Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Designing a Blended Classroom

Today has been all about taking a break from trying to plan content and curriculum, and instead focusing on and planning out the other major aspects of my class: my classroom setup, and my class structure.

My Classroom Setup

This year, I will be teaching 2 of my 4 classes (and 2 of my 3 geometry courses) in a computer lab, that is shaped like a W. This location has it's benefits in blended learning, for sure, but it also has it's drawbacks to mathematical learning.

From the blended learning standpoint, I couldn't be happier to have access to high quality performance computers-- 20 inch iMacs. My students will be able to access their ALEKS content with little trouble, use the computers for any Geogebra, or other similar product, activity, and view any of the instructional videos with ease.

From the problem-solving mathematics teacher standpoint, I will miss students having work space to use manipulatives, as well as grouped desks to promote group activity and collaboration. The communication factor between students will be decreased with the students facing the perimeter of the classroom.

My Class Structure

As I have been thinking and planning today, I see my class being structure more of as a blended class environment than a flipped class environment. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that, as I truly want to give flipped instruction a chance. My thought is that I will get some of the general logistics of my blended class planned out now, re-read some of the books and blogs that inspired me to try Flipping and then rework my thoughts and plans.

For now, I've got my neon Sharpies working over-time as the jumbled thoughts in my head are starting to sort themselves out.

Class is broken down into thematic units, and inside of those units students will be addressing Essential Questions. The structure of my class will help me to assess my students' true mastery of the competencies and Essential Questions.

As part of my class structure, students will be required to:

  • Collaborate with others
  • Demonstrate understanding through Parallel Tasks & Open questions
  • Complete weekly project or problem challenges 
  • Complete Super-Item assessments
  • Keep a Mathematics Binder
    • Notes & Quizzes
    • Group Work
    • Project Work
    • Parallel Tasks & Open Questions
    • Super-Items
    • Portflio of Best Works
      • Students will flag or transfer their best works from the unit to the Portfolio section, which I will assess using the competency grading scales to help determine a student's mastery level.

Now that I've got that figured out, I'm going to let my brain soak up the awesomeness, and then get back to planning out the first unit... Parallel tasks, videos, collaborative work, and super-items in all.

Wish me luck!