Written by: Marcia Kish with DSD Professional Development
"Change the Space to Change their Mindset" Marcia Kish
Once a classroom teacher decides to change the learning space, the mindset of the learner changes. Flexible seating is one way to change the learning space. What does flexible seating mean? Different learning environments where students have the ability to work in a mini lesson with the teacher, by themselves, in a small group, standing up, sitting down, and a space to explore/create. To create flexible learning areas, a school and/or classroom teacher does not need to buy expense furniture to develop flexible learning environments he/she needs the ability to group the students in different learning areas. Some of the best learning spaces have come from free or found furniture.
How can we change learning mindset? The first thing a teacher needs to do is get rid of the rows. If the classroom is set up in rows facing the front of the classroom, the learner automatically assumes that they will be watching a slide show while the teacher delivers the information. The learner will take notes, sit quietly, and raise their hand when called upon. The photo below is a classic case of setting up a classroom in rows. Even though the school purchased high end flexible chairs the teacher has still aligned them into direct instruction grouping facing the front of the classroom. Take a moment to examine the photo and look at the tape marks on the floor. The tape marks indicate how far the student can travel while sitting in their chairs.
Generating Flexible Classroom Environments
I want to take a moment and restate that, "Changing the space does not mean spending thousands of dollars on furniture". The video below showcases how middle school teachers transformed a classroom with traditional desk into flexible learning spaces. When we entered the classroom all of the desk were facing forward but with team work and group discussion, we developed learning spaces that would meet the needs of a blended learning classroom. What are the learning spaces need for a blended learning classroom? In designing a blended learning environment, a classroom should have at least four designated areas for students to work and learn.
Creativity and Use of Space
When designing your space, be creative and think outside of the box. What once was five gallon buckets can now become stools and storage. What was once a plank of wood, can now become a digital content bar. What was once T.V. trays can now be an independent work area. There is no right or wrong way to set up the classroom as long as the students have the ability to learn in flexible seating and learning options. The video below showcases a 1st grade classroom. See if you can spot at least four different learning areas.
Steps to change your space
Do you want to change your classroom to a flexible learning environment? Then follow the steps below and before you know it, you will have a space where students can meet in a mini lesson, work independently, explore digital content, and work collaboratively while being creative, communicating, using critical thinking skills, and becoming globally connected
Classroom Design Challenge
The DSD Professional Development Team will be giving away a $100 dollar gift card to IKEA to one lucky classroom teacher. In order to win, send us a photo of your current classroom and tell us how you would like to change your learning environment. On September 25th, we will pick one lucky winner to receive the $100 dollars and a visit from the DSD PD team to help them redesign their classroom. Send your photos and classroom design ideas to email@example.com by September 24th.
The school year is winding down, the weather is getting nice, and garage sales will be all the buzz in the neighborhoods. With the focus on trying to implement creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking within the classrooms, garage sale finds can help to design choice board activities that blend into the curriculum and standards.
What to buy at a Garage Sale for the classrooms?
When I am shopping for my classrooms, I am looking for any of the following items.
Get the educational discount
Before you purchase the items for your classroom, explain to the people running the garage sale that you will be using the items in the classroom. Chances are they will give you a discount or even give you the items for free. Most American citizens are willing to help out the educational system and are willing to donate items to the classrooms. Don't be afraid to ask or share your story about how you will be using the items.
How to use the Garage Sale finds within the classroom?
Develop choice board activities for the students to complete that will encourage creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. The choice boards can run themselves once the students know how to use the materials, games, and resources. The following Choice Board is all based on Garage Sale finds and can be tied into any curriculum area.
App Dice- Wonderopolis.org
Create Something, Create Anything
Create a Voice QR Code
Students can take time to generate a voice QR Code on a topic or standard that showcases their knowledge and understanding of the content. Students can use either Seesaw.me or Vocaroo.com
Jenga Review and Practice
Roll the Dice and Create a story with StoryCubes. The story can be tied to content area and/or a free write story. I have seen schools that post the story on Google Docs and then other students add onto the story once they roll the dice.
Complete a QR Code Scavenger Hunt
Students love scavenger hunts. Generate your own QR Code Scavenger Hunt or use one that is all ready created for you. Sample QR Codes are listed below
Make a SMORE!
Students build an online poster that can be shared globally with other students and learners from across the globe. Check out www.smore.com to build your first Smore with the students. The graphic below showcase where a Smore has traveled.
Students travel to the different choice board activities while you are teaching a small group. Direction cards help the students to understand the task and idea behind the activities. I also make mini videos that show how to complete the task. Below is a sample of the direction cards for the choice board activities.
Learn more about tech tools and choice boards
We are hosting a two-day workshop on blended and personalized learning in Columbus, Ohio. We will be showcasing not only information about blended and personalized but also tech tools, STEM applications, Code.org, PBL, and much more. Learn more at www.dsdpdconference.com
The two-day event includes over 80+ sessions. Session titles include:
Two Amazing Keynote Speakers
We are excited to announce our two Keynote Speakers for the event.
