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Studying for a test? Prepare with these 3 lessons on Teaching in a blended learning environment – rethinking the role of the teacher.
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- A lot of the conversation about blended learning focuses on the tools and the software, but it rarely talks about the on the ground techniques and tools that the teacher does in the classroom, and that's where we're going now, what I would call the movies of a blended learning teacher. - Doug Lemov wrote this great book, Teach Like a Champion, that profiles some of these strategies for getting great student outcomes in traditional classrooms. So we asked the teachers in our blended learning schools what are their strategies for getting great student outcomes, and they shared some great strategies and systems. - Alright, if you can hear my voice, clap once. (clapping) If you can hear my voice, put your hands on your head. If you can hear my voice, close your screens, and get ready for mad minute fluency. - Some tools and routines that I use in my blended classroom and I've seen work in other blended classrooms, definitely you still always need an attention signal. Lots of blended teachers use lots of different signals, but imagine you've got twenty, thirty, forty, fifty kids with earbuds in, and they're staring at their screen. They're not going to hear your ding. They're not going to hear your clap or your stomp or whatever it might be, and so I've actually done a lot of stadium style wave with kids where I might tap a kid on the shoulder with two fingers, the first kid, and they put their hand up. Before they put their hand up, they know to tap the next kid, and the next kid, and it kind of waves around the room. In a blended classroom, teachers and students need entrance procedures, and they need exit procedures. One of the things I like about a blended classroom is that if your kids are walking in, you don't need to create a do now or a warm up or anything like that. The do now or warm up for those kids for whom its their turn on the computers, it's go to your computer and start. Just get right back to work wherever you were when you logged out the last time, whether the last time was an hour ago or two weeks ago or whatever it was. When it comes to an exit procedure, I think it's really important that kids, much like the old adage when we're off hiking and camping, we're going to try to leave it cleaner than we found it, that you want to be really clear with kids about what you want the computer stations to look like when they exit, so I used to do one knuckle keyboards, which meant the kids would put their knuckle there and that was the space between the edge of the table and the keyboard, and then we'd look down the rows and we could see, basically, what was correct, and it really helped kids understand, because wires get criss crossed and tangled, that this is this station's mouse and keyboard and everything is the way it's supposed to be, and it gives that kind of structure and order, and then you can dismiss, and I found that it helped bring kind of an element of rigor to the classroom, just the physical maintenance of the space. - In blended learning, there are often more transitions than in a traditional classroom. Just think about a station rotation model where students are rotating between the online learning and small group instruction, or think about a lab model where students are rotating from the learning lab, and then into the traditional classrooms. Managing these transitions and making them tight and really fit well with the learning schedule is really critical. (clapping) - Team courage, please sign out. - Team guidance, please go to the iPads. - I'm sorry, Team Monarch go to the iPads. - Team Guidance, please focus on books. - Devon, our feet are on the line. Okay, I want you in and logged on in ten seconds. Let's go! - In a typical class, we simply ask students to raise their hand for support, but in a blended class, that might look different. - When we first see students enter environments where they can learn at their own pace, we see the ping pong effect, is what we call it, and students don't know what to do. Their hands start shooting up. The teacher's looking around. There's 20 hands, and they don't know who to respond to, and if you were to put a camera at the top of the room, you would just see them, it's like whack a ball, they're ping ponging around the room, and pretty consistently we've seen folks who are thinking about pedagogy and basically inventing pedagogy on the fly, but really getting to the same place where here's a hierarchy of things you need to explore when you need help as a student, and some of that is the online resources before you. Some of that is knowing to turn to a peer next to you. Some of that is knowing who the expert is in the room, either a teacher or a peer. Some of it's reading the instructions again. Some of it's asking the teacher. Some of it's asking the resource person that's around, but really helping kids know what resources are available to them is what allows the teacher to free up their time in a way where they can use it really strategically. - Getting help in a blended classroom. You need a routine on getting help, and I like to have a really high bar that the kids, that the teacher doesn't be the helper when the kids are online for a few steps down the row. So in a blended classroom, as in any classroom, kids are going to need help, and one of the things that I think is really important is kids have a long runway of working and trying to help themselves and be as self directed and independent as possible, so in what I've seen sometimes is that a kid might not actually raise their hand and get the teacher's help for maybe two or three days worth of sessions on the computer, struggling and working their way through, because they're doing things like taking the hints, watching the videos of support, checking another website, trying to master that concept in another program that teaches it a different way and bringing the learning then back into the original program, maybe quietly checking with a neighbor. Lots of strategies that I want the students to use before they raise the hand looking for in class human teacher support. - One of the most challenging things in working with students when they show up here is they're used to putting their hand in the air and having a teacher answer their question, and do the learning for them, so we've had a lot of work to undo, or things for students to unlearn. It's taken time and it's taken intentional lessons that our teachers have built around how you can be challenge seeking, how you can shift your strategies, all of the non-cognitive skills that go along with developing perseverance and grit. We've built lessons for those, and having a common vocabulary and common lessons goes a long way, especially working with young sixth graders. - Have systems for trouble shooting. So, in my classroom, I have a student who's assigned to be trouble shooting the iPads. I've seen that this student is really good at being the point person for this. Other students can go straight to her to help trouble shoot any issues before they come to me, because I'm teaching a group on the carpet, so using the strengths of the students in your classroom in order to enable you to spend more time teaching.