It’s been a amazing semester with so much learning about blended and online learning. This has honestly been the most practical course out of the nine masters courses I have taken so far. Check out my summary of learning below:
Well it’s time to reveal my final course, which you can access here. It is still a work in progress as I am building it as I use it to teach my current students. The course consists of pre-assessment, unit launch activity, seven lessons, and post-assessment. As it stands I have the pre-assessment, unit launch activity, lessons 1-3, and post assessment completed. As I am using this course with my current students I have created all of the lessons we needed until Easter break. I will be adding lessons 4-7 during and after Easter, so that I can wrap up the unit with my students.
Course Walkthrough Part 1
Course Walkthrough Part 2
Course Creation Reflections
I was hoping that I would have the entire unit completed, but say la vie it is what it is during this rollercoaster pandemic year. Even though I wanted to get all 7 lessons completed I am still very proud of what I have created. I think this unit will be helpful as I finish off fractions with my current students as well as for teaching fractions to future grade 4 math classes.
In my original plans (course profile blog post) I was just going to share the 7 lessons I created for the course. Over the the duration of #eci834, through feedback from peers (Amanda, Catherine, Matt, and Mike), viewing others courses, and the process creation of my course (blog posts during creation) I decided to add to my course. I ended up deciding to add pre-assessment, post-assessment, and unit launch activity. I wanted to make it a course that others could pick up and use with their class and I think that I have achieved it/will achieve that when lesson 4-7 are added.
I am happy that I stuck with some tools that I familiar with, use and love including Seesaw, PowerPoint, Google Forms, and Jamboard. However, I am also happy that I dipped my toes into using Canva and WeVideo. I had signed up with Canva before the class, but never ended up using it. I am happy that I decided to use it to help me create my must and may do choice slides. I look forward to exploring it even more to use in future projects. I also tried out WeVideo. Although I loved WeVideo it ended up not being the right tool for the job for my math videos. I wanted to be able to interact with my slides in my video and highlight, point, or draw when needed. WeVideo as far as I could figure out didn’t really work for that. So in the end I used PowerPoint and Seesaw to create my math lesson videos. I do look forward to trying WeVideo again to create my summary of learning.
Alright stop, collaborate and learn some. Let’s talk about collaboration in the blended or online classroom. For my grade 4 fractions math course there are a few ways that I will suggest that students could be connecting and collaborating.
One of the ways students will be connecting during the unit is through warm ups such as Which One Doesn’t Belong (WODB), Would You Rather, Same But Different math activities. If you haven’t tried these in your classroom before you should definitely check them out. They are a great way to get your students thinking, talking, and connecting with other students and about math.
For WODB you share an image with four options, like the one shown below, and students need to decide which one doesn’t belong and come up with a reason to back up their choice.
What is great about this activity is that any of the four options can be the correct WODB choice as long as students can support their choices. For example a student might say 5/3 doesn’t belong because it’s the only one without a 2 or because it’s the only one with a larger number on the top than on the bottom. Another student might share that 2/10 doesn’t belong because it’s the only one with a two digit number. For an extra challenge you can see if your class can find reasons for each of the options to be the one that doesn’t fit. This activity is great for getting students thinking about math without the pressure of there only being one right answer. Students also benefit from discussing their answer in pairs and groups to see different perspectives for viewing the WODB prompt.
In Same But Different students have two images and need to decide how they are the same, but also different. This is a great partner or small group activity. Here is an example below. Students might share that they both are divided into halves, but the left one is cut into squares and the right one is cut into triangles.
For Would You Rather students are given two options, such as the one below, that they choose from and share their reason to back up their choice. I like that with these ones students can use some math to be able to compare and sometimes students end up changing their answer after they learn more about how they can look at the problem.
Both of these activities would work for in person learning and online learning. Students could share and discuss with partners or small groups in person as well as in digital meeting break out rooms, such as through Microsoft Teams. Students could also share and document their reasons on a Jamboard. Here’s a sample Jamboard on pizza fractions I created for students to use. Assign each student a coloured sticky note to share their thinking on.
