Blended Learning Set up for Success

Tips for bringing blended learning to your students

Setting up the math classroom...

I usually have 24-27 students in my math class so I break them up by ability into four different groups. Each group is assigned a color and rotates through different stations. The stations are: "Teacher" for small group interaction, "Independent Practice" so each student can practice their math skills, and then there are two stations for "Computer" so that each student has about twenty uninterrupted minutes on a web-based program. I use a chart to keep track of which students are in which group. I also monitor their computer activity with Lanschool. I believe students actively learn with the rotation model of blended and they have fun too.

Independent Practice

At the beginning of every math class I give a ten minute introduction to the whole class. Students who have independent practice for their first rotation may access a math movie on the ipad if they have questions. I also assign a student to be the "teacher" while I am with my small group. I always choose a student who sits within earshot for this job so I can tell what is going on. The time given for each rotation is about twelve minutes.

I must admit, there are times when I think to myself "wouldn't it be nice if I could copy myself?". I have often had that thought in the classroom, especially when I am with my small group. By making short movies of my math lessons, I have done just that (well, close enough). During independent practice, kids can use an ipad to access the lesson while I am with my small group. Parents can access the lessons at home too. One parent remarked "I am so happy you have the lessons online, now I know how you teach it". Below is a sample lesson students can access on the ipads.

Multiply by Two Digit Numbers

Small Group Instruction

For the "Teacher" rotation, students find a spot at the table with the teacher to review homework, ask questions in a small group setting, and participate in a just right small group lesson. I sometimes use this time to reteach a concept or preteach a new concept to my struggling students. When I was in school I never spoke unless spoken to. Because of this, I truly enjoy the small group setting and getting to know each and every one of my students.
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Students show a high level of engagement when using the computer. We use web-based programs to measure learning. I like the ease of monitoring students progress, getting reports for their progress, and the ability to set up contest and challenges online. I can use Lanschool to view each kids screen to insure kids are on-task.

Math and Science Blog....and so much more

Blogging has become my labor of love. It is a portal into my classroom and a way of telling my story. I was inspired by the teachings of Dr. Allen November who wrote "Who Owns the Learning" to have my entire year of 5th grade math and science lessons posted for all to see. Hopefully giving prospective students a better idea of the expectations for the new school year.

I have found that the blog is developing a life of its own by continuing to grow with each new idea. The newest idea is a "Kids teaching Kids" tab for student to post their own lessons for various math concepts so that kids who need a fresh approach to understand a math concept can turn to another student for help. I also plan to have a tab for the robot enthusiasts to share programming tips for other EV3 programmers.

Questions? We have answers!

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