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Welcome to my math blog! The purpose of this blog is to help you stay informed about our learning and experiences that have taken place during our math class. I have also included links your child (and you) may want to use in order to supplement math learning in 5th grade.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Blended Learning and Differentiation: Accomplishing our SMART Goals

Lesson Frame:

  • We will work on Think Through Math to accomplish our SMART goals.
  • I will work on Think Through Math to accomplish my SMART goal.

I feel like it is important to explain to you, and remind myself, why my posts are seemingly so empty of any activity in my classroom.  I have to remember that I am employing a combination of blended learning and differentiation into my daily classroom environment AND that more math is going on in my classroom than ever before!

Blended learning is basically a classroom model where there is a combination of teacher/online learning taking place.  More importantly, it allows student control over either:  time, place, pace, or path.  

Differentiation goes hand in hand with blended learning. Differentiation is when the content, process, product, or learning environment is changed to meet individual needs.

Using Think Through Math and Khan Academy as my platform for our math this year HAS allowed for there to be student control over time AND place AND pace AND path.  I have students who choose to work online both inside and outside of class time (including evenings and weekends).  I have students who choose to work online in math class, during ACE, at home, in the car, etc.  I have students who are working on grade level, below grade level, AND above grade level.  I have seen a huge improvement in attitude towards math and students' mindset about their ability to DO math.  All of my students feel successful.  All of my students have determined that they are all able to learn math AND that it is not up to me (the teacher) to feed it to them.

I will admit that this was one of the hardest methodologies to get my head around.  Allowing myself to let go of control of what is happening in my room was also a hurdle.  However, I also cannot tell you how thrilled I am with the results I am seeing!  I have never before had students be excited about being challenged with new concepts and enjoying the thrill of figuring out how to solve problems on their own.

I have not stepped completely out of the picture.  Daily, students complete a pencil/paper set of problems.  During this portion of class, I check the problems as they go, ensuring that I have given immediate feedback and corrected any misconceptions and/or errors.  Once students have proceeded to the online portion of our day, I am available to help if a student feels stuck, I am happy to check the answer to a problem before a students posts it, and I am happy just to encourage students in the path they are currently in.

If you have been toying with the ideas of blended learning and differentiation, I can assure you that it is worth every worry!  The only caveat is the need to be a 1:1 with some type of technology.  Our school system is 1:1 with Chromebooks from 3rd grade through 12th grade.

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