Daily Schedule and Events
It is hard to believe that we can pack so much learning within two days. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium provides a perfect learning space in the Heart of Africa that overlooks the African Safari. Every 15, 30, and 55 minutes participants will have an opportunity to move, explore, and learn from educators from across the country. The daily schedule below demonstrates the quality of presenters that will be featured during the two-day event.
Sign Up Today!
As a blended and personalized learning coach, I get to travel all over to work with schools and educators on how to implement blended learning into the classroom. This past week, I was asked by the Mentor team to work with a couple of teachers to showcase what blended learning might look like when teaching a new concept to the students.
The teachers asked me to demonstrate to the students how to build and construct a digital portfolio using to website creator, Weebly. I knew that the students have not been exposed yet to digital portfolios and I was only given two class periods to work with the students. After planning with the teachers, we came up with the idea to generate Tribe groups.
What's a Tribe Group?
A Tribe group places four students together on one team, aka Tribe. Each member of their tribe was asked to go to a different activity for ten minutes. After the ten minutes were up, the tribe would get back together and they would share out what they had learned at the different activity.
How did the Tribe Groups Work?
In my opinion, the Tribe Groups were a great success. Each person was able to share out what he/she learned at the different activity and they all worked on their communication skills in order to get across the main ideas and concepts.
What were the different activities?
The students had the opportunity to go to one of the four activities. Below the actives are listed and will showcase a quick example of the directions, materials, and resources for each part.
One student from each tribe came to a mini lesson with me, Marcia Kish. As soon as the students came to my lesson, they were asked to Google Search themselves. This gave me time to make sure all the students were in the right locations and that they understood what to do while at that activity.
Next the students logged into PearDeck.com to view the mini lesson prevention. The presentation broke the big idea of building a portfolio into six steps. (See slide examples below).
Since, I was using the program PearDeck. All of the slides and notes went directly to the student's Google Drive. They were able to share out the notes with their Tribe during the sharing session.
One Tribe member was asked to participate in a 4C's Gallery Walk activity. The student had to travel around to five different posters. Each poster focused on the different elements of the student portfolio. Needless to say, this was the most popular activity because the students got a chance to write on the walls.
Do you have a video that I can watch?
Here is a video that you can watch that will highlight the different activities along with the directions that I gave the students. Notice, that I did not go into much detail about the activity, instead the students were just told where to go and the directions were located at each activity station.
Other post to read
For this lesson, we will breaking apart the class into four groups. The mini lesson will be provided to a 1/4 of the group every 10 minutes. The facilitator, aka teacher, will showcase the five key components from the book Mindset, by Carol Dewk. The video below will show case what the mini lesson can look like. For a copy of the Keynote, click here.
Watch the video below to get a quick glimpse of what the mini lesson would look like with your classroom or professional development workshop.
A 1/4 of the class will be starting out in the Independent activity. The students can read the articles together or by themselves depending on their lexile levels. If you have low readers, record yourself reading the articles so the students can listen to the content. Once the students have finished reading about growth and fixed mindset, have them take a mindset quiz. (Again, for lower leveled readers, record yourself reading the questions and/or have the students read the questions together)
After 10 minutes, the students will rotate to the Digital Content activity. (Checklist can be found in the lesson plan template. Click here to get your copy)
Click on the download button below to get your copy of the printable articles.
A 1/4 of the class will be working on digital content. They will be watching videos on how the brain works as well as understanding the difference between growth and fixed mindset.
The students will click on the provided YouTube playlist found in the Lesson Plan when they reach this activity. After 10 minutes, the students will rotate to the 4C's Activity.
Click here to get a copy of the lesson plan and the YouTube Mindset Playlist.
A 1/4 of the class will start out in the 4C's activity. The students will first sort the growth and fixed mindset phrases. The students will complete this activity in groups of two or three.
After the phrases have been sorted, the students will the dice to see what they have to create with that phrase. See the video below to understand how the 4C's activity will work. Click here to get your copy of the App Dice
Learn and Explore
Finding good technology tools that allow for creativity, communication, critical thinking, collaboration, and global connection can be difficult for grades 6-12. However, we have come up with our top 15 Tech Tools that can be dropped into any middle of high school classroom.
Click the icon below to download a free copy of the Tech Tools
While walking down the hallway after our workshop on the Key Ingredients of Blended and Personalized Learning, I was asked to participate in CUE Live hosted by Chris Walsh. The idea of the interview was to share out resources, suggestions, and tips for setting up a blended or personalized learning classroom.
The DSD Professional Development team was prevailed to present an hour and half workshop on the Key Ingredients of Blended and Personalized Learning. This workshop focused in on allowing participants to experience what it feels and looks like in a blended learning environment while learning about the aspects of blended.
