Written by: Charity Dodd
One of the top concerns for teachers when implementing blended learning strategies is how to manage the students. It is a legitimate concern since students aren’t used to learning in a flexible environment. Students have to be trained to be independent and work in groups successfully. Teachers don’t have to throw out everything they know about classroom management.
There are still rules to follow. Develop the classroom management guidelines as a class so students will take ownership.
Example: Blended Learning Guidelines
Once your class has developed the guidelines, teach them what the guidelines mean. Make sure everyone agrees on what is meant by each guideline. What do they look and sound like?
1. Develop technology guidelines. Teachers should have guidelines for technology use. Have students help develop these guidelines. Guidelines might include:
2. Classroom setup. Arrange your classroom so that you can easily monitor student devices, especially when you are working in a mini lesson.
Below is an example of a first grade classroom setup from Fairbanks Elementary School in Milford, Ohio
3. Develop a routine for transitions and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
Let students know how much time they have at each station and allow them to be aware of remaining time so they can monitor themselves. Turn on and off lights when it is time to transition.
One method I’ve seen is a teacher uses a 1-2-3 method
4. Use everyday tools to support classroom management.
Incorporate push lights for students who have questions and who are not working with the teacher. This will eliminate interruptions and distractions. Once students have exhausted their resources for help and still need the teacher, they push the light to turn it on. The teacher is then aware that the student needs help. You can purchase these for $1.00/light at places like Dollar Tree. You can even write on them with dry erase markers!
5. Implement digital tools for classroom management.
7. Assign Roles to students in the classroom such as a Lab Manager who can help students with minor technology issues for example.
8. Plan B Option for those times when technology isn’t working.
9. Be flexible. If something isn’t working, change it up. Try something new or different. Ask the students what they think might work.
10. Student Contracts. Create contracts for students to take ownership of their behavior. For example, a contract can be created for flexible seating. If a student isn’t successful using flexible seating, the teacher and student can agree on next steps.
Practice classroom procedures in the blended learning classroom. Remember that a loud classroom doesn’t mean loss of control.
Checkout our other blog post on blended learning
Jeff Kish - I.T. person determined to help deliver technology into the classroom.