End or Start the School Year with a
Once the students have an idea, have them write the ideas down on fish cutouts. Why fish cutouts? Because they are fun and it goes along with the Hook idea. Plus, students like to have a variety. Instead of having the students write on post-it notes, paper, or in a Google Form, let them write the ideas on a fish. If you don't want to cut out fish, you can buy them from Amazon. Trust me; you will get a lot more ideas if you let the students write on fish cutouts.
The Bracket Challenge
Start to Blend Your Project Based Leaning
April Classroom Visits at Cypress Fairbanks ISD
Last week, I was able to make one last visit to the elementary and middle schools at Cypress Fairbanks ISD. Let's say that I was blown away by the blended learning progress both the teachers and the students made within one school year. The photos and videos below are showcasing a small snippet of what was happening within the individual classrooms.
Rennell Elementary School
After the kickoff workshop, Mrs. Akers and I traveled around the building visit each classroom. The classroom visits provided me with the background information that I needed to design a Blended Learning Action plan for next year. The action plan is designed around generating weekly, monthly, and yearly blended learning goals. Learn more about the Action Plan by clicking on this link.
Mini Lesson, Studio Expert Tags, & Choice Boards
Providing choice to the students allows them the opportunity to pick a learning style that best works for their individual needs. Even during review sessions, students still enjoy choice.
Student Ownership can start with studio experts. Let the studio experts answer questions and help guide each other students through the checklist while the teachers are in the middle of a mini-lesson. Visit this link to learn more about studio experts.
Organization and Flexible Seating
Future Ready Skills and Gamification
Twitter Post from Rennell
Danish Elementary School
Progression Boards and Studio Choice Boards
Future Ready Skills
First grade students are demonstrating their hydraulic rabbit for the invention showcase.
Fifth grade students reviewing for the science STAAR test with www.jeopaardylabs.com
Twitter Feed from Danish
Millsap Elementary School
Future Ready Skills
Kirk Elementary School
Future Ready Skills
Blended Learning in Action
Want to get started with Blended Learning?
Dean Middle School
Want to get started with Blended Learning?
During this time of the year, I always get asked the following question. "Do I start all over with Phase One at the start of the school year?" and my answers is "Yes."
At the start of the year new school year, the teachers should return to Phase One. Phase One sets the stage for Phase Two, Phase Three, and Phase Four of the blended learning process. Most teachers start the school year out with new students. (Some teachers might loop with their students but it still good to start back in Phase One.) The students will need to know where to find the resources, how to log into the different applications, how to turn in class work, what the expectations are for each learning studio. Therefore, by moving back to Phase One, the teacher can make sure the students understand the blended learning procedures before moving to Phase Two.
Another question that I tend to hear this time of year is "I would like to start to blend next year, what should I do?" My answer starts typically with a question, "What does your current classroom or school look like? Then based on their response, I will follow up with a blended learning action plan. The action plan has typically three main goals to complete by the end of the school year.
What is a Blended Learning Action Plan
Learn More About Blended Learning
12 Future Ready Activities for ANY Classroom
What do you mean by Future Ready Skills?
Don't over think the Future Ready Skills activities, especially when deploying Phase One of the Three Phases of Blended Learning. Future Ready skills include creating, collaborating, communicating, connecting, and using critical thinking skills. The one thing that we always look for in the future ready skills is to make sure the students can manipulate the content skills in a meaningful way and typically, they are working together with a partner or small group to develop to showcase their understanding of the concepts.
Students at Thornton Middle School are putting together a math puzzle that relates to finding volume. If the students put together the puzzle correctly, th scanned QR code will congratulate them.
Level Up in Future Ready Skills
Quick Start Guide
Resources for the Graphic
Episode 03: The importance of data folders and weekly data meetings in a blended learning classroom.
The use of data pushes educators from a Phase 1 to Phase 2 learning environment in four out of the ten areas on the Blended Learning Continuum.
Step 1: Start with Checklist Folders
What is in the folder?
Step 2: Print
Step 3: Start Small
Another tip that I share with the classroom teachers is to start with one piece of data that they fill is the most important and comfortable for the students to keep track of on their own. I recommend starting with a progress chart for pre and post assessments. Students can easily graph their pre-assessment scores and then chart their post-assessment scores. I also like to have a reflection or goal setting sheet that goes along with the progress chart but if that is too much to take on all at once, then just go with tracking their scores.
Step 4: The Traveling Data Folder
- In the first few moments of the mini-lesson, the teacher should take a quick glance at the checklist, initial any activity that was completed, and remove any completed work from the back of the folder.
- The student will take the data folder to the independent studio where they will place any of the "In Progress" work in the front pocket, add any new data points to the data folder, and check the checklist for upcoming activities, as well as mark of any completed work.
- The students will take the data folder to the Future Ready Studio. The students can place the completed activities into the folder as well as mark off the completed Future Ready activity on the checklist.
- The data folders will even travel to the digital content studio with the students. The checklist will indicate what digital content activity to complete as well as how long to spend at the digital content area.
Step 5: Data Meetings
Other teachers conduct Wednesday data meetings. This mid-week checkpoint helps to ensure that the students are getting their work done on the checklist as well as answering any questions, checking in with the students, and adding any weekly data to the data folder.
Some teachers conduct their data meetings on Friday. The Friday data meetings are the final check-in for the week. The students need to meet with the teacher to showcase the completion of the checklist from the week, look at the pre and post assessment data, and set goals for the following week.
The Best Parts About Data Folders
Book a Six hour or Two-day workshop for this summer or next school year. We are also taking on new schools for next school that are interested in onsite coaching. Finally, learn more about our virtual coaching options. Contact us today!