In my unit I suggest using Knowledgehook as a pre-assessment and post-assessment tool. I also suggest that Knowledgehook can also be used throughout to do a quick formative or summative assessment in the form of a GameShow. With GameShow mode students can work competitively or collaboratively answering questions and gaining points. I would recommend trying out the collaborative option, my students love this option. The class works individually to answer math questions, for this unit it would be fractions questions, and then as a class they can earn fun GIFs between questions based on the class percentage of students who got the question correct.
You could also use Quizizz in Team mode. In this mode students are put onto teams, either automatically by the program or you can shuffle them manually into groups. For each question they answer correctly earns points for their team, instead individual points which is how the game is typically played. This can reduce pressure for students as they don’t get to see their team mates individual results just their own individual results and work together to help their team gain points.
Jamboard can also be used for students to connect with each other by playing games such as Fraction Battle shared through Facebook “Teachers using JAMBOARDS” Group. Students can play in pairs uncovering their coloured cards to reveal numbers that they can create fractions with. You could have them start with the same numerator or denominator number and then pick one of the covered cards to create their own fractions then the largest fraction could win the round.
Jamboard can also be used for collaborative practice. Students could work in pairs or small groups to sort fractions on a digital number line and order the fractions from least to greatest.
Quick Jamboard Tip
If viewing one of my Jamboards and you would like your own copy simply change the “viewer” portion of the URL to “copy” and then hit enter to access the copy version. This can be done with any Jamboard, but make sure you have permission to copy and use first from the creator of the Jamboard.
Assessing blended and online learning might look different than traditional in person assessments. A bonus of online or blended learning is all of the amazing digital tools students can use to show their learning. Many of these tools even help educators be more efficient in seeing where students are at with their learning, marking assessments, and providing feedback to students.
dipsticks (or what I call in my class quick checks) – students quickly share how they are feeling about their learning such as giving a rating 1-5 or a thumbs up or down. I personally love doing these quick checks in my classroom in person and in Team’s meetings. Online students could easily share this information using a Google or Microsoft Form, in a video meeting if their cameras are on or in the chat box in the video meeting.
Exit tickets – students completing a short written task to reflect and/or show their learning. Will shares that educators can sort these exit tickets into groups to understand which students get it, need clarification, or need extra support which can help educators to better plan future lessons.
Some tools he suggests include Socrative, Kahoot, and Nearpod.
For summative assessment it’s important to take into consideration the potential extra help students have available right at their fingertips that could lead to invalid assessment data. In her YouTube video “2nd week assessment strategies distance learning” MsRazzChemClass (seen below) explains that her “Rule of thumb at this point is if your students can Google it, if your students can look it up in a textbook, look it up in their notes, or memorize it at this point these really aren’t questions you should be asking your students”. She goes on to share that “it really comes down to having your students explain”. Some ways she suggests you can have your students explain is through tools such as Google forms, Flipgrid, or combining Screencastify and Kami to annotate pdfs.
Will Deyamport offers the suggestion to try performance based summative assessments such as portfolios, oral presentations, and learning project products.
Assessment For My Course
In the grade 4 math fractions course I have formative assessment built in to each lesson. During the lesson instructional video students have a chance to practice the skill and get instant feedback to see if they got it correct. Then after they complete the practice Must Do activities students will complete a Google Forms exit ticket. For some of my lessons I might have the exit ticket be kahoot or quizizz.
Last class we had a chance to meet in small groups through breakout rooms and share our first modules for our blended or online courses. I really enjoyed getting to see what my group members had created so far for their courses. It was nice that my group was made up of a variety of levels and subject areas: Matt shared his grade 8 physical education course, Amanda shared her digital literacy course for lower and middle elementary, Mike shared his course on PAA9, and I shared my grade 4 fractions math course. We each used different platforms, which helped us to see the benefits of using the various LMS platforms: OneNote (Matt), WordPress (Amanda), Scholantis (Mike), and Weebly (Me). Throughout building my course I have also received feedback from Catherine. I really appreciated all the feedback I received from all four of my classmates.
