Council for Character Development
Every Friday we meet to discuss a topic around character development and 21st century skills. This is a vital classroom practice in my class. Because blended learning is so high paced and intense, students need support as not only learners but people as well. Students transition from their seats to prepare to watch videos or form a circle around the perimeter of our carpet. Our council pieces are brought out. Council pieces are small items that both the students and I have brought which hold major meaning to us. Once we meet, the only person who can speak is the one holding the council piece. We begin by making a dedication to someone in our life or someone we have beeng thinking about. At the end of the dedications, we begin our council. The talking piece is passed around and all students share their thoughts or may pass. Sometimes we will bring an on-demand journal to share, or students may respond to a posed question.
This strategy is a small group guided instruction, or in student friendly language, team time with Mr. Esparza. A group of 3-4 students is pulled as other teams are conducting a differentiated math investigation. Students are given a selection of materials to create models and formulate ideas. We work as a collective to identify our misconceptions by asking ourselves questions, explaining why, and checking for understanding. As a scaffold, students use hand signals and our learning goal success rubrics to check themselves for understanding throughout the process.
Writing partners are two students working together to collaboratively complete a task by reading together, asking questions to each other, and responding in written form together. Writing partners work together in every reading lesson as well as during writer’s workshop when they collaboratively read each other’s papers and ask for suggestions during the share portion.
A blended teacher’s personal mindsets shape his decisions as an educator. These mindsets influence general pedagogies, instructional approaches, and short-term decision making, alike. Check out how Freddy’s mindsets have helped to shape his blended instruction.