<![CDATA[My Journey with Blended - Blended AHHAs]]>Fri, 26 Feb 2016 10:32:10 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Blended Side Effect]]>Sat, 16 Nov 2013 16:54:10 GMThttp://blendedwithbarr.weebly.com/blended-ahhas/blended-side-effectPicture
Our class discovered a side effect of blended learning.  Sometimes the class is so engaged they work right through recess and no one notices!  We were all engaged in various literacy projects.  I was traveling from group to group providing guidence and helping when asked.  No one thought to look at the clock and apparently no one needed a break because recess passed us by.  What is even more amazing is that the students really didn't seem to care. I know... hard to believe, but true.  "Don't worry," I told my class. "We'll stop and take a recess break now."  No one ran for the door and I heard,"Okay, just a minute." and "Wait...I have to write one more sentence."   When did learning become as important as recess?  Love blended learning. 

<![CDATA[100% Engagement]]>Sat, 16 Nov 2013 16:42:41 GMThttp://blendedwithbarr.weebly.com/blended-ahhas/100-engagementPicture
Math has become totally student driven.  I say, "It's time to explore math!" and for about 5 minutes the room looks like chaos as students gather materials, computers, students with whom to work ... and it's pretty noisy.  Then everyone settles down and all you hear is working noise. 

 My job is to circulate and watch and document understandings of concepts.  I am at every student's beck and call.  The kind of calls I get sound like this: "I finished a lesson can I go on to the next one?"; "I watched the video twice but I still don't get it can you do this problem with me?"; "Mallory and I got different answers for this problem and we both think ours is right, can you help us figure it out?"; or "Our group wants to do a few more problems can you give us some?"  Talk about personalized!!! 

I always announce when we only have 15 minutes left in our math period so students can stop and play concept related math games that I created.  Lately I have noticed that some students still need the break and stop and play games but many like those pictured just keep going.  Amazing that students would choose to work hard to the last minute!!!  Love Blended Learning!

<![CDATA[Changes in Bulletin Boards]]>Wed, 06 Nov 2013 01:43:59 GMThttp://blendedwithbarr.weebly.com/blended-ahhas/changes-in-bulletin-boards
Before becoming blended my classroom bulletin boards were Pinterest inspired and color coordinated.

Now my bulletin boards contain the information and student work that continue to direct their learning.

Bulletin Boards are ever changing.  Students take from and add to them as our learning advances.  They need to refer back to the bulletin boards and we sometimes use them to post and organize our thinking as we learn.  Sounds pretty advanced for second grade huu!!  Well it is!!! 
<![CDATA[Changes in My Classroom Because of Blending]]>Wed, 06 Nov 2013 01:16:07 GMThttp://blendedwithbarr.weebly.com/blended-ahhas/changes-in-my-classroom-because-of-blending
  • I was thinking about some of the changes in my day since taking on blended learning.  Some that came to mind are:

    • ​I slimmed down... not me personally (darn) but my classroom.  I got rid of extra furniture and STUFF! I hauled out container units and plastic shelves.  My goal was a clean... classroom of the 21st century... look.  
    • I threw out tons of stuff from my files (why was I keeping papers, activities, ideas for 15 years that I wasn't using?)  
    • I no longer think of teaching in curricular boxes.  I think of teaching as a big circle now because everything seems to flow together or rather, one curricular area flows into the next.
    • I no longer post a schedule like:  9:00 - Reading, 11:00 - Writing... because reading and writing flow into social studies and science.  Science flows into math and sometimes includes reading and writing.  WHAT???  
    • When planning, my first thought is...How can students investigate and determine what I want them to learn in groups, pairs, on their own...?  In other words... what are some ways students can meet my learning goals without ME standing in front of the room talking to 25 students?  
    • How can lessons and activitities be designed so that 100% of my students are engaged and learning?
    • What do I want my students to experience that will enhance their learning the absolute most.  So I have to make decisions about how to help them be self-directed and motivated in their quest for answers.  And... I have to make the answers worth finding!!!  
    • My classroom is noisier and students more free to move about.  Materials are out for them to access because they are making their own decisions about what they need in order to accomplish goals.  
    • Maybe the most important... I  had to let go of control ....AAAHHHH!!!!  So scary!  I have had to trust my students to be able to learn without me and to deal with not being the most important person in the classroom.  WHAT?? Sniff, sniff
    • I'm very tired at the end of each day but I am more proud of what I do than ever before. 

    So What are the benefits that I have noticed?

    • My students are very independent and cooperative.  They are building self reliance and confidence in their own abilities and decisions.
    • I know my students better than I ever have... because they are each working at their instructional levels and because I have time to individually work with each student every day... I really know where they are and where they are headed.
    • There is a higher level of trust among students and between the students and me.  
    • Students have been given the freedom to make decisions and take risks.  This leads us to sometimes stray into areas I had not originally planned but always with positive results.  
    • My students who struggle are making better progress than I have ever seen because their learning is designed for their pace and level.  They may be moving slower but they know, well, the skills and concepts at the level at which they are learning and working.  
    • My excellerated students are shining and happy.  Again, because their learning is designed for their pace and abilities they are challenged, moving forward, and having fun.