My group members, Matt, Amanda, and Mike liked how my course was organized. They appreciated that I included a pre-assessment section, teacher notes section, checklist for students, as well as options for students to extend their learning.
Catherine had a chance to review my course as well. She said she liked the layout and that it was easy to follow. Catherine kindly watched my instructional video for lesson 1. She said it was very easy to follow and she loved that I included Bitmojis.
My group suggested that I add preview images on my website for my lesson activities since I plan on sharing my course with other educators. I took this advice and added preview images for links to suggested activities, my Seesaw lesson, unit launch activity, as well as a direct link to the instructional video for lesson 1.
Other Ideas and Inspirations:
While Amanda was sharing her amazing course our instructor Alec Couros popped in and gave her the suggestion of adding a creative commons license to her website. He suggested this because Amanda said she wanted to be able to share the course with other educators. I thought this was a great idea and since I also would like to share my course with others I decided to use that idea too. Since I am using a free version of Weebly I am not able to add the creative commons license to my footer, so instead I added embed code at the bottom of each page of my website with the creative commons license.
While listening and watching Amanda’s course preview I loved that she included downloads to files right on her website. So I decided to use this great idea too since Weebly offers an option to add a download button. I added a paper copy option for my exit ticket and made that available through a download button in lesson 1.
Thoughts Going Forward
As I continue to build my course I plan on carrying these suggestions and ideas through my course by including preview images, downloads, and instructional video links for each lesson. I will also include the creative commons license on each lesson’s page.
This week’s learning adventure was into the land of Quizlet. This is a assessment and studying tool you can use with your students.
My adventure began where most tech tools adventures begin…with signing up. The sign up was nice and easy. Then I carried on my adventure to explore what Quizlet had to offer.
I’ve tried out a lot of different assessment tech tools, so I was curious what made this one different. My go to assessment tools that give instant feedback are Quizizz, BoomCards, Google forms, and Microsoft Forms. I was happily surprised at how much I liked Quizlet. It was very user friendly and offered helpful tips as I was exploring. I love that it offers users the option to use already created study sets. Basically a study set is a list of terms and definitions. However, you could create study sets using matching words and/or numbers but with limited options for how to study or play with the set.
Since I am starting to teach division to my students, I searched up division and found a study set for practicing basic division facts. One thing I discovered trying out the division set is that not all options work best for this type of study set. For the division study set I found the study options of flash cards and learn worked best. Since this study set wasn’t terms and definitions, but division facts flashcards the study set options of write, spell, and test didn’t work well. The play option of match worked great and so did the gravity game as long as it was set to definitions. It was easy to save this set to my own folder for future use and to share a link to the set with my students. Quizlet gives you 4 share options: share the link, share on Google Classroom, share on Remind, or share on Microsoft Teams. I think my students will enjoy practicing their division facts with the flashcards, learn, matching, and gravity options.
On my adventure I also found that many users have created study sets for Words Their Way, the spelling program that I use. Some created sets that share the words for the week and the definition and others have created sets that sort the words by the spelling patterns. I will definitely be adding some of these to my options for students to practice their spelling/word study words.
Next on my adventure I searched for “habitats” to go with our science unit and found a study set that also included images. I was easily able to customize it to make the definitions better fit the definitions we will be using in class. However, some of the customization options are only available with a paid account, such as changing font and adding audio. If someone has already created the set using their paid account though it seems like you can enjoy the benefits, you just might not be able to customize it as much.
Study sets options – premade, customize, or start from scratch
Free account – offers a good amount with the free account
Paid account – I completely understand that it is a business, so it has to make money. From a user perspective having extra options, such as tracking student progress and further customization, limited to a paid account would be a con.
