An Interview with Cristina Marcalow, Humanities Teacher Extraordinaire

I recently sat down with our sixth grade English Language Arts and Social Studies teacher, Cristina Marcalow, to discuss her perspective on our Computational Thinking program a few months into the school year.

Q: Tell me a little bit about your experience with the Computational Thinking program here at Excel.

Cristina: It’s been awesome to go to Eli with random ideas that I’ve had, like “oh wow, this seems like it might relate to computational thinking”, and I’ll just randomly go up to him and share a quick idea that I have and the next thing I know, a day – one time it was the next day, another time it was a couple days later – he was running my class and applying the random thought that I had, that I probably never would have been able to execute, he was pulling it off in my class with students, getting them to think in different ways.

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The Rise and Fall of Seventy-Five Civilizations

I remember when the plague struck. It was during Year One, and suddenly every civilization was decimated. The groans of agony made me question my decision to unleash this so early into the game. But only for a moment.

The pain, while palpable, was easily explained. The students in Ms. Marcalow’s sixth grade humanities classes had spent a considerable amount of time dreaming up civilizations they could call their own. These wondrous lands were located in vastly different environments, populated with a wide array of vegetation and animals, rich in various natural resources and technologies. Heartville, surrounded by the Heart Sea (of course), was chock full of roses and horses. Austin Bay Beach seemed like a lovely ocean-side town with fields of wheat and silk. Ellaville had chickens, corn and a row of Victorian houses along the river. Each civilization had a name, a colorful map, and, until the moment the plague hit, a seemingly bright future.

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