Today’s Contributor: Angela Bissereth
Intro to BLEND
This year our school district is encouraging us to focus on blending traditional teaching with online, tech-inspired learning. This post will explain how it’s gone so far in my 3rd grade classroom this year!
Learning about BLEND over the summer of 2017 seemed like such a daunting task!
I wasn’t 100% sure I understood what I was expected to do, so I started with baby steps.
Technology design coaches suggested having students log into our District-Wide online reading resource, MyOn, through BLEND, just to get accustomed to the process of logging in. I taught my students how to log into our BLEND platform. (By the way, this is known as Canvas, everywhere else!) Below you can see one of my students reading a book online, after having logged in through BLEND.
Students became very familiar with logging into BLEND. It was very easy for them to learn because all they needed to do was learn what the website was for BLEND. Students are also very helpful. There is always someone who needs help and another ready and willing to help!
I will not lie, creating intentional content in BLEND confused me!
Learning for me happens as soon as I try, so I did! Did I succeed? Not at first! Thanks to the meetings and hands-on help with my Technology Design Coach, I created my first module in BLEND! My first module was learning about biographies vs. autobiographies. There were two assignments; a practice quiz and a writing a summary of a biography video students watched online.
The page students saw as soon as they started the module contained some mini anchor-charts that get added to student’s reader’s notebooks. You can find such paid anchor charts at the following link: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Genre-Mini-Anchor-Charts-3072130.
We then discussed that good biography readers can identify the real struggles and real problems of the subject of a biography. We read “The Story of Ruby Bridges” and students created the following example
I created an Inferencing lesson for my students to complete and this one was hard for all students to complete. I would not have struggled if there was a one-to-one ratio of laptops for my students.
Here are some highlights about that lesson:
How did the students feel about BLEND?
My students have fallen in love with BLEND lessons but the lessons were difficult for me to manage at times. Some students struggled with directions, and some students struggled completing assignments. I have some students who have learning difficulties and struggle learning when it’s self-directed. Then I have some students who are great at self-directed learning. Right now, I’m working on finding the right schedule to balance online learning differences. That way all my students will benefit from my BLEND lessons!