Blended for autonomy (and sanity)

I teach much of my lessons in a blended model. I don’t flip, but instead allow students to work on assignments on their own or in small groups, at somewhat of their own pace, most of the time.

Why? Well I could spout off all the scientific research for why this is great, but let me tell you some of my reasons that are in addition to that research:

1-The kids like it! Many like it for different reasons. Those reasons range from being able to work more independently, to being able to interact more with peers, to having choice in the classroom, to simply not having to hear their teacher drone on for another class period.

2-I get to work with my students on a small-group and individual basis more than if I was so teacher-centered. When the directions are on a doc and in a video, and students are engaged in a task that spans a longer time period, I’m able to rotate around the room and help students as much as needed.

3-This might be silly, but it’s huge for me. I don’t lose or wreck my voice. When I talk to the class as a whole for maybe 3 minutes a class period, I don’t have to raise my voice at all for anything. I can tell the days that I failed at blended learning almost just by how my voice feels.

4-The earlier point goes to my sanity as well but what really helps my sanity is the fact that blended learning decreases so many of the things that make teachers go crazy (behavior issues, herding cats feelings, not having time to differentiate, no time to work with the students who need it) and replaces it with just the opposite in a positive way. I am a much happier, healthier teacher when I run my class this way.

This past week in my 8th grade classroom, students did the following:

a-wrote their reflective journals when they wanted, looking back at my directional videos as needed

b-chose a documentary completely on their own that they wanted to watch and analyze

c-worked on creating a blueprint for a documentary they’d like to pitch to producers and created an infographic on Canva to illustrate it

As long as students were working, I was happy. As long as they asked others for help before me, or relied on my direction videos, then I was happy.

I would really, highly recommend trying some aspect of blended learning in your classroom as soon as possible.

Soon I’ll post about the tech tools which allow me to teach this way.

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Author: karinhogen

I teach middle school language arts and run an Edtech company, DocentEDU, on the side. Every day is an adventure in my classroom with technology!

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