5 Tips to Set Up a Blended Learning Classroom
5 Tips to Set Up Your Blended Learning Classroom
One of the biggest changes that I made in my teaching was to set up a blended learning classroom. Perhaps you’ve heard the term but aren’t really sure what it is. Blended learning is the incorporation of some sort of online learning into a lesson, where the student has some sort of control over the time or pace of their learning. There’s usually some form of traditional instruction included in a blended learning classroom.
Here are 5 quick tips you can implement if you’re interested in trying a blended learning lesson
Tip #1 : Start out with one or two lessons in a unit that lend themselves well to the addition of an online component.
By starting slowly, you have an opportunity to find relevant online components that will complement your lesson.
For example, I love to use a short video (no more than 15 minutes) as a way to explain one or two of the I Can statements that my students must complete. This may be a video that I’ve made myself or one that I have found online. Or I might attach one of my Powerpoint lessons to our Google Classroom for students to access. There will always be some form of notes for them to take along with the Powerpoint or a set of Cornell notes for students to answer questions with during the video for accountability.
Students will then rotate through this station in small groups. This can be ideal if you don’t have devices for all of the students in your classroom. You can have other groups doing other relevant activities at the same time, such as a demo, small group work, or a close reading activity.
Tip #2 : Make sure to set clear expectations for students if this is a new type of classroom setting for them.
Students may be getting up and moving around the room, or working in small groups. They must be able to stay on task and work fairly quietly, since you’ll be conducting the face-to-face teaching component during the same time as the other groups are working.
Tip #3: Try a Station Rotation Model as your blended learning model.
This is a fun, easy way to get started in blended learning. It’s exactly what it sounds like … students rotate through different stations completing different parts of the lesson. At one station you might have a few chrome books or computers set up for students to watch a video, run a simulation or do an online lab. At another station there might be a sorting activity, small group work, a hands-on lab, or some other manipulative activity. At the third station, students might meet with you for a face-to-face lesson or activity or you could work with them on some practice problems.
It’s helpful to have more than one of each station set up if you can … this prohibits any “traffic jams” at one particular station and makes it easier for students to work at their own pace without feeling pressured by another group, which is a key part of a blended learning classroom.
Tip #4: Use an Exit Ticket as a formative assessment.
This can simply be a short one or two question form or maybe a 5-question quiz covering the day’s lesson. Pick one or two especially important points from the lesson that you want to make sure students are getting. These formative assessments are designed so that you can get an idea of what students are understanding and where they’re confused. These can help drive instruction as you can plan to reteach the areas where students are foggy.
Tip #5: Enjoy the process!
I can honestly say that using blended learning in my classroom re-invigorated my teaching! Lecturing was never my favorite part of teaching, but for years I didn’t know how else to “cover” the mountain of material in my state curriculum. When I started turning more of the learning over to my students, I truly started to enjoy teaching again. I loved looking around my classroom and seeing the kids engaged and on task. It just did my heart good as a teacher! And to hear students say “Wow, this class went by fast!” was just music to my ears.
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Have you tried using blended learning in your classroom? How did it go? We’d love to hear about it!