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Blended Classrooms.. Really??

Blended classrooms... What does it really mean. After a discussion, last night with my pln, I was very surprised that everyone has a different view of a blended classroom. Does this mean different grades in a class or different courses or different styles of teaching?

I think what blended means is really just differentiated teaching. No longer should we be designated to a grade and a class based on our age. I think we should be differentiating the instruction for all levels. Some students may need extra simplified and basic knowledge acquisition and some with need to have their learning extended to a higher level. We need to change the material to fit the children and not just keep the curriculum set to the grade. I feel that split grade classes allow students to find success at a greater consistency.

I tend to worry more about learning or growth of knowledge then I do the curriculum. As an import from out of province, this has always been my style. I am always trying to assess students on their growth in class and if we don't cover every part of the curriculum for every child so be it. This is not brain surgery. Nobody dies if you miss something in a class. We just develop that knowledge the next year. We have time to grow and learn for the rest of our lives. If students aren't finding success and having fun, we are doing them a disservice.

But a blended class to me did not mean different grades in a class. I work at a small school and this has always been the norm for me to have grade 10 to 12 in all my senior math or science classes. To me, blended meant combining courses in a class. I personally tend to mix art, writing, math and science together in all classes unofficially. For example, in Chem 11, every unit has a project to do like a crystal making display, a business letter to Mr Mole explaining your stoichiometry business, an advert/commercial for your bath bomb and so forth. I find that these projects help my students become prepared to use science in the real world and helps them to see that it is not a stand-alone subject.

I think a high school experience would be amazing if we didn't really have stand-alone courses. Why can't we have STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math). We could have various guest ted talks from each different area and have students develop and understanding of the bigger pictures and not just doing small assignments. I believe if every child worked on a specific interest we could develop that and teach our subjects to fit their research. I know big dreaming and a lot of collaboration needed to develop this style.

Or begin a school wide project that allows teachers from all areas of study to be involved and teach a portion of the content So let’s start small and just look at projects in every class that can cover several core competencies and curricula. Let’s all go back and learn from the kindergarten teacher and see that a theme can be used through all subjects and still keep the fun.

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