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Case study #3: Teaching in Lab Rotation model at Navigator Schools
Case studies: teaching in a blended learning environment
- As we shift to Navigator Schools, we want to focus on four of the elements that drive their teaching model. - [Voiceover] The first big idea is the embracing of daily assessment that leads to dynamic grouping of students. - [Voiceover] The second is this notion of facilitating a codified curriculum that they jointly created. - [Voiceover] Next is the idea of specialization, that at the elementary school level teachers either do math and science or ELA and humanities. - [Voiceover] The last one is that they're really champions of this notion of whole brain teaching. - So, on that first big idea, this daily assessment leading to dynamic grouping, you have to understand that the teachers see their role as instruct, assess, and then regroup. This happens on a daily basis. The students get a set of quiz questions, and if they know it, they're allowed to go off and work online. If they don't, the teacher goes deep into small group role, and that's their job. Make sure everybody at the end of every day knows the assessment. - I think that the blended learning gives me the opportunity to be able to pull small groups because the computer programs we use in class is a really great way of letting the kids work at their own pace. Then while they're doing that, I can pull the kids who are struggling on the actual standards and the Common Core that we're moving towards, I can pull them at that time, and really focus in on each of those kids' needs right then and there, and we do it on a daily basis on the actual standard I'm doing that day, so no one is going to fall behind. - As soon as I give a proved as proof question, I immediately have my data from my responders and from my moby about who got that days' lesson, who didn't. The ones that didn't, instantly, that guided practice, are going to stay behind with me. The ones that got it, they're going to go on, they're going to go into a computer program, which is also at an individual level for them. If after I've seen from my data, the immediate data from my responders, that a kid doesn't get it yet, I get the luxury of keeping them in class with me while my paraprofessional takes the rest of the students. During that time, it's just more guided practice, or maybe we need to come up with a new strategy for that student. Sometimes it's three students, sometimes it's four students. The max would ever be six. But sometimes I just got to work with one student, and that's where I've really got to figure out where things are going wrong in their thought process, and how I can correct them. - So at Navigator, rather than have every single teacher constantly designing lesson plans for the next day in class, what they do is that they have a master teacher coordinate a process of designing lessons in six-week cycles with the rest of the teachers on the team. - The beauty of this is once they know what their goals are, their objectives for this unit, they then create these PowerPoint slides that are essentially open-ended questions in visuals that get at the big idea they're going after. So if they're trying to teach kids currency, they build a slide with 10 pennies, 10 nickels, 10 dimes, 10 quarters, and then a bunch of sentence frames, so the teacher on the fly can be circling different things and have, essentially, endless options to have students understand the concept, and then they all teach off these PowerPoint slides. The next year, they refine them, and make them a little bit better. - Our model of having a curriculum that's on our PowerPoints benefits me as a teacher because, first of all, it saves me time. Also, it is visual for the kids so it keeps them engaged. Also, it allows me to do as many as examples as I need, maybe it's one, maybe it's two, maybe it's five. - Navigator also made a very specific decision, which was to allow its teachers to specialize so that students would see multiple teachers in the course of a day, be that in the learning lab when they would work with one set of teachers. Some teachers specialize in humanities, whereas others specialize in science and math. The big idea here was to give teachers an opportunity to really hone your craft or what you're good at, and not be responsible for everything. Now, we acknowledge that not every school is going to make this decision, but the point is that it was a concerted decision to drive the specialization to improve student learning for their model. - I really like being a single-subject here, working just on math, because when I was at a traditional school, you had to focus on everything. You had to focus on the interventions for reading, you had to focus on the interventions for this, and tracking this, and really trying to find out everything, and you couldn't. Everything would fall through the cracks. because you had so much going on. Here, I'm solely math. You know the ins and outs of your curriculum. You learn those standards inside and out, what manipulatives you need for the students, how to gauge their performance, what really gets them motivated, and it's so neat to see that just a single subject can just excel so much more by being one single teacher in that grade. - Having the kids rotate to other teachers I think is a good practice for them because it helps them learn to have different relationships and foster different relationships with different types of adults. But at the same time, it still gives me plenty of time to build a rapport with all of my students. For me, it also gives me practice. In the morning, if it didn't go so well, I get to change it up, and then in the afternoon I get to make it better. - The last thing you have to know about Navigator Schools is when you walk on that campus you are flooded with song and energy and movement. They have this approach, which they call whole brain teaching. I would essentially sum it up as a call and response, choral type approach, that gets students very active in their learning. - Like S, S, comma, fanboys, S, S, period. S, S, comma, fanboy, S, S, period. S, S, comma, fanboys, S, S, period. Compound sentences are easy to learn. Watch me do it, then take your turn. Two simple sentences put together just right. No run-ons or fragments make my sentence tight. - They're responding chorally. They're speaking in partners. They're singing chants. They're cheering each other on. When you go into a whole brain teaching classroom, it's unlike anything you've ever seen, especially the first time you see it. You just say to yourself, "This is incredible." It's actually quite replicable. Although it creates what could be considered a boisterous classroom, it really increases the amount of learning. The research that went in to these different techniques, they've tried to tap into all of the different brain areas and stimulate them during the school day. - [Caitlin] A metaphor - [Class] A metaphor - [Caitlin] also compares two things - [Class] also compares to things - [Caitlin] but does not use like or as. - [Class] but does not use like or as. - [Caitlin] My sister plays the violin - [Class] My sister plays the violin - [Caitlin] but I play the flute. - [Class] but I play the flute. - [Caitlin] It's a compare and contrast, - [Class] It's a compare and contrast, - [Caitlin] so you want to use a fanboy but. - [Class] so we want to use a fanboy but. - [Caitlin] Tell your partner, what kind of sentence is this? (students all talk at once) - [Caitlin] Her directions were as clear as mud, - [Class] Her directions were as clear as mud, - [Caitlin] so we had no idea what to do. - [Class] so we had no idea what to do. - [Caitlin] Wipe your whiteboards in five, four, three, two, one and zero. Put your whiteboards away. Grab out your binders when you're do now in ten, nine, eight ...