Not all study/play options work for all study sets if not using the traditional term and definition style study set
I enjoyed my adventure exploring Quizlet and have added this tool to my technology tool box. I think there is enough offered in the free version to make it a great option for educators. Educators can create their own study sets, use already made study sets, or customize their own to review concepts they are teaching. Depending on which study and play options you want to use will depend on what kinds of study sets to choose or create, but this could work for any content area and I would say most grade levels. For now I will be sticking with the free account. For myself, this will be a tool that I will use as practice option for my students. Since I am sticking with the free account I don’t think I will use it for assessments worth grades, but will use it as a tool to help students practice and review learning. Even though the free account doesn’t have student tracking, when I want to see how students did I will have them use their Seesaw extension tool to screenshot their results.
*PS if your students use Seesaw on a laptop or computer and use Google Chrome you need to check out the Seesaw extension tool. It’s a game changer! I love using it for students to reflect and share what they are learning online. I especially love using it to have students share their results on BoomCards task cards and SpellingCity tests. It’s a nice work around when you use the free accounts to still see how students are doing.
It’s exciting to have a major project for a Masters of Education class be something that I will be able to use with my current students. I’m all about planning this course. So here is what I am planning so far…
My target audience for my course will be grade 4. I am currently teaching grade 4/5, so I am choosing grade 4 so that I can use this course to teach my students.
The format of my course will be blended and will use an adapted flipped classroom. Since I teach a split class the grade fours will watch the instructional video portion of the lesson, while I work with the grade fives and then I will work with the grade fours on the practice portion of the lesson. Students will have some asynchronous online learning and some synchronous face to face learning. I already use blended learning with my students and we have 1:1 devices, so this will be a realistic way I can teach this unit to my students.
The main tool and LMS for my course will be Seesaw, with some other tools sprinkled in. My students have been using Seesaw daily since the second week of school, so they are very familiar and comfortable using it. Since my school division has Seesaw for Schools, it is a platform supported by my school division, I get all of the features, and I have an unlimited number of Seesaw activities I can have in my Seesaw activity library. I will house Seesaw teacher share links to my Seesaw activities and additional teacher information and links on Weebly.
Each Seesaw activity will be an individual lesson within my fractions unit broken down into Must and May Do Activities/Choices. My “Must Do Activities” portion students will be expected to complete each step, but may have some choice within some of the steps. My plan is to have an embedded or linked instructional video that I create, some practice work on Seesaw and possibly other platforms such as Boom Cards or Quizizz, and an exit ticket assessment. Then I will have a “May Do Choices ” portion to allow students some additional practice options they can choose to do or not once they are done the “Must Do Activities”. The “Must Do Activities” will change each lesson based on the concept, while the “May do Choices” will most likely stay the same the whole unit. To create my instructional videos I plan on using WeVideo.
My course content will be the Saskatchewan grade 4 outcome N4.6 on fractions. Before students start the unit I will assess them on their basic knowledge of fractions from what is expected at the grade 3 level and what they need to know by the end of the grade 4 fractions unit. That way I can group students based on their level of understanding. This will also allow me to compare their level of understanding at the beginning of the unit and at the end of the unit.
As my class is 1:1 laptops and I expect all of my lessons to take place at school, device accessibility won’t be an issue when students are at school. If students are absent they can easily do a lot of the lesson from home if they have wifi as well as a tablet or laptop. If students are not able to work at home I would have them get caught up once they return and move them to a new math group if needed based on their current level of understanding and what they still need to work on. I will record all instructions and include visuals where appropriate to help assist my EAL students and students with lower reading levels, which having audio and visuals will actually benefit all students. I will use examples, such as using cookies to show fractions, that students in my community would be familiar with.
During our last Zoom class we learned that blended learning combines online learning with face to face learning. We also realized that some specifics of blended learning can vary from educator to educator. I feel what Intrepidteacher shared about blended learning is similar to how I see blended learning
Before becoming a connected educator with RCSD and having 1:1 laptops, it was a lot more difficult to use technology in the classroom. Sharing devices was a challenge, especially when I would go to get devices and some would be missing, plug in cords a disaster, or some devices would be dead. It was also difficult to get students proficient with online programs when we didn’t always have access to technology or would need to share with classmates. Finding, testing out, and setting up online programs was and still is time consuming. It was also frustrating when our school would have WiFi issues, so even if everything was set up and students had the devices the technology wouldn’t work properly because of the WiFi.
