Today’s Contributor: Nancy Schmidt
Nancy Schmidt is a third grade Language Arts/Social Studies teacher at Davis Elementary. She has spent her entire teaching career, 23 years, at Davis Elementary teaching various grades (3-5) and various subjects.
Let me first start by saying I love BLEND! Yes, I did say love, so please don’t hate and don’t hit the close button. I love BLEND but on my own terms. I have not fully embraced all that BLEND is capable of, or the idea that students should sit in front of a computer the majority of their day. Given those views I have found BLEND to be an extremely helpful tool for delivering instruction, modifying assignments, and providing feedback to the students. I have been easing into BLEND this year and made some modification of how I use BLEND to help my success rate rise and my stress level fall.
Since I am an elementary teacher, I have the same students for half the day, so I only set up one BLEND class. I picked the one TEAMS class that all students had access to. (Some students are pulled for Reading and are not on my TEAMS reading roster). In this class I set up pages for each subject area (Reading, Writing, and Social Studies). I found having third graders log onto a Chromebook, then log onto the cloud, and then trying to get them to navigate to the correct class was taking too much time and was very stressful (for both teacher and student). The one page with each subject listed solved that problem. On each subject page I add my assignments, information, quizzes… And now, in the second nine weeks of school, my third graders are rocking the use of BLEND.
One of my favorite tools is quizzes. I have both dyslexic and ELL students in my class. Having the ability to create a quiz that reads the questions to the students makes life so much easier. Besides the benefit of oral administration, I set up the quiz to provide students with immediate feedback. Sometimes, students get to see their answers and the correct answer, and other times, if I plan on retesting those that did not pass, they just get to see how they did on the quiz. My third graders love this feature, especially when they did well!
I have used other features too, such as assignments, embedding a YouTube video, providing links to resources… It can work, and it can work well. The key to any new “learning” tool is to learn a little and implement a little. Then learn a little more and implement even more. Teachers are great at modifying what we receive from the district to fit our needs and comfort level, and BLEND should be no different. Well, except as you learn BLEND you will love BLEND and what it can do for you and your students.