Thank you to everyone who had the opportunity to evaluate our online/blended course. We were able to get some great constructive feedback and utilized it to make our blended online course even more engaging, and better than it was! Read below for our reflection:)
The feedback we are reflecting/commenting on included the following:
- Does it excite students or engage them differently?
- Does the complexity of what you are doing combined with three classrooms full of “strangers” have a negative impact on student learning?
- What to do if people are not aware of how to use the programs?
- Timetable for student due dates
- Missing vocabulary (word study)
- Add reference to YoTeach
Differentiated learning is a huge part of twenty-first century teaching. Typically doing Literature Circles in one classroom means that one teacher is in charge of 5 books with different groups in the classrooms. By having one teacher in charge of one book, this can deepen the students learning because it limits the amount of interchanging teachers have to complete. Teachers are not splitting their time up with each novel group, s/he focuses on one novel and the students within that grouping. Splitting the novel up among 3 schools allows for smaller groupings for teachers and students to work with. We could also include our teacher librarians which would allow teachers to have even smaller groups, this would also open up more book choices as well. This way if students need a challenge, teachers can add content, challenge the creative component, ask higher level thinking questions, or if students need some differentiation, there are several options we could implement. Examples of this include: having audio books, using speech to text, or Google Read and Write(prediction tools, dictionary, etc.)
We do not believe there is a negative impact on student learning by working with strangers. We think this can engage those students who are introverts because it gives them a space where they can engage in conversations about their novel without the restrictions of being face to face. In addition, we feel that it provides students with a goal each week and there are specific apps that can allow us to view the progress of our students. If we see that a student is struggling with their online posts, individual teachers can speak with those students and encourage them along the way. With YoTeach for example, teachers can print out the discussion forum and you can track what students are commenting throughout each week. This can track student engagement and involvement. In addition, because they do now know who they are working with and who they are speaking too, they are more confident in terms of what they are sharing online.
Organization of structure for students could also be added to the course itself. Something like adding Google calendar would really help students stay on track as well to remind them on important due dates. Google calendar is super easy to use and could be accessed on a personal device as well online. It can be shared among all the members in the reading groups and anyone can be given the permissions to add to the calendar itself. As well, depending on the difficulty of the novel, a word study could be added to each module. Reviewing and going over important words that will be used in the chapters will help students comprehend the book deepening their understanding of the questions being asked of them. In addition, getting each leveled group together at the end of the unit would be a great culmination! Just being together and chatting with both the strengths and challenges of the unit can create some great, constructive, and important conversation between the students.
There are many different tools being utilized within this online blended course. If students have limited knowledge of these tools, mini lessons should be given prior to the beginning of the unit. This way, students will be confident using the different types of tools and technology being used in the class. If needed, there are videos below that would support teachers if they were unfamiliar with the platforms provided.
Adobe Spark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2oyYMTjDQg
Google Read and Write: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwC_hJ7KmAg
YoTeach- The Classroom teacher goes over questions that will be addressed in the live chat prior to the chat. This gives students the opportunity to see the videos, focus their thinking and then engage in the chat. Teacher who is leading YoTeach then puts the questions into the YoTeach forum, then students answer them in the live chat.
We have completed more than the required modules for this assignment. We hope that you can use what we have constructed and to continue to build on to it as we will. Bullying is a topic that should be taught at all grade levels. We believe this unit, with different novels, could be used from grade 4 and up.