Hybrid and Remote Teaching Tips
BJC is a free, online curriculum, with a free, online programming language, Snap!, and it is designed to be used in student pairs with minimal teacher presentation. This makes BJC ideal for the shift to hybrid or remote teaching format.
Nevertheless, the transition to online learning can be a challenge. Below is a collection of suggestions from BJC curriculum designers and experienced BJC teachers to help teachers teaching BJC remotely:
- Continue leading BJC as before.
- As with in-person teaching of BJC, the bulk of class time should be spent on student-led collaborative programming. Instead of walking around the room and looking over students’ shoulders, use meeting software screen sharing to drop-in on break-out rooms.
- If students struggle to pair-program effectively in the online format, experiment with larger groups. Consider assigning a "facilitator" to make sure that everyone's voice is heard and that everyone truly understands the work of the group by encouraging others to ask questions and to challenge constructively the ideas discussed.
- BJC always encourages student discussion and collaboration over lecture. Continue this practice online. Any teacher-led explanations belong after students have engaged with the content.
- Set virtual class expectations such as: arriving on time in a quiet location ready to learn, participating, muting while not speaking, etc.
- Consider including a scheduled break time for stretching, snacks, texts, etc. when students can turn off their cameras. This gives students a change to refresh themselves and reinforces the idea that they should be focused on class the rest of the period.
- Offer consistent and organized online resources and interaction portals. Students should always know where to find necessary documents, links, and due dates and where to submit assignments. Do your best to reduce the number of emails that students receive (particularly automated emails which discourage attention).
- Encourage student communication. Help each new group of students get to know each other through meaningful connection activities such as small-group social implications discussions.
- Consider using a daily survey (such as a Google Form) for attendance with the same three to four questions each day to help you understand how students are doing with the content, how they are doing in general, and what support(s) they need.
- Consider using an online discussion forum (such as Piazza or Google Groups) to continue class discussion outside of class time; you might even assign a participation grade for meaningful contribution.
- Visit the College Board's AP 2020-21 School Year Support site, which includes information about 2021 exam options; AP Daily Videos; instructional resources for in-person, hybrid, and online teaching; and information about live online review sessions for students in April.
- Take advantage of the BJC Teacher Community on Piazza (visit teachers.bjc.berkeley.edu for initial access) where you can solicit support from experienced BJC teachers as well as the designers of BJC and Snap!.
- Join a BJC Small Group —a virtual Professional Learning Community of BJC teachers.
- Make use of the online formative assessments in AP Classroom released in 2020. The BJC Teaching Guide unit overview pages indicate which AP Classroom Topics have been completely covered by end of each unit of BJC. BJC teachers find this tool helpful, but all CSP curricula require some teacher effort to connect the curriculum materials to the AP classroom questions; plan some time and connect with other colleagues via the BJC Teacher Community on Piazza or a BJC Small Group.
Increase student engagement with a minimal set of interactive online tools. (Test tools on your own or with colleagues, and avoid introducing too many tools with students.)
- Classkick – assignment progress tracking, feedback, and grading system
- Flipgrid – video-based online class discussion forums
- Ideaboardz – collaborative brainstorming/idea-sharing tool
- Jamboard – collaborative whiteboard tool
- Kahoot – gamified formative assessments (can be used asynchronously)
- Nearpod – interactive formative assessment tool
- NetsBlox – a version of Snap! which lets two kids jointly edit a project. Its disadvantage is that it's based on a old version of Snap!.
- Padlet – collaborative tool useful for collecting student responses to prompts or discussion questions
- Peardeck – interactive formative assessment tool
- Plickers – synchronous formative assessment card activity
- Quizizz – gamified quizzes with custom multiple choice tests, individually timed questions, and shuffling of questions and answer choices (can be used asynchronously)
- Screencast-o-matic – free screen recorder
Zoom – video conferencing:
- Use the chat feature for class discussion or quick checks for understanding.
- Use the breakout rooms for pair programming or one-on-on check-ins.