Hello, ladies and gentlemen. Today we're going to be looking at schedule and time within a blended learning environment. For today's lesson I've chosen a quote by Lord Chesterfield, which states, "I recommend to you to take care of the minutes, for the hours will take care of themselves." I absolutely love this quote, and I think it applies to school and teaching really nicely. If we as teachers can help take care of those little details, the rest of the work in the classroom will really in many ways take care of itself.
Now, by the end of the lesson today, you will be able to understand the power of schedule and time to empower students' learning. You'll also be able to explain the main components for an effective blended classroom.
First, let's take a look at blended learning environments, specifically from the vantage point of schedule and time. I really want to look at the power of scheduling and time, specifically as it is able to empower students in learning. And the major question that you want to think about when you think about the schedule and time in your classroom is, what is it I want my students to know and be able to do?
Once you've figured that out, you then should work backwards. If this is where I want my students to get to, let me figure out the amount of time I'm going to need to get them there. Whenever I schedule, I always give myself more time than I predict will actually be needed with in a various element for my students. You always want to do this because every class is going to look different, and I would much rather have the opportunity to add additional learning elements for my students in the classroom because we've gone so quickly through the material and we have extra time than be crunched at the end and be pushing, pushing, pushing our students to get and be able to do more than they were able to in the time I allowed them.
Now, in order to look at that, how we are going to schedule up that time, it's important to focus in on the main components of blended learning environments. When we understand all of the elements that go into our learning environment, it ensures that we give enough time in our schedule to incorporate all of those elements.
First and foremost, I want to focus in on the element of the flipped classroom or flipped components within your classroom. This helps with flexibility in your schedule because the flipped mentality looks at what will the students do outside of the classroom time. If you remember that there is time for students to spend outside of your class engaging in this information, that can help free up to do more in the class.
Now, the one caveat I will say with this is that it is important to take one step back when you are looking at what you're asking students to do outside of the classroom and remember that you are not the only teacher asking them to do things outside of the classroom time. You also want to make sure you pay attention to the students that you have in your school. Some teachers will be in a school environment where students do have a significant amount of time after school and in the evening to complete the work. Other teachers will find themselves in schools where a significant portion of their student body is responsible for helping to take care of a family member, is responsible for working at a family business or job. And this doesn't mean that you have to change your expectations or your standards, but you want to make sure that you take all of that into account so that you can set up reasonable schedules for the students that you have.
Another major element of a blended learning environment is the use of a formative assessment. These assessments help to look at where the student is in reaching a specific standard before, during, and after class. And there are many different ways that you can use those formative assessments to help plan your schedule and your time management.
Another element of blended learning environments is flexible grouping. You want to make sure that you consider time for transitions. Make sure that you are establishing standing groups for different purposes. So this doesn't mean that students get into the same group for every group activity, but rather that you have different groups for different purposes so that if a student knows, if I'm going to go and do a literary analysis right now, I'm going to meet together with this group. Or if I am going to go ahead and do my science experiment, I'm going to meet with this group. That allows for students to have both predictable routines as well as to be engaging with different students throughout the course of your class.
Another wonderful element is to ensure that you have time for differentiated objectives. This is looking at how learning goals may be different for different groups of students. That's a huge part of a blended learning environment, and really, the use of technology within the classroom helps to make this a little bit easier than in more of a traditional classroom because students are able to access those different elements without necessarily grouping all of the students that have to learn one set of vocabulary over here and all the students that learn another set of vocabulary over here. Things like that can tend to get in the total way of a student trying to learn, and so blended learning environments can really help enforce that differentiated instruction.
Another element of the blended learning environment, one of their main components, is ensuring that there is time for student-directed learning. This is the area in which you want to consider establishing opportunities for those project-based learning elements in your classroom, opportunities for students to take ownership over the information, and then presenting that information to the class.
Finally, it's really important that in your blended learning environment you make sure that you have time for feedback. This is the best way for you to stay on your toes as a teacher and really assess, what am I doing that's working from my perspective? What am I doing that's working from the students' perspective? And what needs to be improved?
Now that we've reached the end of our lesson today, you are able to understand the power of schedule and time as it can be used to empower students and their learning. You also can explain the main components for an effective blended classroom.
Now I want to take just a moment for reflection. Now that you have learned all about the impact of schedule and time on your teaching and the ability for it to empower students in their learning, what do you think would be the first step you would take as you begin to implement the main components for an effective blended classroom? Feel free to pause the video for a moment to think about your answer to this question.
As you reflect on how this new information can be applied, you might want to explore the Additional Resources section that accompanies this video presentation. This is where you'll find links to resources chosen to really help you deepen your learning and explore ways to apply your newly acquired skillset. That's all we have for right now. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day.
(00:54-02:29) Reflect on Schedule & Time
(02:30-06:54) Main Components of a Blended Learning Environment
Blended Learning Tool Kit
This is A Creative Commons course designed to support teachers as they begin to use blended learning strategies in their classroom. Scroll down to see blended learning case studies to see how blended learning is implemented in schools and classrooms.
The 21st Century Classroom – where the 3 R’s meet the 4 C’s!
This post from the Tech for Learning blog provides an explanation of how the 3 R's connect with the 4 C's. As teachers begin to plan their schedule and learning activities in the 21st century classroom, it is important to consider the connection between basic skills and creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. This blog supports teachers as they begin to make those instructional shifts.