Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Four Strategies for Blending and Flipping Your Classroom

Technology can help teachers “Ignite Learning” in the classroom by promoting literacy development and critical thinking. The ability to communicate and create is what sparks learning.

“Kids these days” are just wired to operate in a digital environment, which enables them to take control of their education. This technology captivates students and makes them desire to learn more about the content. 

Elite and innovative educators are “Blending and Flipping the Classroom” in order to meet the diverse needs of students. The numerous FREE online resources available can create a classroom that extends beyond normal school hours and walls.  

This provides students with more flexible opportunities for peer interaction, learning the content, and developing technology skills. “Blending and Flipping the Classroom” and in-person environments are really the best of both worlds because students receive the benefit of face-to-face interaction with more opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. 

“Blending and Flipping the Classroom” consists of a combination of online learning using simulations, videos, readings, and forums in addition to small group differentiated instruction facilitated by the teacher. These instructional methods are appealing to digital natives. 

Need some tips on how to engage students in a 21st century way? Check out these resources! 

1. In the classroom, I use video clips from Discovery Education and Safari Montage to “Ignite Learning”. Our school district pays for an annual subscription to these websites. 

In addition to these resources, I also post videos on my classroom website from Khan Academy, TeacherTube, Vimeo, PBS Learning Media, and EDpuzzle.  

Khan Academy (khanacademy.org) is a non-profit educational organization providing video tutorials and interactive exercises for a variety of subjects and grade levels. Their Virtual Teacher Workshop demonstrates how to create classes, manage students, collect data, and provide feedback and much more. 

TeacherTube (teachertube.com) is a video sharing website similar to, and based on, YouTube. Teachers can also view audio, documents, photos, and blogs. Teachers can register and upload files for students or parents. Teachers can also upload students’ videos in order celebrate their work.  

Vimeo (vimeo.com) is another popular video sharing and social networking site. A community of professionals knows it for high-qualilty videos. It has a cleaner layout with no advertisements. 

PBS Learning Media (pbslearningmedia.org) features images, video, audio files, lesson plans, background essays, and discussion questions. Designed and aligned with the Common Core State Standards.

EDpuzzle (edpuzzle.com) allows users to select a video and customize it. Crop, edit, record audio, and add questions to make an engaging presentation or lesson.

Posts on websites do not always have to be videos. They can be readings and articles to helps students with literacy.

CK-12 (ck12.org) provides open, customizable educational textbook resources aligned with state curriculum standards tailored to meet student and teacher needs. The site breaks down traditional book chapters into smaller, bite-size pieces that may be easier for the kids to digest.

Newsela (newsela.com) is an innovative way to build reading comprehension with nonfiction that’s always relevant: daily news. Makes it easy for an entire class to read the same content, but at a level that’s just right for each student.

2. I facilitate the use of the Internet in order to have students conduct research, collaborate with classmates, and establish an online classroom presence. Students enjoy their time posting comments to a blog or on a social media site.

For my classroom blog, I use Google Blogger (blogger.com). Students can also create their own blog in order to show and present their work. 

Blogger allows users to chose from different artistic templates. It also has widgets that users can use anytime to insert HTML codes, pictures, slideshows, links, videos, and much more.  

Edmodo (edmodo.com) is a secure social media site accessible through a code you generate in order to invite students. Teachers of all grade levels are using Edmodo to post assignments and allow student discussion. 

Students can also upload assignments, take quizzes, and receive alerts. This is an excellent resource for sharing content with students while keeping them socially engaged.  

3. Graphic organizers, diagrams, and other tools can help focus student learning depending on the topic. This allows the teacher to have more time to assist students with work during class time and provides more opportunities for review at home. 

Quizlet (quizlet.com) allows teachers to create flashcards to help students’ remember and study vocabulary. There are also study tools and educational games for students to use. 

Teachers can choose from the library of flashcards already made by others. There are six study modes, 18 languages, and it is very easy to share on a classroom website.

InstaGrok (instaGrok.com) is a great tool because it allows students to visually research a topic. Students use a graphical map that shows how concepts connect using key facts, links, images, and videos.  

InstaGrok allows teachers to monitor students’ research and note-taking activity. Up to 200 students can be linked to your teacher dashboard.

PhET Interactive Simulations (phet.colorado.edu) 
covers diverse topics in science and math. The list can be sorted by grade levels, language, and the type of interaction. 

Simulations assist with online engagement. There is also activities for the classroom available on this site. 

4. There are many ways to create a flipped classroom. Teachers need a “Face of the Classroom” in order to provide a location to share these online learning resources with students and parents. 

Weebly (education.weebly.com) is perfect for creating classroom websites and student e-portfolios. This resource allows teachers and students to express themselves using a variety of multimedia tools. 

Weebly consists of an easy to use drag and drop website editor. Teachers can protect all student websites with a password in just one click.   

Remind (remind.com) is a communication tool that helps teachers connect instantly with students and parents. They receive it as a text message or e-mail. 

Teachers can also send photos, documents, and links. This is an excellent way to effectively communicate the resources available on your “blended classroom” website.

Students and parents need weekly communication and feedback in the form of a text message or e-mail, published website, and the use of an on-line grade book. 

Survey Monkey (surveymonkey.com) makes creating and sending surveys and assessments easy. Allows teachers to make smarter decisions with data. 

It is important for educators to be reflective about their teaching in order to improve. This is an excellent way to obtain student and parent input.  

My technology goal this school year is to integrate more blended learning tools into our classroom. Look at these Flipping Tools being used in the Chippewa Valley Schools (click here). 

This post was published by Corwin Connect (click here), Michigan Education Voice Fellowship (click here), and Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning (click here). 

n a listen and learn style for the theme of innovative models for teaching and learning, it was presented at the 2013 Get SMART and 2014 Shaking Up Learning Conferences (Sponsored by Rochester Community Schools and Chippewa Valley Schools) . 

In 2015, it was also presented to teaching professionals at the Kansas School for the Deaf, Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) Conference, and 
Michigan Digital Learning Conference.   

Many of the ideas in this post were taught to me at the Macomb Intermediate School District. The workshop series was titled "Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works".