The Art of Diving in the Deep End of Blended Learning and Owning It

Contributed By

Matt Essert

Contributing Writer

The Art of Diving in the Deep End of Blended Learning and Owning It

Posted in Community | June 16, 2016

Change is more than hard; it’s scary. This is especially true in a classroom setting where maintaining a good atmosphere is important for students to feel comfortable and succeed.

So when Katy Corey, a 5th grade teacher at Carrie Downie Elementary School in New Castle, Delaware, first adopted Schoology, she was hesitant but knew she needed a system upgrade.

“I was spending a whole lot of time in front of my classroom missing opportunities to meet all of my learners over the course of a day,” she says. “Where was there a way to easily organize the digital materials I needed to support our learning?”

Enter Schoology.

Breaking Down Walls with Flipped Instruction

“I was hesitant at first,” Katy says. She loved her website and did not want to let go of what she already started. But, before too long, her “fear of this new platform slowly melted away as the endless possibilities began to show themselves.”

In what seemed like no time, Katy was taking the videos she posted on her old website and was seamlessly integrating them into her Schoology lessons. Students were now watching the videos ahead of class and discussing them digitally, thereby elevating their in-class discussions and activities to a whole new level.

She started flipping her lessons to have students explore concepts for homework and expand upon them in the classroom. Below is an example of a flipped math lesson she's used.

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Diving in the Deep End of Blended Learning

Katy’s initial plan started with just building out a few reading units on Schoology, but the process was so seamless, it quickly turned into much more. Other instructors became hooked.

“We began building entire math units, science challenges, social studies units, and more,” Katy explains. “And once we started … the students expected to be challenged, expected to access Schoology multiple times over the course of the day. They even downloaded the application on their own devices for access beyond the school day and expected to see work that reflected what they needed to be successful.”

Students who once seemed to fear participation have jumped right in simply because they have built confidence in the digital platform first.

Because of the new blended approach and expanded learning opportunities, students have become more motivated to complete their work, and are doing so independently. "This looks different for every student as they are given choices within the platform," Katy says. "Not everything is linear, and all students may see different aspects of a given lesson or unit throughout the learning process."

But what does this strategy look like in context? Katy provided a glimpse into her course below.

Math Folder Structure Example

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"My folder structure varies by subject and unit at times, but remains fairly consistent to ensure student understand the expectations when working independently," Katy explains. "This section involved the flipping my instruction with an exit ticket that allowed me to then assign activities based on need and move students forward beyond content they had already mastered."

She also provided an example of a journal assignment.

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"Students respond to journal prompts for their novels throughout the year. This year we gave them the ability to create their own threads for peers to respond to based on their interaction with the novel of their choice," Katy says.

“I am meeting my students where they need me, and they are not stuck at a back table waiting for me to get to them, they are soaring.”

Reaching A Higher Level

Once Katy started to realize the potential of her new strategy, it became an integral part of her classroom. She can bring in resources from anywhere, embed anything, tweak assignments along the way, and strengthen in class interactions through digital collaboration.

“What was once nearly impossible has become an everyday occurrence,” says Katy. She now has one-on-one time with every student, every day, and they are all being held to the same high standards. "Students who once seemed to fear participation have jumped right in face to face simply because they have built confidence in the digital platform first," she continues. "Walls have fallen down on a daily basis."

"I am giving them immediate feedback and grades on assignments that are so much more meaningful to them because they are relevant. The proof is in their learning outcomes, their enthusiasm for each new day, and the verbal feedback they give me"

Katy Corey
5th Grade Teacher
Carrie Downie Elementary School
Educator of the Year Finalist

The Art of Schoology: Tell Us Your Story

Above is a story from our weekly educator spotlight series we like to call The Art of Schoology, a celebration of all the amazing ways the Schoology Community is transforming education around the world. Share your story in 250-500 words, inspire your community, and let's learn together! It's easy. Just submit your story below.

 

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