So what is Blended Learning?Whenever I have the opportunity to speak to teachers about technology integration, I often tell the story about the very first time I was invited to speak to a group of superintendents and principals on the topic of blended learning. I was very excited and graciously accepted the invitation to speak to this group of educational leaders, but then actually had to quickly jump on the internet to look up a definition of what exactly blended learning was!
There are lots of shapes and models that blended learning can take, and it certainly varies in format from school to school, teacher to teacher, and even lesson to lesson! But a quick, uncomplicated definition is this: Blended learning is when we combine traditional instruction and practice along with digital instruction and practice for the purpose of best meeting the needs of all learners. Within the lessons, there should be some elements of student choice about the time, place, pace, or path of the instruction and practice.
The teachers with whom I have the pleasure of working have worked diligently to implement a blended learning model across many of their subject areas. They use technology to have students access and review content, interact with each other, and SHOW what they know in a variety of creative ways. In our blended learning model, Google Classroom acts as the platform for lesson delivery.
Here is an example of Blended Learning in Second Grade Math:
As with most instruction, we started with a standard as a goal or desired learning outcome. Second grade was working on Place Value in math and were looking to address the following standards:
- CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.NBT.A.1 Understand that the three digits of a three-digit number represent amounts of hundreds, tens, and ones; e.g., 706 equals 7 hundreds, 0 tens, and 6 ones.
- CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.NBT.A.3 Read and write numbers to 1000 using base-ten numerals, number names, and expanded form. (from corestandards.org)
This lesson began with a short whole-class review about the many ways the students could show a number, including the standard form of the number itself, a count of hundreds, tens, and ones, showing the number with base-ten blocks, the written number name, and the expanded form of a number.
|Numbers Five Ways using Google Drawings|
The students then worked through a number of math stations around the room. There were some math manipulatives with self-checking flashcards, and also a variety of online activities, including YouTube videos, ABCya! interactive games, and an assignment on Scootpad.com - a standards-based skills-practice website. Google Classroom was used to deliver the content:
|Variety of resources offered in Google Classroom|
|Interactive online practice with ABCya.com|
|Hands-on practice with place value blocks|
|Data collected in Scootpad skills practice assignment|
The teacher monitored the students' progress a number of ways. She could watch them as they used the base-ten blocks to build the number either with the online games or with the physical blocks and flashcards. She could also check the data offered by the Scootpad assignment. As necessary, the teacher pulled individual and small groups of students aside for quick reteaching and support.
|Individual support with teacher|
After all of the practice, students used Google Drawings to show a number using all five forms they had practiced using this Google Drawings Template and a random number they pulled off of a flashcard. To get your own editable copy of the template, after opening it, choose "File" and then "Make a Copy."
|Numbers Five Ways in Google Drawings|
Putting it all together:
In this blended lesson, students were able to choose from a wide variety of interactive digital content, and get immediate feedback as they progressed through the activities. They were able to demonstrate understanding in more than one way as well!
Tips for Little Learners:
- Start small! You don't have to try everything at once. Give your kiddos a chance to become familiar and comfortable with the tools.
- Have students work in pairs to start. They will be able to hold each other accountable for staying on task!
- Model! Model! Model!
Lesson Resources:CoreStandards.org - Second Grade Math
YouTube Place Value Videos:
- Place Value Lesson
- Place Value First Grade - Tens and Ones
- Place Value Song
- eSpark Learning: Place Value - Tens and Ones Instructional Video
ABCYA Base Ten Games:
Scootpad.com - Common Core Skills Practice
Google Drawing Template