Side Note: I have used and demonstrated the following timers in the K-12 classrooms. Today's classroom video showcases a 1st grade classroom using one of the techniques. The photos will show sample Middle and High School classrooms using the same tools.
Side Note: Kitchen timers are cheap and make good timers. I would recommend finding some that don't ding so loud.
After the kitchen timers were a bust, I suggested sand timers to the teachers. Sand timers don't make noise, and now Amazon sells them in all different time increments. Click on the photo of the sand timers, and it will take you to Amazon. The students like the sand timers and the teachers love the fact that they don't beep.
Side Note: I found two sets of cube timers on Amazon. The cube timers were meant for circuit workouts but they work just fine in the blended learning mini-lesson.
Side Note: I highly recommend the Gym Boss for every student, but they are pricey. Therefore, to start, give the gym boss to those students that have a hard time transitioning.
This timer was showcased to me by a team of fourth-grade teachers at Millsap Elementary School. (Thank you, Ashley, for sharing your timer idea with me). This timer is rechargeable, glows, and has a lot of different time choices. That's right, it glows. If anyone knows me, you know that I love things that light up. I was instantly drawn to this timer the first time I saw it. (Love at first sight)
Below are a list of my favorite count down timers.
Episode 01: The Three A's Game
One of my favorite things to do with my family over the holidays is to play games. I love putting down the devices and spending time with the family. With 20 nieces and nephews from the ages of 20-5 months, it is sometimes hard to find a game that we all can play.
My sister-in-law, Emily, showcased a great game this past December that we all can play. She called it Any, Act, and Answer. The Three A's.
How to play the Three As
Pass out three post-it-notes to each player (Note I tore off the sticky part of the post-it-note to make it easier to open
Pass out writing pen to each person.
Once everyone has a post-it-note and pen. Ask each person to write on one post-it-note
- A person (This person can not be in the room)
- A place
- A thing (This thing cannot be in the room)
Next, fold each of the pieces of paper and place into a basket or a bowl
Time to play
Team B player will hold the basket for Team A
Team A will try to get her team to guess the word on the card. If they get the word correct, then toss the card on the floor or on the table. If the word is not guess or if the player wants to pass, the word goes back into the basket.
After the 40 seconds, it is now Team B to guess the words. The player for Team B will try to get his team to guess as many words as possible by only saying words. Remeber no acting. Follow the same rules as Team A.
A new team player will come up to the front of the room. Repeat the process until all of the words are out of the basket.
To start round two, replace all of the guess words back into the basket. When the team members come up to the front of the room, they will be only able to act out the word. Repeat the same proceess as listed above for round one. Once all of the words are guessed, count up the number correct for each team.
Declare a Winner
The team with the most total points wins!
How to use this activity in the classroom
The first time the students play the game, have them write down a person, place, and a thing. This way they can get used to playing the game. After the students know how to play the game, try out some of the following ideas listed below for the different subject areas.
English Language Arts
What is a Future Ready Learning Studio?
In the Three Phases of Blended Learning workshops, we refer to a Future Ready Learning Studio as a place in the room where students can showcase their understanding of a concept through
What is your learning style?
Take a twenty question quiz to find out your learning style. After the student complete the activity, print out their results and add the document to their student profile cards or data folders.
Using Dry Erase Dice in a future ready learning studio
Future Ready Learning Studio Misconception
Monday - the students roll the dice to learn new vocabulary words
Tuesday - the students can play a game of charades to practice the words
Wednesday - the students can build a song that helps them to remember the words
Thursday - the students record the song on FlipGrid or Seesaw.me
Friday - the students listen or watch other group presentations.
Learn More with Marcia Kish
This is not a dream classroom. This is really happening
The Three R's to Student Ownership
As a blended learning coach, one of the very first things I look for in a classroom is the relationship between the teacher and the students. If the teacher has designed a classroom where she is the CEO of the learning environment and takes time to listen to the needs and wants of the students, then the students will be more apt to build a working relationship with the teacher. According to Brown, this does not mean to be authoritarian but rather be firm with the rules and draw a line in the sand on what behaviors are acceptable.
Building classroom relationships with the students should not be overlooked. One of the tips that we point out to teachers is to meet in a small group with each student every day. A mini-lesson can be set up where the teacher pulls groups of students back to work through a math problem, a science experiment, a timeline, or critical aspects of a novel. Even if a group of students does not need small group instruction, we still find it very valuable to meet even for a couple of minutes to check-in with the students.
One of the teachers that I have recently worked with said to me "I can not believe how much more I know about my students now that I am delivery my content in a small group. I am looking forward to parent-teacher conferences this year due to that I have so much to share with the parents. Why didn't I do this years ago?" J. George
Mini-Lessons help build student relationships
Changing the classroom pedagogy or redesigning the way a lesson is delivered to the students can trigger the rollercoaster effect. According to Richard Fedler and Rebbecca Brent, the students go through a series of emotions when they have to take ownership of the learning process. Those emotions sometimes resemble a rollercoaster ride.
Learn More from Marcia Kish
What are Paper Circuits?
Paper circuits are becoming more and more popular in the hobby electronics world. The easy availability of craft-like materials and increasing abundance of new products has created a really unique ecosystem for crafters looking to make the leap to electronics projects. This guide is an overview of materials and techniques available to paper circuit crafters.
What does the kit come with?
How can I use it in my classroom?
- Create the paper ciricuit
- Write a poem to go along with the paper circuit Valentine.
- Learn more about circuits and create their own paper circuit template
- Make predictions on how much copper tape will be need to complete the circuit
- Practice write a friendly letter and addressing and envelope to mail the paper circuit
- Customize the paper circuit with their own art work
Marcia Kish - Blended and Personalized Learning coach that designed the Three Phases of Blended Learning
Jeff Kish - Coding Expert that showcases how to implement coding into the classroom.