Yo, Yo Class!
My students work independently and in groups using different learning modalities in my blended learning classroom every day. I have developed mechanisms that allow me to get the attention of the entire class when I need to make important announcements, clarify widespread misconceptions, or re-focus the class. Yo, Yo Class! is a call-and-response mechanism that allows me to get the attention of the class quickly. This strategy also taps into youth culture in order to instill a sense of ownership of the class among my students.
At any given time at my class, student grouping is fluid and ever-changing. A brief whole group lesson focuses on collaborative lessons and reviewing concepts. Students self-assess to determine how they will practice new skills, and what level of support they need. I also employ a model of individualized learning paths that I named Workshop, where students choose the way in which they will learn. Students who need help are grouped for that day in Tutoring, while others have their pick over a variety of websites such as IXL, FrontRow, and TenMarks, online re-assessments, collaborative activities, projects, and more. Student reflection is essential to making that much choice, work.
Number of Students: 26 students
Number of Adults: one teacher
Length of Class Period/Learning Time: 90minutes (Math Block)
Digital Content/ Ed Tech Tools Used on a Regular Basis: i-Ready; IXL; MangaHigh; Website; FrontRow; Kahoot!; BrainGenie; Poll Everywhere; TenMarks; Google Apps for Education
Hardware Used on a Regular Basis: five iPads; five desktop computers; five laptop computers; two Galaxy Tabs; SMARTBoard
Key Features: competency-based; student agency;individualized learning paths; online homework; gamification
The neighborhood where my students come from can be full of negativity. My students need to learn how to support each other and accept the mistakes that come with the natural process of learning. Synergy is a strategy that is a core element of my blended model; it defines and reinforces the behaviors that successful teams use to work together to overcome a problem. Synergy has four basic expectations: 1) Push each other's thinking; 2) Share the load; 3) Use Accountable Talk; and 4) Move with speed. I use these expectations in a quick evaluation of each group every time we do group work, and the "winning group" receives a small prize, which reinforces my academic and social expectations and incentivizes friendly competition.
The basketball problem is a built in way to teach the students about rigor. At the beginning of the year, we discussed how math is like an onion. There are many layers and each one is more complex than the last. The "shot" is an opportunity to reward risk-taking and get the students really thinking about the most high-complexity questions that I can ask. For this reason, students are doubly invested in this part of class. One because they want to challenge themselves, and two because they want to get up there and take the shot.