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.
The Learning Journey Review is taking an essential question or a big idea from a content unit and making it visual for the students, usually in a chart or poster. The chart, illustrating a timeline or taxonomy chart, is created at the beginning of an ELA unit and is constantly referred to at the beginning of each week and at the end of the week, thereby helping to connect the week's lessons together.
Each of my students is given the option to use different notepads, lined or grid paper, and scratch paper we have. This strategy is implemented to develop students' ability to convey understanding using models or ideas that they have when using our math software. Students in this clip are given ideas about how to express their thinking using our math strategies card along the computer. Students use the notepads or paper to refer back to their previous notes, and to also help one another by referring back to notes where applicable.
One way we bring authenticity to our lessons is by making explicit connections or real world hooks to what we're learning. What I particularly enjoyed about our persuasive writing unit is that we were able to identify real problems in our own school community and to think of solutions. It then brought about real change in our school, and in this case brought about getting more magazines into the classroom which was an identified need of our class.