Brazil is heating up and the holiday season is upon us – just the way it should be for a southern hemisphere girl! I ended my 9th and 11th grade classes with a secret tear as I prepare for my new job at Graded as the Middle School Teaching and Learning Coach. (Here’s hoping there has been enough time has passed since Langwitches left us as they are shoes I’m not quite ready to fill!) I will be keeping my Maths HL seniors and will lead them through one last unit and one last push to the exams (and the final stages of those internal assessments that are currently screaming “Don’t even think about going to Rio until these are done Molony!”)
So, as I start to think about my final project I’m stuck somewhere between the role of a full time teacher and an almost full time coach – what will my project look like?
Blended Learning has been on my mind since course one, although I didn’t really have a name for it then, and I’ve been in a cohort this semester (mostly as a coach) digging into the idea of Blended Learning. Our MS assistant principal, Mark Engstrom, has really been pushing his thinking around this topic and will be opening a school next academic year that will be completely built around the personalised learning experience (check it out here). Needless to say I’ve had a wonderful opportunity to connect my CoETaIL learning with Mark and apply some ideas into my classes.
It. Has. Been. Hard.
So what I want to propose now is an attempt to create a blended learning experience for my senior students as they prepare for the May exams. Anyone who knows a HL Maths teacher will know that time is just something we don’t have – but we do have creativity and we do have technology, so maybe this might work. Instead of redesigning a specific unit, I’d like to redesign how I approach exam revision and preparation. I would like to truly commit to a personalised learning experience that will run parallel to my classes where I still need to teach Topic 8!
I tried and failed this semester to blend a unit for these students. Here were my hurdles:
- These students love being taught from the front of the classroom
- These students do not love being “stuck”
- These students do not really know how to ask for help so they were constantly falling behind but I didn’t really know it
- Students are busy and following an online module requires organisation and time management – skills they might not have been explicitly taught
- I don’t know how to incorporate a face-to-face experience when all of my students are on a personalised learning path (in our cohort we discussed how this is what makes blended learning different from online learning)
My to do list (considering the fact that the last time I attempted a blended learning environment I just threw them into it!)
- I will need to devote time to helping my students find and then engage with the online content (some I will create)
- I will need to help them create/find forums to share their ideas and learning
- I will need to create some structure without completely structuring their learning
- I will need to help the students make connections – perhaps with the students of CoETaILers
- I will need to work out how to bring their different learning into the classroom each week (or maybe fortnight)
Student to do list
- Develop strategies to remain on task and to document learning
- Recognise when they need help