Blended Instruction in Ms. O Science Classes (Biology & Environmental Science)
***STUDENTS: for all of your information please go to GOOGLE CLASSROOM*** 

***PARENTS & STUDENTS:


I am so excited for your child to be a part of my classroom this year!! I will say though,

that this year will be a little different than you or your child may be used to. I will be using a

teaching model known as the “Blended Instruction Classroom”.

 

Let’s first start with what is a “Blended Instruction classroom”? (adapted from FlippingWithKirtch and Basics Of Blended Instruction - ASCD)


Blended learning weaves various instructional mediums into a cohesive whole.  It is broad term that refers to the spectrum of teaching modes that combine traditional face-to-face instruction with an online component. It is a hybrid style of instruction.

 

Blended learning combines classroom learning with online learning, in which students can, in part, control the time, pace, and place of their learning.

 

I leverage technology, using video tutorials and other online tools, to make the best use of the face to face time I have with my students. This allows my instruction to be more efficient and effective for student learning, and for class time to be more engaging and enjoyable for all learners. *insert research line here*

 

A “blended classroom” switches around the traditional order of teaching with the purpose of:

 
  1. Creating a more in-depth and supportive environment in the classroom when the teacher is present and able to help students.

 

Allowing for students to receive a more individualized science education where my actual face-to-face time with them is being used effectively.

 

       2.  Going from Teacher-centered to student-centered environment.

 

The teacher is not standing up front giving a lesson to all the students at once. Class time is focused on the students and their individual learning needs.

 

Student needs drive the learning process. Students are able to receive individual attention every day, as well as collaborate with their peers daily to support each other in their learning.

 

        3.  Changing student’s Passive Learning to Active Learning.

 

The responsibility for learning now lies in the student's hands. They are responsible being active learners, engaged and involved daily in the process of their learning. There is no time for passivity in class time. Students are able to show their process of Thinking, be involved in Writing, Interact with their peers, Read scientifically, and Listen and Speak the language of Science.

 

My goal is to take the “teacher-focused” activities (lecture) outside of class time so I can focus on the students during class time. They can get the lecture outside of class on their own time and at their own pace. It’s when they have questions and need support that I want to be there for them - individually, personally - not just in a big group.

 

Basically translated:  “I’m able to help your kid with what they need help with when they need the help”!!!

 

WEEKLY CONFERENCES for each student will also be a part of my classroom.  Students will have a self-assessment/self-reflection form to fill out before our conference that we will discuss and also at that time we will go over any late/missing items or quiz make-ups (if applicable) as well as any questions the student has.



 

TRADITIONAL CLASSROOM

BLENDED CLASSROOM

Teacher’s role in class: Stand in front and instruct students, give examples, guide 25-30 students at once.  Run labs and activities.

Teacher’s role in class: Support students (helping them stay on task!), answer questions individually and in small groups, reteach to those who need it.  Facilitate all-class labs and activities.

Student’s role in class: Sit there, stay on task, take notes, pay attention, copy examples, ask questions in front of all students in the class.

Student’s role in class: Get questions answered, stay on task, get help when they need it, challenge themselves appropriately at their own pace, collaborate with peers.  Complete Checklist Items (electronic & paper items) within the unit using Independent Learning Time efficiently & effectively.

Teacher’s role at home: grading items

Teacher’s role at home: Give examples via video lesson; developing “mini-activities”/discussions for reinforcement from student feedback for Weekly Conferences.

Student’s role at home: Look at notes from class that day and complete homework/reinforcement individually.

Student’s role at home: Watch (& re-watch if necessary) EdPuzzle notes, process material, complete EdPuzzle “quiz” for lecture and reflect and question what they learned.



 

What does “homework” look like now?

 

For homework, students will be required to watch video lectures created by me, where I will teach them the lesson and give examples in the same way they would receive it in class. Each video has a set of “quiz” questions (some multiple choice/some open answer) to reinforce learning in the lecture.

 

However, because the students are watching the lessons on video, they can pause, rewind, or re-watch any segments of the video at any time. They can even watch it in fast-forward if they learn at a quicker pace. This allows students to learn at their own pace and become more self-directed, having to know when they need to go back over a certain concept they did not fully grasp the first time it was explained.

 

Each EdPuzzle Lecture video covers generally one section of the chapter and students will watch a total of 50-60 minutes of Lecture videos in a Unit .  Students should plan on watching these videos at home if at all possible.  Time taken up in class during Independent Learning Time to watch these videos may result in the student having ‘homework’ to complete outside of class. If students view videos at home (or wherever they are if they have internet access/smart phone!) they will have the time to complete CheckList Items at school during Independent Learning Time and should have no homework (except for review!!!).    Students are allowed to watch EdPuzzle Lecture videos and Current Science Connection Videos during workdays if they make that choice.

 

These videos in EdPuzzle format can be accessed through Google Classroom and non-EdPuzzle format (just to review) are also uploaded to my YouTube channel at https://goo.gl/EduXdG

 

Because the videos are online, they can be accessed on any internet-capable device, such as a cell phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop!

I encourage and model to students to be FIT during classtime:

 

How to be FIT (acronym developed by Mrs. Lisa Light) when watching videos for education, not entertainment!

 

Have a Focused, serious attitude!

 

Be Involved in the process!

 

Take away distractions, check your T.E.C.H. (Tabs closed, Electronic devices put away, Cell phones- don't answer them, Headphones in)

 

If you have concerns about your child having access to the videos, please let me know and I will make accommodations.

 

There may still be a few nights where homework will look like regular “homework”... students may be doing paper items/electronic at home. However, now students have access to videos online and can re-watch it if they need a little extra help how to do the assigned homework!

 

What does class time look like now?

 

When students come into class, we begin by reviewing their Learning Targets for the Day.  Students complete an “I CAN….” statement which reflect the Learning Target.  This activity allows the class to enter into their memory how the I CAN… reflects the Learning Target as well as to clarify anything that was not clear during the videos. We also go over the questions if there are any that students have asked either as a whole class or in small groups.

 

During MINI-LAB/ACTIVITY TIME all students will work together (in teams or with a partner) on the activity for the lesson and review if the large group needs to go back over a concept.  

 

During INDEPENDENT LEARNING TIME students are encouraged to work with each other and help each other out and are constantly reminded that one of the ways they can really find out if they understand a concept is by explaining it to someone else. I am constantly walking around from group to group, helping explain things and clarifying confusing parts. I remind students often “Your participation in this class is based on 2 things: What you DO...AND what you DON’T DO!  Be an active learner and DO!” Students will be active in their learning! Students also have a CHOICE as to how they will demonstrate their learning with ClassWork Packages. These packages are designed to appeal to students interests and strengths. 

I understand the change may be difficult to take (at first), however if improvements to Student Learning are to be made- I cannot do the same thing year after year and expect different results. I would like to add that this is only my second year doing a  Blended Instruction style of teaching, there may still be some “hiccups” along the way, things may need to be modified or changed.  I will always keep students informed of the learning process and help them become active and curious learners! If I model flexibility and the ability to adapt and change to my students, my students will hopefully model these skills as well!
 

If you have ANY questions, please contact me!

 

Thanks,

Amory Olson
KMHS Science Instructor

 
 

SOPHOMORE STUDENTS: Regardless of when you took Biology this year- please make an effort to review Biology 1 NOTES and Biology 2 NOTES on my website to review for your SCIENCE MCA TEST in MAY 2016.

Here's to another GREAT KoMet Quarter!  Rock On!  :)

 
Biology I