Warm Welcomings is a strategy I use to develop a strong positive culture in my blended classroom. When students enter into an inviting atmosphere and begin the class on a positive note, they are able to focus better. It is important to me to start off class together on the rug because my students spend a significant portion of the class working independently on computers and in small groups. Warm Welcomings gives us the time to come together as a community of scholars and it can be anything from a "welcome back from recess" to an invitation for students to share something positive about their time away from class.
The model we have today is designed to increase the quality of small group instruction. We focus our instruction for core subjects with smaller groups so we are better able to individualize learning to meet their needs. For the first grade, we use a rotational model in both math and ELA, which provides students about 90 minutes of individual computer time daily. During teacher-led instruction we encourage students to sit in pairs or small groups and use think-pair-share strategies to lead their own conversations and engage with the material being presented.
Number of Students: 26 students
Number of Adults: one teacher; various other adults support during specific times (e.g., Blended Learning Coordinator, Special Education Teachers, etc.)
Length of Class Period/Learning Time: 90 minutes (Reading and Writing Block)
Digital Content/Ed Tech Tools Used on a Regular Basis: MyOn; i-Ready
Hardware Used on a Regular Basis: Lenovo ThinkPads (1:2 ratio); SMARTboard; Document Camera; iPad (for teacher)
Key Features: station rotation; student agency
Flash Fluency is a strategy I use during guided reading sessions to make immediate adjustments to my instruction, based on my students' needs. To gather the information I need, I give a reading fluency check to one student from the group using a current or cold read text. The student reads for one minute while I keep track of miscues and make observations. It is followed by a quick comprehension check. Once this is completed, I address the student's needs immediately with the entire small group. Since my reading groups are homogenous, one student's needs are generally reflective of the needs of the other students in the group.
In Teacher Vs. Students, students compete against the teacher in a quick game of listening and participation. Typically we play this game after a general phonics rule has been taught and students have to practice hearing it for phonological practice. Rather than me just reading a word asking them to identify the sound, I am using the taught rule(s) and turning into a game of friendly competition to show that they are smarter than the teacher. It's important though, to be honest. If I win, I explain what they should practice more of and then try it again another day.