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 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'.
During the Problem Solving Investigation, students are in their teams and are delegating/agreeing on what their next steps and strategies will be during a problem solving investigation. Once they are ready to begin they show the teacher a silent signal, in this case a thumbs-up. They are then dissmissed to begin their investigation using manipulatives and materials they have are given/may select from. During this time each student is given a randomized role based on their drawn number for the session. Then students select strategies to solving the problem and collaborate using the strategies they've selected from our marh strategies card. Once they agree they provide feedback or ask questions in ways to proceed forth/close out the investigation task. The students identify their next steps and are in control of their own learning. I implement this strategy to catalyze stronger teamwork skills and lifelong collaborative abilities.This strategy is developing skill sets students will need in the upper grade levels as well as in college. Basic interpersonal communication and academic language profficiencies can only flourish when ample opportunities are created in the classroom.
Students communicate nonverbally through their hands that they agree, disagree, or want to add onto what someone previously said. Just think for a minute the amount of time we as teachers stop for interruptions. This strategy shows us that there are ways to effectively communicate with each other silently.