Virtual Learning while Piloting the 20-21 Curriculum

This past school year I had the opportunity to pilot the 20-21 curriculum. I had two AP sections and taught the new curriculum to both. I taught units one through unit five, then prepared my students to complete the Create PT. At that point they had met all the requirements for 19-20 Create PT. Getting the Create PT done by the first week of March was a blessing because we completed it before schools closed.

One of the challenges I had early during the year was fitting two whole 45 minute lessons into an 85 minute class. After speaking with the Curriculum Team, we figured how to modify the lessons to meet my needs.

One of the best features of the curriculum is its implementation of collaboration and peer feed back early in the units. My students learned how share ideas, support each other, and strengthen their debugging skills.

Transitioning to virtual was a challenge because my school district being a Microsoft partner, used TEAMS. TEAMS does not have breakout rooms which would have helped continue the great collaborative feature of the curriculum, so that was a big loss. Attendance wasn’t required, so I was only seeing between 10 - 50% of my students. This was also an extreme challenge to properly provide instruction. However, attendance was better for those preparing to take the AP Exam. We were also not allowed to use Zoom which I am very comfortable with. Fortunately, our Learning Management System will include Zoom in the fall. TEAMS also plans to implement breakout rooms which will help with team building and peer feedback.

To complete the Explore PT, I used the Planner app in TEAMS to guide my students through the requirements. I posted completion deadlines each day and had them check off each task. This feature worked out well.

One of my concerns for this fall is making connections with students I have not taught before in a virtual environment. I am currently looking for strategies that help meet this need. Fortunately, I can use a number of strategies I have learned during the summer co-leading CSP new teacher workshops. If you have any questions about my experience please post them below and I’ll happily respond.


I would really like to take a look at the
Teals curriculum.
Where can I take a look at it?
Thank you

Hello, Terence!

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us around your experience with the new curriculum. I truly appreciate it.

If you don’t mind, I just had a few questions.

  1. I will also need to manage two 45-minute lessons in an 85-minute session. Given your work with the Curriculum Team, were there any “stock” modifications/tweaks that you were able to streamline across units/lessons? If so, I would love to hear about that. Managing modifications on a lesson by lesson basis sounds daunting.
  2. Could you share a few of the strategies you learned around making connections with students while you were running CSP new teacher workshops?

I will be exploring strategies of my own over the next few weeks, which I will happily share once things begin to shape up. One thing I would like to sort out is a) the extent to which Pair Programming will be usable in a virtual learning environment (I’m guessing it will work just the same as if we were in a normal classroom lab environment) and b) how I can best randomly “pop in” to observe how those collaborations are going…and possibly offer assistance if I see students are struggling. This should be possible w/ Google Meet or some other screen sharing application/service, but I’m hoping to find what will be the optimal solution.

Anyhow, thanks in advance for any assistance you might offer.


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