Monday, March 28, 2016

Learning Together at #MACUL16: Coding and Blending

We have been focusing a lot on Blended Learning here at Portage Public Schools, and each day we continue to introduce new teachers to the concept of Blended Learning.  It is always great when teachers are able to go to a conference and explore the topic you have been investigating from another district's or teacherss perspective.  Today's guest blogger, Ally Leverett - fourth grade teacher at Lake Center Elementary, was able to learn how to incorporate aspects of coding and blended learning into her classroom thanks to the MACUL conference.

"Well...there are so many things that intrigued me at MACUL that it was hard to choose just one "big idea" I walked away with. However, since the conference I have showed my students the Scratch website, as well as the 21Things4Students website. They were so excited to be able to code and I actually have some coding experts in my room that I didn't even know about! Those students are now the "go to" references when it comes to coding since I do not consider myself an expert in this area at all!  
Another big idea that I walked away still thinking about was the idea of blended learning as a whole and what that looks and sounds like in my classroom. There was one session I attended where the presenter (a former teacher) showed videos/pictures of her classroom to display what blended learning looks like in action. She converted her classroom into a comfortable learning environment where children were free to choose their own spots to work. I loved this idea! She also really emphasized self-pacing and allowing students to choose what to work on during work time. I actually tested this idea in my classroom this week. I had a handful of students working on their writing, while others were completing spelling work, and then a group who were on Zearn and then completing their problem set. This gave the opportunity to work with students who really needed my help. I saw my students were more motivated to complete their work since it was a choice they had made. They were engaged the entire work time and I felt more accessible to students for help. I was acting more like a sideline coach rather than taking up the whole time talking in front of them. This is something I really would like to start doing more often and I know it will more doable with 1-to-1 technology next year. I'm really looking forward to that!" ~Ally Leverett - Lake Center Elementary - 4th Grade

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