Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Theoretical Hybrid Classroom

 In this post I’ll discuss what a typical hybrid classroom looks like.  I’ve made some modifications to make it work in my classroom and I know of other changes that other teachers have made that I will discuss in a later post.

In general, hybrid learning works best on a block schedule and with a co-teacher or teacher’s aide.  I have neither of these for every period that I teach so it can certainly work if you do not have these things.  There are 3 stations direct, independent, and collaborative.  The teacher starts by creating a lesson plan for these three stations and then assigns students to each of the three stations.  Students then rotate through all three stations.

One benefit is that the stations help to reach all preferences for learning.  The direct station is for small group instruction.  It often appears to look like a traditional classroom.  However the teacher should not be repeating the exact same lesson three times at the direct station because the students will have different base knowledge depending on which other stations they have gone through first.  Therefore this station becomes easily differentiated.  You can do things other than lecture at direct station too.  This is where I typically do anything that I used to do as whole group instruction including review games and assessments. 

The next station is independent.  This station is meant to use online resources but I have seen teachers without technology still use this station for independent work.  Ideally this station would serve as an introduction to a topic.  There may be a focus on vocabulary, theorems, formulas, algorithms, and other basics.  I personally use this station in a sort of-flipped fashion.  I use EdPuzzle to share videos and formative assessments.  I can create my own videos using doceri or sreencastomatic or I can use any video that I find online.  There are other days that I use this station for targeted or mixed practice.  I often use a program shared with me by a generous colleague from another district (Thanks Josh!) that allows students to practice skills to mastery.  You could use other programs that are either paid or free.  I’ll make another post later with lots of free resources.

The last station is collaborative.  This station is meant to have students work as a team to complete applications and projects.  These assignments are often long term and combine many previously learned topics.  This is where the most important thinking occurs for students.  They struggle the most here but it also where they learn the most.  They must learn to struggle and overcome challenges.  They must learn to find resources to answer their own questions.  Students become great team players and they stretch their minds to do things they never thought they could do.

I’ll write about the three stations in three separate posts later with more detail.  One last thing I wanted to touch on today is grouping, agendas, and journals.  These are all very important in a hybrid classroom.  Because students work on a long term project at the collaborative station the groups will remain the same for several weeks.  Carful thought should go into who is working with who, both from a behavior management side and from an ability side.  You typically want your weakest students to work with you at the direct station first while your strongest students will be ready for the challenge of collaborative station first.  Here is a sample grouping from one of my classes this past year.

1.  Jaylynn
4.  Dillon
9.  Tyreese
3.  Jessica
7.  Jason
2.  Kiara
9.  Deja
9.  Nick L
11.  Adelee
12.  Noor
5.  Victor
10.  Savior
5.  Angelica
8.  Jesse
8.  Alex
8.  Tylar
12.  Nick U
4.  Fallon
2.  Lauren
6.  Steven
5.  David

1.  Ethan

The numbers correspond to their assigned computers/seats for independent station and the colors show which students are to work together when they are at collaborative station.

Here is a sample agenda.
CP Algebra 2 Agenda:  Rotation 48
Independent 1
Materials needed:
  •          Calculator
  •          Pencil/pen
  •          Textbook
  •          Math notebook

Goal:  79.   Identify polynomial functions (5.2)
80.   Evaluate polynomials (5.2)
81.   Determine the end behavior and graph a polynomial (5.2)
Review 5.2
Review Problem solving ch 0 cw

Materials needed:
  •           Calculator
  •           Pencil/pen
  •           Scrap paper
  •           Computer and internet access

Goal:  82.   Use polynomial long division (5.5)
83.   Use synthetic division (5.5)
84.   Factor a polynomial using synthetic division (5.5)
  •          Begin working on section 5.5 of the notes packet.
  •           You will need to watch the appropriate videos on
  •           You may have some time to complete this section at the collaborative station.  Whatever is not completed today will be homework due tomorrow.

Materials needed:
·         Pencil/pen
·         Calculator
·         Problem solving chapter 0 classwork assignment

Goal:  To pre-assess your ability to work in a group and solve non-routine problems
·         Complete these problems with your assigned group of 3 or 4 people from your larger rotation group.
·         All group members should work through this assignment as a team.
·         Take turns writing on the final copy of the packet that will be presented.
·         You may however each have your own copy for scratch work.
·         Submit one copy of this assignment with the names of the 3 or 4 people from your group.
·         Bring the assignment with you to direct station today, or if you will not be at the direct station today, Turn the assignment in at the appropriate bin on the window sill
·         If you finish early, continue working on the independent station assignment.
·         If you have completed the independent station assignment, compare your answers with your group and discuss any differences.

The challenge here is that you will be working with a small group of students at the direct station.  Therefore the other students must have detailed directions that they can follow without your help.  This agenda would ideally be posted on your learning management system.  I also post several paper copies at each station.

The last part of a hybrid classroom is reflection.  This is especially true at the high school level where students have been programed to believe that school should be sitting and listening to lectures.  They need a place to tell you how things are going and how things could be improved.  I incorporate a weekly journal at the independent station.  Here are the most common prompts that I use: 

        I learned the following this past week...
This past week, I was successful when...
This coming week, I will improve on...
I can relate this topic to my life...

I’m sure this post has raised many questions.  I’ll follow up with more specific information on each of the stations, classroom management, free resources, and some alternative versions that may work better for you. 

Happy 4th of July!

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