After having my students complete a spelling inventory I group my students into spelling/word study groups according to what they know and still need to learn. I typically end up with 3-4 groups. These groups usually range from just starting to learning English to above grade level groups. Before having 1:1 devices it was a struggle to provide the support for such a variety of word study skill levels. Over the last year I started to use blended learning to support my students in learning word study patterns. My students use both online and face to face instruction and practice with their word study concepts each week.
My groups will get weekly and week long Seesaw word study activities to complete. Here’s an example Seesaw activity for students in the within words group for the Words Their Way program I use to teach spelling/word study. First each group will watch a video explaining their word study concept for the week. Then I can pull each group to do a mini practice sort together before I send them to do their Monday word sort activity. I used to have students complete their sorts on paper, but this year I started using an online sort on Seesaw. In the Seesaw community their are lots of people who have shared Words Their Way sorts, which makes it fast to edit their activity and add the rest of the tasks for the week. If I can’t find the sort I need I just copy and edit an old one. After students complete their sort there is a link so they can check their work. Throughout the week students have tasks on paper and online to practice their word study concept. I also change some of the practice activities every few weeks so they don’t get too stale feeling. At the end of the week I make their spelling test link active on Clever. They go to Spelling City and take their test, so they can get instant feedback on how they did. This also saves us time with me no longer needing to test 3-4 groups each week and then have students wait until I mark each of their tests. I also love that once I approve students’ activities on Seesaw families can instantly see their child’s demonstration of learning and how the child did on their spelling test.
For Math I have done a bit of blended learning here and there, but for one of our recent units on adding and subtracting I incorporated blended learning a lot more. I felt that blended learning was very beneficial for this unit. I started by having my students complete a pre-assessment. Then based on students’ levels of adding and subtracting they would choose an instructional video from my Clever teacher page.
This allowed each student to get individual instruction at their level. After watching the instructional video they had some paper practice activities as well as some online activities choices. I was able to pull groups of students at each level to provide support for them based on what they needed. As students progressed through the unit they could choose instructional videos at their level of addition and subtraction skills and work on practice activities that were at the level as well.
Even More Blended Learning to Come
I look forward to our major project, so I can create my own blended learning unit. It will be great to learn ways to improve what I am doing and add more blended learning opportunities for my students. Most of the instructional videos I provide for students are ones I find on YouTube, so it will be nice to create more of my own videos. I definitely want to try something new this semester. I asked on twitter for some instructional video making programs and received so many great suggestions. Riley, Catherine, Amanda, and Jennifer all suggested using WeVideo, so I think I might try that out.
Hi I’m Erin Wiley. I am a mother to an inquisitive, very active, two year old. She keeps me busy and on my toes. Seeing her excitement for life and learning always brings a smile to my face. I wonder how the world and technology will change as she grows up.
Professionally, I am a grade 4/5 educator with Regina Catholic School Division. I am a connected educator with my school division, which means that my students have one to one laptops that we use to enhance and transform our learning. EC&I 834 is my ninth class in my masters program.
My first goal this semester is to get back to using my twitter account on a regular basis. There is a great teacher community on twitter that share so many amazing tidbits. I want to take advantage of learning and sharing with others on Twitter, especially my fellow #eci834 classmates.
The second goal I have is to try new things. One of my favourite parts of EdTech courses is that so much of what I learn about can be applied to my teaching and make a real impact on student learning. After each of the EdTech courses I have taken, I have come away with many new ideas and tech tools to try out.
My third goal is to create a blended course that I can use with my current students later this year or with students in future years. I have dabbled a little bit with blended learning and look forward to improving what I am already doing and applying it to future teaching.