Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Flex Mod Blended Learning Recording Tools and Options

Some teachers have requested technology tools that will aide in providing video resources pertaining specifically to content material.  These video recordings are ideally less than five minutes and will be viewed during student Personal Learning Time (PLT).  This is referred to as a Flipped Classroom.  Personally, I don't believe a complete flipped classroom is an idea that will work for the majority of content areas in a flex mod schedule. However, a blended classroom environment can be a perfect fit.  About two years ago, I taught a two day workshop on the Flipped Classroom Learning Experience.  Many of the resource from that will be helpful during this preparation phase.

Reasons for creating video resources for students:
  • Science - Demonstrate lab instructions for viewing prior to class
  • Math - Graphing calculator instructions for settings
  • English Language Arts - How to start a research paper
  • Social Studies - Project requirements
  • Foreign Language - Grammar rules
  • Physical Education - Game Rules and options for personal fitness time
  • FACS - Instructions for cooking/baking/prepping
  • Business - Spreadsheet formula set up
  • Agri-Science - Instructions for labs
  • All Subjects - answers and reflections
Tools For Recording Screens and Educators

Storing The Video

Google Drive

Everything YouTube

Organize YouTube Per Content

Monday, May 25, 2015

Flex Mod Yearly Planning Schedule (2015-2016)

Planning phases for courses in a flex mod schedule requires thinking that our teachers have not experienced. Mrs. Van Gheem-Rottier and Mrs. Titler collaborated to produce a yearly planner that could be used by teachers and teams of teachers to organize the upcoming year.

Because a Google Doc was used, teachers can collaborate at their own time and in their own place ideas pertaining to their class.  If a printed copy is desired for a collaboration time, that can be accommodated as well.

View and Make a Copy

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Small Group Leadership & Discussion In The Flex Mod Schedule

Almost all courses in the flex mod schedule have a small group connected with it that meets one to two times a week.  These small group discussions will include one instructor and 13-15 students.  Most small groups meet for one mod which is thirty minutes.

What should the learning environment look like in a small group setting?
Face to face conversation in a comfortable and safe atmosphere is first and foremost.  "Collaborative Learning Builds Deeper Understanding" is a documentary about a school that focuses on small group discussion as an integral aspect of learning.

Specifically, this part of the video demonstrates the Harkness-Style Roundtable Discussion.  As is shown in the video, the instructor describes the step by step process to developing a "great conversation" from day one.
To make the students feel as comfortable and safe as possible to be able to take risks that will create a good conversation, the instructor...
  • Asks, "What are the values implicit in sitting around this large, wooden, oval table?  Now, every classroom won't have that, but how can that type of environment be created in a classroom?  
    • Students respond with respect, listening to each other, and being courteous.
  • Creates the right geography in the classroom. She asks, "Can you all see each other? Can you make eye contact with your classmates?" If the students can't see each other, they adjust their chairs so that they can.
  • Always tells the students, "Check your ego at the door."  "Be willing to take risks, just have fun, and throw out ideas."  She adds, "if you throw something else out and it's not fully formed, that's great because somebody else can jump in and build on an idea."
  • Also starts with a reflective moment, a moment of silence, or a moment of writing.
While all educators may not feel comfortable with all of this at first, finding a comfortable, inviting atmosphere to conversation will create a tremendously, positive learning environment.

It is important to have a set of guidelines for the conversation. Watch how she describes one of the "discussion styles".  There are three roles students will fill during the discussion.
Finally, don't forget a key aspect to concluding the discussion.  Lastly, keep the conversation maps to see the progress of the small group.
Of course, all of this is NOT easy.  However, teachers have noticed that students will talk with them at the end of the small group session and say, "I didn't get to say everything I wanted to." That's where technology can continue the discussion.  Tools that can assist with this include

How does this look in other subject areas?

Harkness History

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Show What You Know - Spanish Guest Blogger

(Ms. Slusarek & Mrs. Titler) developed a unit for our Spanish III students where they were asked to identify and solve potential problems while traveling abroad.  Students were given the task of identifying a potential problem, brainstorming solutions/advice, and then asked to select a tech tool to share that information with other travelers.  Here are a few of the examples from my class in case you are interested.  (Mrs. Titler) was really happy with the results!

This group used a tool called Emaze that was really visually attractive. 

While all of these are in Spanish, they are incredible examples of students creating artifacts that "Show What They Know"

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Large Group Instruction Planning In The Flex Mod Schedule

Large Group Planning takes collaboration, preparation, and follow through to be an effective means of educating large groups of students.

Lesson Plans, Student Absent Documents, and Seating Charts are important resources for effectiveness.

Each template can be digitally copied or printed.  Choose digital or paper to meet the educator's needs.

Must be signed into Google Account for templates to work.
Large Group Lesson Plan Template

Student Absent? Email Them

LGI 1, 2, & SBS Seating Charts

Attend Lunch N' Learn to add input for improvement!

Outside of Pulaski Domain
Lesson Plan

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