Prep’s summer program Summer@Prep is now online, offering its largest selection ever of fun and for-credit courses which will be taught by the same outstanding Prep faculty. This summer’s program offers for-credit online classes like Algebra 2 and Digital Video, as well as Make Your Own Food Network Show, Audio Production for Podcasts and Radio, Improv and Sketch Writing, Creative Writing, the Art of Poetry, and more. Log in to our website to browse course listings and sign up today. Registration is closing soon. The program offers two sessions, the first starting June 15 and the second beginning June 29.
In March, Prep faculty quickly transitioned to online classes and throughout the past few months have translated the incredible classroom experience that characterizes a Prep education to an online format. From brainstorming sessions, researching best online teaching practices, and, in some cases, rewriting curriculum, Prep teachers have made the online classroom one that is engaging, dynamic, and fun.
We talked with a few teachers about what they’ve learned from this past quarter teaching online, and what they’re looking forward to bringing into their virtual classrooms this summer for Summer@Prep.
Drama teacher Jennifer Bascom shares that online teaching revealed how important it is for students to feel embodied and present. “I want to create a playful and social mindset, to get them to laugh, do physical work like warmups and games and a lot of meditation work,” Bascom says, noting that she incorporated several techniques to help break down the distance, including show-and-tell activities to introduce pets, siblings, or treasured objects.
Bascom will be teaching Basic Improv Comedy, Sketch Comedy Writing, and Intermediate Improv. “My goal for the improv classes is to make them laugh, first and foremost,” she says, adding that she’s planning to host live podcasts or shows at the end of the sessions.
Math teacher Madeline Martin and Science teacher Celeste McMillin both echo Bascom’s focus on active learning, and they also emphasize the importance of using specific technology to keep students engaged. McMillin used a document camera to broadcast dissections to her Anatomy and Physiology students this past quarter and plans to do that with her Experimental and Life Science students this summer.
Martin has been incorporating more online software and math platforms for quick games and activities, which she hopes to add into her Cracking Codes and Examining Networks summer course. Students will explore cryptography and graph theory by learning about ciphers, the algorithm behind secure online transactions, and more.
“I want them to see that math is not just calculations and algebraic manipulations. It can be about thinking through something logically. It can be applied to their real world,” she says.
Martin uses Zoom’s breakout rooms to place students into small group activities and discussions, which allows students to work more closely together on solving problems or on a project. English teacher Genevieve Morgan, who will be teaching the Art of Poetry this summer, also notes the importance of group work provided by the breakout rooms. “The kids are really hungry to connect, collaborate, and look for community. Breakout rooms give kids a chance to work together and have face-to-face interactions,” Morgan says.
The ability to readily share student work is another element that Morgan is embracing in her courses, as students can easily read each other’s poems, supply constructive feedback, and share interesting stories with her virtually.
All the teachers shared the same sentiment about the summer classes: they want their students to learn and have fun doing it. "Summer should be a little bit of an adventure for kids and for everyone,” Bascom says.