Color Teams are teams that students form themselves within the rotation groups that I have created. Students usually work in their Color Teams when we conduct a group task. When students are working in their teams, I encourage them to use academic discourse and math vocabulary words. Given that students spend a significant amount of time working independently on digital content in my blended classroom, Color Teams are an important structure to foster productive group work among my students.
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.
Communicating and collaborating with both colleagues and students' families is crucial in a blended environment. This is especially true if a teacher is doing something that looks very different from other teachers at his school. Check out how Freddy communicates and collaborates with both her colleagues at school and his students' families and how his methods of communication and collaboration have evolved over time.
A positive classroom culture promotes student engagement, efficiency, and academic growth. Culture influences how and why students learn and ties the students to the teacher on a personal level. Check out the video below to see how Mark’s culture impacts student achievement!