Now that you’ve learned how to use CS First, let’s highlight some tips for supporting students.

In this video, we’ll cover strategies to help your students succeed.

Tip #1: Try pair programming - a strategy used by programmers at Google that helps them write better code, de-bug problems more quickly, and learn from each other!

Pairing students to learn together is a good way to stretch their communication and problem solving skills.

Ask one student to be the “driver.”

This student controls the mouse and keyboard.

Ask the second student to be the “navigator.”

This student keeps their eyes on the big picture and plans next steps.

This works in a virtual learning environment, too – just ask the “driver” to share their screen.

There are two key rules for success.

First, switch roles frequently, so that both students get time in the driver and navigator roles.

You can set a 3 minute timer to have students switch.

Second, respect the roles.

Encourage the “driver” to listen and solicit input.

And encourage the “navigator” to keep the big picture in mind, communicate verbally, and not grab the keyboard and mouse.

And remember, a pair programming classroom may be a bit noisier than you’re used to - the chatter means students are collaborating and pair programming is working!

Tip #2: Try communicating with colors.

Give each student a red, yellow, and green card or plastic cups.

They can display the card or cup on their desk to indicate what kind of support they might need.

Green means no problems.

Yellow means struggling but working through it independently.

And red means stuck and in need of assistance.

This will help you prioritize who needs the most help while giving students the opportunity to work through challenging problems without being prematurely “rescued.”

Students can even help each other if you set that expectation in your classroom.

Tip #3: Teach the problem solving process.

Encourage your students to embrace iteration and problem solving – that’s what computer science is all about!

Consider starting with these 4 steps: Step 1: Understand the problem.

Encourage students to break down and define the problem in their own words.

Step 2: Devise a plan.

Encourage students to make a list, draw a picture, look for patterns, or brainstorm with other students in order to devise a detailed plan.

Step 3: Carry out the plan.

Encourage students to carry out the plan with patience and persistence.

If it’s not working, return to step 2.

Step 4: Look back.

Encourage students to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work with their plan.

What would they do differently next time?

Thanks for tuning in!

You’re well on your way to creating a collaborative classroom with CS First.