Today’s Contributor: Tracie DaSilva
I’ve been on my campus for nearly 9 years now in a wide variety of roles – mother, volunteer, library clerk, campus tech, registrar, and teacher. Now I can add a new role – BLEND pool lifeguard. Come on in – the water’s fine!
One of the tasks set upon me this year was getting my staff on board using BLEND. As we know, everyone had the training for BLEND last summer….but not everyone has been ready to jump in the pool. In fact, hardly anyone at my campus has even wanted to dip their toes in. The many excuses to stay dry vary from the ‘scared-to-try-new-things’ to the ‘it’s-too-complicated’ to my favorite – ‘i’m-retiring-soon-so-why-bother?’.
So I’ve spent a lot of time making the pool more inviting. (Sorry, no ice cold drinks with umbrellas or cabana boys!) I’ve created lessons in BLEND and lots and lots of quizzes and assignments that cover a wide variety of subjects taught on an elementary campus. Honestly, most of it has been with the 5th graders – I feel they are the ones that need the most exposure to BLEND before heading off to middle school. Some of the things I’ve created include a Math Mad Minute quiz on multiplication facts, a MyOn book review writing assignment, an Hour of Code discussion group, a student-created video upload assignment, and a Science quiz complete with images, tables, and graphs. I even made a Harry Potter Sorting Quiz for them which was probably the most fun they’ve had in a BLEND course!
But I’ve also been enticing my lower grade level teachers into the BLEND pool by creating mini-courses for them as examples of what they could be doing in their classrooms. I’ve been showing 4th grade teachers how to use a Google Cloud Assignment to reinforce writing practice. Then wowing them with the benefits of grading writing assignments online – instant feedback to the students, no worries about handwriting you can’t read, and the Speed Grader with a rubric has become their new best friend. And everyone needs a friend in the pool! Other grade-level teachers have been shown the simplicity of turning assignments they already have into BLEND assignments that grade themselves. I’ve almost got them jumping in! I’ve actually had fun putting the teachers into a student’s role and it helps them see things through the student perspective.