Let’s try something new. Let’s differentiate for every student every day! How? Take a look at my innovation plan to see what I am proposing for Nash Elementary.
I’m excited to share the blended learning model with anyone and everyone that will listen or read in this case. I recently finished the book Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools. Along with reading the book I read many articles and watched several TED Talks about this learning model. I was intrigued. The model really stuck with me because of how well it helps the teacher differentiate instruction. The model doesn’t do it for the teacher, but it allows you to differentiate daily. Differentiated instruction happened to be my new instructional goal for the current school year. My goal was to differentiate at least one lesson a week. I stressed over how to do this and it not be chaos. While reading the book Blended, my mind was being blown because it directly related to me.
I knew I wanted to implement this in my first-grade classroom, but I wasn’t sure how. With a little bit of help from my professor and classmates, I decided to implement the station rotation model of blended learning. In this model, students will rotate through stations, with one of them being an online curriculum. I, the teacher then take the data from the online curriculum to drive my instruction. It just so happened that my principal had just purchased a math online curriculum for my grade level. With a little bit of rescheduling I was able to implement a blended learning math block. As you can see below in the graphic, my students participate in a mini lesson, online curriculum, collaborative station, teacher station, and then we have a quick closing to review our learning for the day.
I have been running this model in my classroom for two weeks now. I can’t express how much I am loving it. I love being able to teach math in small groups and I can quickly see what my students are struggling with. I can plan small group lessons around their struggles. Here is an example: My students were struggling with comparing numbers using symbols. I taught a small group lesson over this and we practiced. The next day this same group of students were working on comparing numbers on their online math curriculum, and they were successful. They were getting majority of the questions correct. I saw this as a small win. I can’t wait to see our data in December.
This learning model has the potential to reach every learner at their level. I feel like we as a school have such an exciting opportunity! We all have at least six devices in our classroom. With using the station rotation model, you would only need six devices because your other students would be working in a station or working with you. As you read above, I do have a curriuculum that was bought for me, but I have found many online that are free such as the Kahn Academy. You can also flip your classroom by videoing yourself. They would view the video during station time, and be ready to do guided practice by the time they reach you.
So, I pose this question. Are you with me? Are you interested in taking a leap into the blended learning world? If you would like to learn more about blended learning and the research behind it, take a look at my literature review. In the review I discuss the positive effects of blended learning, and some of the challenges we may face. Along with my literature review I have included an implementation plan.
I do not consider myself a blended learning expert, but I plan to be one in the future. Here are a few more resources I plan on reading.