Daily Learning Notes for June 12th, 2017

Today I mostly just worked on making another homework assignment for our UnBootcamp students. I didn’t have time to organize my notes better, and it wasn’t a very eventful day, so I just wrote my notes as a time log today:

11:07am: Done with some emails and event planning type work, and now onto the next thing! Feeling pretty sleepy, since I was up too late. Today I missed my early wakeup goal, but I can still get that elusive five-day streak this week if I work at it go to bed early enough! Anyway, I’m writing this now because I’m having trouble deciding what to work on next. Aiming to post an assignment for our students every day at noon helped me a bit last week, so I guess I should try sticking to that this week too. OK, here’s a topic that I’m sure our students could use some extra practice on: objects in JavaScript! Leading up to an intro to JSON! I should be able to finish the first part of that in the next hour, right? Worth a shot.

Notes on teaching JavaScript objects:

  • Ideally, I’d love to make a little mini-game related to this topic! Maybe it just generates random objects with different sturctures and you practice accessing the requested properties and methods?
  • Are arrays a prerequisite, or can I skip over those for now? Or maybe it would be better to start there… I’m not sure!
  • What do people have the most trouble with when it comes to objects? That’s what I should focus on.
  • How can I best align these practice problems with our group project (the pair programming/study partner matchmaking app)?

I can’t do much in an hour, so I better just dive in and start writing some practice problems to start with. Gotta start somewhere!

11:25am: Got caught up in reviewing Eloquent JavaScript and trying to decide if I should include a quote or drawing or two… But this is a rabbit hole I’m already getting lost in! I wish I could focus better right now. Meh, maybe I shouldn’t introduce any quotes or theory here. I don’t have much time to finish this so I should just dive right into the practice problems I think.

11:54am: Decided to use Wikipedia’s List of Fictional Penguins as an example for modeling objects. Just decided I should probably include some review of arrays and objects though, and talk about the difference between the two. Frustrated by how slow this is going. Every couple of minutes, my brain seems to turn off or latch onto some unimportant details; for example, I might have spent 5 minutes just trying to decide which fictional penguin I wanted to use in my first example. (I settled on Gunter from “Adventure Time”, but that’ not important. Stupid brain! This is not important! lol.)

12:30pm: Posted some short practice problems on JavaScript objects and arrays and shared them with our students.

12:45pm: Lunch break!

4:23pm: After a short lunch break, I then took an epic nap until not too long ago – probably slept for almost two hours! I guess I needed it. Why do I keep forgetting that I can’t get away with 6 hours of sleep? Anyway, I feel a lot better now! I can almost think straight, for the first time all day. I guess I’ll spend a bit of time adding onto those practice problems, and then switch to finishing the instructions for setting up Firebase authentication with GitHub.

4:35pm: Is it possible to center images in GitHub Flavored Markdown? Looks like the answer is no. Boo! I’ll just keep making my images 672 pixels wide to center them then. I am really confused about something, though: last week, I could’ve sworn that GitHub was scaling up my images to fit the full width of the page, and today it obviously isn’t! Did they just change their CSS? Or am I going mad? Ah well, I’ll have to leave that tangent alone for now. I’m just adding a screenshot of the little pencil icon that you can click to edit GitHub comments.

4:43pm: One more GitHub Flavored Markdown tip: you can add syntax highlighting very easily! I definitely want to make use of that feature.

5:27pm: Adding more practice problems, little by little. I found a pretty good intro to JSON and AJAX requests from MDN that I might want to use later!

6:27pm: Yay, I got into the zone for a while and time just disappeared! I love that feeling. Progress feels slow (as usual), but I guess it’s a good thing that I’m thoroughly testing every problem that I assign and editing the instructions to try to make them as clear as possible.

6:57pm: I think I’m finally done with the array and object practice problems! Phew! I think 57 short problems will keep everyone busy for the first half of the week. Besides, you can never get enough practice with the building blocks for all major data structures! Time for a short break. Up next: Firebase authentication/login, and then maybe an intro to JSON and some data modeling challenges. I also still want to clean up my previous blog posts and publish them, and I also want to work on building that Firebase app I sketched out a week ago, but one thing at a time.

7:58pm: Posted our first mathematics study group on the calendar, answered some emails, updated my to-do list and calendar for the week. Now I’m not sure what to do next! Should I keep working and then stop by the meetup that’s happening downstairs? Or should I just go home? Or maybe go to the gym for a little bit? Or just go for a nice walk around the block? When should I finally eat dinner? (It’s strange that I’m not hungry yet!) And should I force myself to go to bed early tonight, or should I just sleep when I feel sleepy again, whenever that may be? I’d love to try a biphasic sleep schedule again! It would certainly be an interesting experiment. Well, I’ll take a quick break and see if my brain can resolve any of these pending decisions in the background while I walk around, get a snack, and maybe take a peak at one of the events happening downstairs at this coworking space right now.

8:34pm: Had a bite to eat, watched part of the basketball game, didn’t feel like walking into a super crowded room to check out the meetup though. (Not sure why… a bit of anxiety perhaps? I just don’t feel like being around a big crowd.) Anyway, I thought I’d start on the draft for the Firebase authentication tutorial now, just for a few minutes before I walk home, so it’ll be easier to start on it again later.

9:03pm: I started using an empty GitHub repo to publish my work-in-progress instructions, so I can more easily test the formatting and save it for later without sending a notification to the students. Definitely an improvement to this workflow! Still tedious, though. Anyway, I guess I should walk home now. I’ll see what I feel like doing by the time I get there.

11:40pm: Writing and fixing up just a bit more, after going for a nice long walk. OK, that’s a good stopping point, so I know exactly where to pick up again tomorrow morning!