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.
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.
Each week the boat on our ‘Treasure BL Wall’ is moved across three islands until the boat reaches the final island where a treasure awaits the class with a hidden treasure. Once we have reached the treasure the hidden prize usually is something like a popcorn party, movie. pizza party, game time party, or class-selected incentive. This is the last part of the reflection. This part involves students deciding if we should or should not move our blended learning tracking tool towards our end goal. Our tracking tool in my class is the treasure blended learning wall, where students can see their progress and can view blended learning in a game-like way. The game involves students versus fictional characters on our map who are trying to get to the goal before we can.
This strategy is called Blended Learning Timekeeper. The BL Timekeeper circulates and focuses on looking for students who are moving with urgency and purpose. This strategy emphasizes focus and motivation. Since we implemented this strategy in our class, the students are logging on faster, as they want to be an 'urgency all-star'.