We broke the lesson into five key areas
We concluded the 90 minute session with a quick overview of tech tools that would fit into a blended learning classroom. One participant asked me to name just three tools that I would put into an English Language Arts environment. My answer: Newsela, Actively Learn, and No Red Ink
Download the slides from the presentation by clicking the link below.
Grab a copy of the packet from the session by clicking on this link. Use the code: march17 to receive 50% off any of the products in the store.
The DSD Professional Development Team had the previage to be guest at the Newsela Breakfast on the 16th of March. Not only did we enjoy a fantastic breakfast but we had the chance to talk with amazing educators from around the country. Thanks to Newsela for letting us join in on the fun and for breakfast.
One of the most common questions, we get while coaching teachers how to implement blended learning into the classroom, is "How do you get students to turn in their work?" There is no magic wand that will get students to turn in work in a traditional classroom or a blended learning environment. However, we have found a couple of ways that gets 90%+ turn in rate.
This blog post will go over the following items to help keep track of student work as well as help to grade work faster.
A student checklist is generated by the teacher. The checklist contains items the students must complete within a given amount of time. Some teachers give a checklist for the day, the week, and even for a particular unit. We have found that teachers tend to revise their checklist multiple times before it fits perfectly into the different blended learning phases. The following tabs will showcase a Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3 samples of checklist.
Note: these checklist were generated by the teachers we coach. The school information, teacher names are located at the bottom of each checklist.
Phase 1 blended learning checklist are normally handed out to students on a daily basis. We coach the teachers into developing a checklist early in the implementation stages of blended learning so that way the students get a costumed to using the checklist.
Phase 1 looks like the following:
The following is an example of a Phase 1 daily checklist. Even if a timer is being used, it is important to start to train the students how to fill out the checklist so when the timer is removed, students understand the concept of the checklist.
Contact to visit any of the schools that we work with that are currently in the implementation phases of blended learning. The schools are located mostly in Ohio, Indiana, California, New Jersey, and in New York.
Phase 2 transitions away from all of the students moving through the same activities from Phase 1 to allowing the students to move at his/her own pace through differentiated activities. The students are given the choice in place to learn by themselves, in a small group, with the teacher, online and offline.
The below checklist showcase content delivered in within a weekly timeframe. What you might not see is the fact that activities are differentiated based on the data collected from teacher formative/summative assessments and digital content.
Both Pataskala and Etna Elementary Schools are a part of the Southwest Licking School District, which is located outside of Columbus, Ohio. Both schools have teachers that are striving towards developing Phase 2 and Phase 3 learning environments. Fill out the following for to plan a school visit to see these amazing blended learning educators in action.
Phase 3 Overview: Students are working through the content at his/her own pace, place, and path. Project Based Learning and 20% projects become part of the checklist. Also, note that the students have the ability to test out of different topics in Phase 3. Therefore, a group of students can be in chapter 3 while an other group could be in Chapter 4.
This is a unit checklist in a Phase 3 learning environment in Honors Geometry class. Students were given the checklist at the beginning of the unit. The checklist included
The above checklists were generated by C. Fisher from Mentor High School. Fill out the below form to schedule a school visit to Mentor High School to see other fantastic educators implementing blended and project based learning.
Other Resources for Blended Learning
One of our favorite and most recommend language arts technology tools is Newsela. Newsela takes a current event article and transposes it into four different Lexile levels. Which means that a student can read the article at his/her own reading level and still be able to talk about the article with the whole classroom.
What we have noticed in the classroom is that the teacher assigns the article, the students read the article and then the teacher looks at the data from the online assessments. The teacher can then use the data to teach a mini lesson on the concepts that the students might not understand. For example, main idea, sequence of events, vocabulary words...
After hearing that the teachers are having a hard time engaging conversation with the students about the Newsela articles, we have developed a Newsela Scavenger Hunt that will go along with an article. Our example is used with the article about Bao Bao a US Panda Bear Bond for China
Watch and Learn
Watch the video on the main idea of the scavenger hunt. Stop the video to scan the different QR Codes
Step by Step Explanation of the Scavenger Hunt
Print out all of the attached documents and QR Codes found at the bottom of this blog post.
Can QR Codes work with Chromebooks?
Yes, QR codes can work with Chromebooks, Surface Pros, smart phones, and iPads. Below is a list of some of the QR Code Scanners that you can use with the different devices.
This activity can be used in the 3rd through 12th grade classroom. The Newsela article can be read at five different Lexile levels. Some of the activities can be modified ago fit the needs of the different grade levels.
This activity can be tied into the following content areas:
Length of Project
Blended and Personalized Learning Classrooms
If you are teaching in a Blended Learning environment, then this activity would be a part of the rotations. It took a class five days to complete during their rotation activities.
Traditional Classroom Environment
This activity can be broken up into two days. Start the whole group out reading the article and once they have finished reading the article, their group can search for the first QR Code (storyboardthat)
Free QR Code Scavenger Hunt Print Outs
Checkout our other Resources
Marcia Kish - Blended and Personalized Learning coach that designed the Three Phases of Blended Learning