Planning a Blended Learning Class

I reached a threshold in my Blended Learning experience this past weekend. This was one of the first times that, while planning, I chose a model because of my students, rather than choosing a model because of me.

The Background

Students took several quizzes on Friday on the following topics: 5.0 Simplifying Radicals, 5.1 Solving Quadratics by Taking the Square Root, 5.2 Solving Quadratics by Completing the Square, 5.3 Solving Quadratics with the Quadratic Formula, and 5.5 Labelling parts of a Quadratic Graph. [1] Students clearly needed to revisit the topics, but not all students needed all of the topics.

In the past (earlier this year) I’ve used sessions, and that’s a great tool to have and use: students teaching students, correcting each other’s misconceptions. I was ready to use this awesome tool, but looking at the quizzes, there simply weren’t enough students in the class to merit that many “session leaders” (students that did well across the quizzes).

So instead, I transitioned to a station rotation model where one station was teacher-led and I was going over the quiz and fixing misconceptions, followed by some practice focused on those misconceptions. The station rotation model was selected because roughly 1/3 of the class needed work on 5.1 and roughly 1/3 of the class needed work on 5.3, while the remaining third consisted of students that aced the quizzes or students that needed help on another topic.

So What?

None of these models are new–I’ve done each of these before this year! The difference is that I had several different plans and intentionally chose which model to use based on how many students needed help on which topics. It was me stepping away from “let’s do this plan because I like this” and stepping towards “let’s do this plan because the students need this”. In many ways I prefer sessions over a teacher-led station because it feels more student-centered [2], but if students need the teacher-led station, I’m willing to sacrifice my own theoretical ideal of “what makes a good classroom” for student needs.

Students responded and seemed to do very well with going back over the quiz, which I appreciate. Last time they needed review, we did stations and they responded well to that, too. I guess that just means I have awesome students!

 

[1] The numbers are my naming convention to help me organize while using standards based grading. It also helps the students know which notes and which practices go with which topics.

[2] In the teacher-led station I sometimes started with this line: “We all made mistakes on this topic. You’re going to get to retake this quiz and you won’t make the same mistakes, but you might make a different mistake! So, in the interest of hearing what other kinds of mistakes you might make, let’s share our mistakes and listen to each other’s mistakes so that you don’t make any of the mistakes that are made here around this circle.” Students were eager to share “their” mistake on the quiz!

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