Independent Student Learning

Digital Content Notebook

The students' Digital Content Notebook is where Pencil and Paper Notetaking occurs. It is exactly what it sounds like. No frills. But it is even more essential in a blended format. My colleagues and I did a lot of note-taking style modeling at the beginning of our year to set the expectations in our blended classroom. 

Strategy Resources (3)
Student Work Sample
 
 
These are the notes of a student from an independent learning zone (virtual learning) session. This student takes excellent notes in the blended format.
Students In Action
 
 
This is a short video tour of the beginning of an Independent Learning Zone session. You can see the start of a lot of pencil and paper note taking.
Student Work Sample
 
 
These are the notes of a student from an independent learning zone (virtual learning) session. This student takes excellent notes in the blended format.
Students In Action
 
 
This is a short video tour of the beginning of an Independent Learning Zone session. You can see the start of a lot of pencil and paper note taking.
Aaron Kaswell
Middle School 88 Peter Rouget
Brooklyn, NY


 

About this strategy

Prep Time:
Moderate
Subject:
Math
Grades:
Sixth grade, Seventh grade, Eighth grade
Similar Strategies
Academic Culture
Town Hall Meeting

Since I work with 3 large cohorts of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students (100+ students in each cohort) my colleagues and I developed a Town Hall Meeting for the beginning of the year to explain our Rules, Routines, Procedures, and Consequences to the entire cohort at once. Having all of my students on the same system has provided tremendous consistency and stability and created a solid community foundation. Town Hall Meeting is a place where students not only hear the expectations but are encouraged to ask questions or make comments to the entire community. Delivering this presentation once to the entire cohort helps to set the culture in an efficient way. 

 
Independent Student Learning
Split the Difference

I frequently have my students play games as part of their learning sessions. Many students only want to play the games and do not think of creating a written records of the problems they are solving or notes on their learning. I ask my students to "split the difference" and go 50/50 on playing and note-taking. It's kind of a misnomer since there really is no "difference" to split, but the strategy makes it clear that my students should be splitting their time equally between playing a game and taking notes during that game.

 
Blended Learning Model Overviews
Tanesha's Model Overview

I implement a station rotation model in my classroom. On a typical day, following brief whole-class direct instruction, my students will rotate through three blended learning stations: small group instruction, collaborative learning, and independent work. At each station, students work either with a teacher, a group of their peers, or individually towards content mastery. The key levers of my model are student self-pacing and small-group instruction. Through a mix of student choice and teacher facilitation, I have been able to activate my students’ learning and accelerate them towards higher academic achievement.

Number of Students: ~25 students

Number of Adults: one teacher; one paraprofessional

Length of Class Period/Learning Time: 45 minutes

Digital Content/Ed Tech Tools Used on a Regular Basis: Kahoot!; Plickers; PBWorks; Blackboard; Newsela; Edmodo; BrainPop & BrainPop Jr; Discovery Education Techbook; Padlet; Vimeo; Today’s Meet

Hardware Used on a Regular Basis: 25 ASUS T100 laplets with charging cart (1:1); Promethean Board

Key Features: station rotation; student agency

 
 
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