Today’s Contributor: Cynthia A. Ayala, Ridgetop Elementary CIC & Bilingual Special Education Case Manager
After providing a step-by-step how-to for my campus, I reached out to our campus educators (librarian, counselor, and reading specialist included). My ask? I just wanted feedback to see where they are with BLEND. I found their answers enlightening. I’m going to share with you the feedback and what it indicates to me. I hope this helps you think about your next steps as a CIC.
Librarian Response in the form of a haiku:
5th-grade yak yak yak
Wonder if Library Blend
Would give them focus
CIC thoughts: It is clear that the librarian sees the benefit of Blend as a tool for student engagement. This indicates that I should take some time out for her. Together we can work with the 5th-grade teachers and figure out how to bridge student needs & student engagement with Blend.
Counselor Response: I have always used BLEND as a parent. I had no idea there was much more to it. I was thinking that if for some reason I have to cancel group lessons or if a particular student needs to work on a skill I could post the make-up lesson (record myself). Eventually, it would be nice to have the skills I plan on covering along with my upcoming lesson. This could give the teachers a snapshot of what to expect so they could discuss it during their Monday SEL time.
CIC thoughts: The counselor is thinking of using Blend! Enough said! Going to see her STAT and get her going!
Celebrations: The counselor is thinking of using Blend!
1st grade teacher response: My class is learning vocabulary from S.S. The fact that they see my face in it gets them more engaged. I can’t assign independent work to students because there are not enough tablets/iPads. We are using them for Istation/ISIP and Imagine learning. The program is helpful. I will be working on sight words today.
CIC thoughts: I know this teacher created a social studies assignment that had vocabulary and picture cues. The goal was for students to listen and practice saying each word (Spanish Dual Language). It seems that the teacher may need support figuring out how to bring Blend into the classroom outside of the context of centers because all of the computers are used during center time and are already being used for ISIP and Imagine Learning. I need to empower her with the idea that she CAN assign independent work.
Celebrations: Blended learning is happening outside of Blend. This teacher took her first step into Blend!
1st grade teacher response: I started Blend last week recording TPR for Ciencias. It took me forever (LOL) to record myself since I’m not that great with technology as simple as it might be (LOL). Thank you Ms. Ayala; it was a challenge for me to start implementing it this semester and your training refresher really helped me. You’re the best!
CIC thoughts: The teacher wants to support vocabulary development in science. She pushed herself to learn how to record and upload videos of her doing the TPR for the science unit’s vocabulary. This really reinforces important vocabulary and content for the students – giving all students repetition which is especially beneficial to struggling learners. I can support her by adding another dimension to her science units in Blend.
Celebrations: She thinks I’m the best! Wink, wink! She got over the hump of skepticism.
3rd grade teacher response: Super excited to use Blend, but feel like I need more support, i.e. resources from the district and more planning time to play around with it. Not having 1:1 technology makes it hard. I’ve never really seen a successful blended classroom (except the students you work with). I feel like I will only be successful if I create SMALL goals for myself.
- show a video and then put on blend for student access
- have students log in and complete a short (fun) quiz
CIC thoughts: The teacher is having great anxiety about how this will really work. HOWEVER, she is exactly right. She should just make a small goal and meet it. Then make another small goal. My thoughts are to spend a planning period with her to set and make that small goal but also have her sit with a couple of other teachers who have done something different but just as simple.
Celebrations: She is willing but honest about her fears.
To sum it all up: We need to meet our students (i.e. our educators) where they are. If they find themselves stuck, we need to give them our time and a little space to take a chance. If they are taking that chance, support them with enthusiasm, affirmations, and ideas. Hopefully, they will then slowly overcome their anxieties, fears, and self-defeat. As our teachers grow as learners, our young learners reap the rewards.