try something, and if that did not work, to try something else. They were becoming problem solvers. They talked with each other and decided for themselves on a plan of action. They began to empower themselves and were no longer “helpless.” This willingness to try opens so many doors for students as they learn to become independent, capable adults.

My work: Because of all my years as an elementary teacher, I bring a teacher’s point-of-view to this project. Teachers feel rushed with all the content they must teach each year. I am happy this project allows them to include coding within mathematics. It’s never just technology for technology’s sake. LTEC is designed to further mathematical understanding by using technology. It shows how coding can be used to solve a problem, explain a pattern, or explore possibilities. In the last year, I was happy to work on making adjustments to pilot lessons in order to make them easier to use for new teachers. See more about this work on our blog.

What I do with my spare time: I like to keep busy and try new challenges. I have reupholstered furniture, painted and wallpapered, installed tile floors and shower surrounds, and even helped with roofing projects. The one thing I try to stay away from is cooking and baking. But, someday I may give that a go. I also love to travel. My daughter lives in Liverpool, so my husband and I have taken many trips to the UK. Iceland is a favorite stop-off point along the way.

Fun facts

  • I have a twin sister. (She lives in Ohio, and every once in awhile, she and I will pick out the exact same toothbrush on the same day. Despite what our family proclaims, twins are not freaky!)
  • I like to paddle board. (I have never attempted paddle-board yoga, though.)
  • When I fly around the world, I always fly standby. (It makes it more exciting. Will I get a seat or not?)
  • I always attempt to balance an egg on its end during the equinoxes. (Give it a go, it’s sometimes amazing.)

Connect with me:

  • Email: jrocke@illinois.edu