In the first episode of “Blended Learning with Catlin Tucker,” a video series presented by StudySync®, blended learning expert and teacher, Catlin Tucker, discusses why she transitioned to a blended instructional model and the impact it has had in her classroom. Watch the first episode now.
We asked Catlin to share the top classroom activities that she has introduced to successfully engage her students in blended instruction, giving them more control over the time, place, and pace of their learning.
Catlin Shares her Top 5 Blended Learning Classroom Activities:
- Flipped Classroom
My students love the flipped classroom model. When I surveyed students at the end of the first semester, 97% of my students said they preferred the flipped classroom approach to instruction over traditional in-class lectures. I flip my vocabulary, writing, and grammar instruction. Students watch videos at home where they can pace their own learning–pausing or rewinding the video content. Then we use class time to apply that information with creative, student-centered activities. My English language learners, in particular, have said they find the vocabulary videos helpful because I include images that help them to remember the words. I know many of my ELs appreciate that they can watch the video content as many times as they need to, over the course of the school year.
- Station Rotation
Station Rotation lessons are another favorite with my students because the different tasks at each station keep the learning varied and interesting. Students rotate through a series of online and offline activities, which range from online StudySync Blasts to makerspace stations to collaborative research assignments. They work together to complete most of the activities requiring them to be actively engaged in the lesson. This model also makes it possible for me to maximize the limited technology in our classroom.
- Online Discussion
My students engage in asynchronous discussions each week. Ironically, it is my quieter students who tend to be the most active online. Meanwhile, my more vocal extroverted students tend to prefer real-time conversations. By weaving together the asynchronous online discussions with their small group (“four corner conversations”) in the classroom, I’m able to give every student an opportunity to share his/her ideas in a space that’s comfortable for him/her.
- Social Media Integration
My students also love using their devices in the classroom. They are fans of Instagram scavenger hunts and Instagram sensory walks. Anything having to do with social media and leveraging it for learning is a hit with high school students.
For so long, English has equated to books, pen, and paper. My students enjoy that StudySync is helping English class to evolve with the times. They love the previews, Skills videos, Blasts, and anonymous peer reviews. StudySync challenges them to engage with texts on a deeper level, and I can see a big difference in their ability to identify strong textual evidence and use it to support their assertions. They are also learning to transfer their classic pen and paper annotation strategies to the digital space, which is increasingly important as they read more digital texts.