When Kita Adams, an English I teacher at Lehman High School, marched into my office and demanded to blend her on-level English courses — it was difficult to contain my excitement…and you can’t really say “No” to Kita.
How did we get here?
Kita was looking for a change in her classroom. As a seasoned teacher with excellent classroom management skills, she was looking for more opportunities to provide choice to her students, make more time to connect with each student individually in class, differentiate for her students based on interest along with skill level.
Her classroom is just two doors down from our blended Algebra I pilot, and hearing all the successes the teachers there had experienced in regards to a better social connection with students and increased time for more individualized learning led Kita to explore the blended model on her own.
She asked the blended teachers questions about their daily routines. She asked students about their experiences with blended learning. She asked digital learning coaches for resources to explore different blended learning models to find the best fit for her students. She connected with other ELAR blended learning teachers in Florida and Minnesota via Google Hangouts to gain perspective on blending an ELAR class.
How did we start?
After exploring blended learning models and speaking with blended teachers in our professional learning networks, Kita gravitated toward implementing a playlist and individual station rotation model with her students.
I agreed to co-teach these class period with Kita until we were more comfortable with the model.
We began with the persuasive text unit in English I.
We looked at all the TEKs in the unit as well as some standards we needed to spiral back in, separated similar TEKs into manageable chunks, and developed a culminating mini-project or engaging assessment to tie all the skills together at the top.
How do we design lessons and projects?
We’ve utilized hyperdocs as our container for the majority of our links to goal setting, pre-planning, lessons and assessments. Other links are directed to Nearpod lessons, ApexLearning lessons, and TexasGateway lessons.
Log ins are cumbersome, so we prioritize sites that allow for the “Log in with Google” option or no log in at all. For these sites, tracking progress is done via Google Form and products students turn in.
For example, when students click to plan their grammar video we use a google form to ask them to choose a concept to create a video about, we ask them to choose a date to begin working on the project, the date they’ll turn it in (within the 20 days given for the unit), and what supports they need before creating their video.
Based on the supports needed, we have the option to have some one on one FaceTime with the student or group 3 or 4 students with similar needs together for small group workshop instruction.
We’re continually developing this learning model, refining our best practices for our students, and talking with other professionals in blended classrooms.
I hope you’ll follow along as we develop our English I into a blended masterpiece.