Implementing Bootstrap

Before Day 1

Our curricular modules can be mixed-and-matched to suit the needs of many Computer Science courses, ranging from a one-semester introduction to Advanced Placement course. But they can also be integrated into mainstream courses ranging from elementary to high school Math and Statistics, Physics, History, Social Studies or Business.

To implement Bootstrap in any situation, there are a few things you'll want to have in order.

  1. Our materials are written for teachers who have attended one of our Professional Development workshops. Everyone can use them free of charge, but you may find them difficult to use without training.
  2. Each of our course modules has an accompanying student workbook. We highly recommend getting printed copies for your students, but digital copies are available as complete PDFs and as individual pages that can be easily imported as Google Docs.
  3. To save their Bootstrap files, students will need a Google Login. If you already use Google Classroom or Google Apps for Education, students can use their existing student IDs for this. Many teachers create a Gmail account for each class period, and have all their students use the same login.
  4. You'll need classroom routines for logging into the editing environment (WeScheme or Pyret), saving and sharing their files. You'll want to have these introduced formally and used regularly, so they can be repeated easily.

Norms for In-Person v. Remote Instruction

Like most curricula, our modules use a mix of individual work, pair or group work, whole-class discussion, and direct instruction. While every teacher customizes the proportion of these settings to suit their own needs, there are a few differences between in-person and remote instruction that you should be aware of:

In-Person Instruction Remote Instruction
One computer for every pair of students, with computer access at least once a week. Make use of the Language Table classroom visual (linked from the "Materials" section of every lesson plan that involves coding). Every student will need an internet connection and a computer (physical keyboard strongly recommended).
Students use printed workbooks (strongly recommended). Students can use digital or paper formats, depending on context.
Students work in pairs. Students work in groups of 3-5.
Many brief context switches from full-class instruction to student-driven worktime, reflection and back. Student-driven work focuses on iteration, with many short, focused work periods. Fewer, longer context switches from full-group instruction to breakout rooms, reflection and back. Student driven-work is longer, more ambitious, and requires that students be more self-directed.
Direct instruction is at the board, in person, and on slides. Groupwork is done at adjacent desks. Direct instruction and breakout groups both use PearDeck and Zoom.

Classroom Routines for Remote Instruction

Cameras on, unless... - Set the expectation that students will have their cameras turned on, unless they've messaged you privately to tell you they need to keep them off. Many students have legitimate reasons to turn off their cameras, and their choice should be respected. But for students without a real reason, having the expectation repeated daily and knowing they need to email their teacher can be a powerful incentive to stay visible.

The technical stuff is part of your learning goals - Students can make mistakes on simple things like clicking a link, naming a file, saving it, and then sharing it with the teacher. In a classroom setting, it's easy for them to get help from a teacher or classmate. In a remote setting, this can become a real obstacle! Treat these skills as an independent goal, teach them explicitly, and assess them on their own. Give students a grade at the beginning of the year for opening a shared file, changing its name, and sharing it back with you. This helps you set your expectations as a teacher, and lets you know which students may need extra help.

Expectations for Breakouts - Before sending students into breakout groups, make the expectations as clear as possible. Students should know what they must complete and what they can tackle as an optional extension if they finish early. They should know if one of them expected to share their screen. They should know who is sharing back with the group. All instructions should be visible to the groups at all times.

"Who has questions?" - In a remote setting, it's a lot harder to see who's on the right page, who's got the right page loaded, and who is paying attention! Develop a routine for every student to confirm that they are with you, which at least serves as a proxy. In Zoom, for example, this might mean having every student click the "Thumbs Up" to indicate they are ready to move on. Where do I look? - If students should be following along on slides or looking at their code, tell them! If they should be switching to Google Meet or looking on page 53 of their workbooks, tell them! Remind students where they should be looking often, and every time you want them to switch from one context to another. Log in at the start, Share at the end - Get your students in the habit of logging into their editor at the beginning of every class, and sharing a file with you at the end (via online form, email, or whatever mechanism you use). These should be automatic after the first week of class!