Balance With Blended Learning

When providing feedback on your paper, I usually include a grid with Context along the left margin and Content across the top–questions about the book (view this video Make It Happen–Feedback with Thinking Maps). Because Balance With Blended Learning provides book study questions at the end of each chapter, it seems an opportune time to provide you a choice option. Rather than have me as instructor ask five of my questions, I will ask you to choose five question clusters from the study guide (no two from the same chapter). Clearly identify which question clusters and chapter you are addressing. Be sure to specifically cite elements of the book in your writing, and include elements from at least one article or video from the course readings that relate to the book. Also include integration ideas you have for your classroom setting.
Five to eight pages – label it JPrepU1AsgmtBalanceBlended and be sure to include your name in the name of the file (e.g. JPrepU1AsgmtBalancedBlended – Lennie Symes).

Feedback Guide for Balanced Blended

For your convenience, below is the list of the Book Study Questions from the book:

Book Study Questions Chap 1
The Problem with Traditional Grading Practices

  1. What aspects of your job are most challenging? What hurdles make it hard to teach and reach all students?
  2. When and where do you typically assess student work? Do you involve students in the feedback and assessment process? Why, or why not?
  3. How many hours outside of class do you spend grading in a typical week? If you did not have to spend that time grading, what would you enjoy doing with your time?
  4. How effective do you feel traditional grading practices are in helping students to develop skills? Do you feel the time you invest in grading yields significant improvements in the quality of your students’ work?
  5. Which problem with traditional grading practices identified in this chapter resonated most with you? Why?
  6. If you could add an additional problem to the list presented in this chapter, what would you add? How has this additional “problem” with traditional grades impacted your teaching? What impact has it had on student learning and motivation?
  7. How is your grade book organized? Do you use categories and percentages? If so, how might this impact a student’s ability to track his or her progress? Does your grade book make it clear what skills the student is doing well on and which skills require more time and practice?
  8. Do you encourage students to reflect on or track their progress in your class? If so, what does that process look like? How much class time do you dedicate to that practice? What are the benefits of building this practice into class?
  9. Do you allow students to edit, revise, and reassess to improve work that has already been graded? If so, how do you manage this? What are the expectations for students? If you do not allow students to revisit prior work, what is driving that policy?
  10. How do you think moving feedback and assessment into the classroom might impact your students’ motivation and the overall class culture?
  11. How do you feel about the argument that grades in any form are damaging and should be tossed out? Is that a conversation worth having at your school? What might some of the arguments against getting rid of grades be?

Book Study Questions Chap 2
Embracing a Partnership Model with Blended Learning

  1. What assumptions about teaching and learning did you have when you entered the teaching profession? Where did these mental models come from? Which assumptions turned out to be inaccurate or detrimental to learning? How has your practice changed over time?
  2. Review the partnership principles and identify one principle you feel you do well in your classroom. How is that partnership principle visible in your classroom design and interactions with students?
  3. Review the partnership principles and identify one principle you feel you need to invest time in developing. How can you adjust your classroom design or alter your interactions with students to promote that partnership principle?
  4. In the description of the partnership principles, did any of the specific examples about how I promote these principles in my classroom stand out to you? If so, which one? How might you adapt this particular strategy or activity for your students?
  5. Which of the blended learning models described in Figure 2.3 have you used in your classroom? How did using that model impact your role in the classroom? Did you feel you had more time to work directly with individual or small groups of students? Was it easier to differentiate learning for students at different levels or to personalize learning for individual students?
  6. Is there a blended learning model you want to try that you have not used before? Which model would you like to experiment with? How can that model help you to more effectively partner with your students?
  7. If the teacher–student relationship was a true partnership, what impact do you think that would have on your engagement and your students’ engagement?

Book Study Questions Chap 3
Who Is Doing the Work in Your Classroom?

  1. Where do you invest the most time and energy as a teacher? Is this investment paying off? Why, or why not?
  2. If you could spend less time doing one aspect of your job, what would it be? Why? If you could spend more time doing one aspect of your job, what would it be? Why?
  3. Complete an energy assessment. (1) Make a two-column chart, and label one side “energizing” and the other “draining.” Then identify each aspect of your job and put it in the corresponding column. For example, do you consider designing lessons energizing or draining? If you find it energizing, list it under the energizing column. (2) Once you’ve completed this activity with each of your myriad “jobs” as a teacher, reflect on what you have learned about your work based on this activity. How many tasks are in the energizing column versus the draining column?
  4. Which tasks from the draining column might be eliminated by putting students in charge of those tasks? Select one task and think about how you could rethink your approach to this task by reframing it using the question, “How can my students … ?” Describe how this specific task could be completed by students. How might having students complete this task positively impact them as learners?
  5. Put a check mark next to all of the activities below that you currently take responsibility for in your classroom. Once you have identified the tasks you “own” right now, select one and brainstorm ways you can shift ownership to students. How could students complete this task? What scaffolds, support, or instruction would they need to be successful in accomplishing this task? How might taking ownership of this specific task positively impact students as learners?
    □ Plans daily lessons and activities  □ Teaches or facilitates the lesson  □ Designs projects  □ Troubleshoots technology hiccups  □ Assesses student work  □ Providing feedback on student work  □ Communicates with parents about student progress

Book Study Questions Chap 4
Encouraging Metacognition in Your Classroom

  1. How are you currently encouraging students to think metacognitively about their learning? How will encouraging a metacognitive practice support the partnership model presented in Chapter 2?
  2. Of the five strategies designed to develop metacognitive skills presented in this chapter, which ones can you imagine using with your students? How might incorporating these specific routines into your classroom impact the culture of learning?
  3. How will you respond to students who struggle with or resist these routines? What can you do to support them in developing these metacognitive skills? Are there scaffolds you may need to create or use to help students build confidence in their ability to think about their learning, articulate what they are doing well and what they are struggling with, and/or track their progress as learners?
  4. How can you use the responses shared by students as they reflect metacognitively on their learning to improve your teaching practice? How might their responses help you to design more personalized learning experiences?
  5. Review Figure 4.8 and think about how you might build these metacognitive routines in your class using specific blended learning models. Which models do you currently use? How might you integrate a metacognitive practice into the models you already use with students? How often would you have students complete a task designed to get them thinking metacognitively?
  6. If students push back when asked to engage in metacognitive skill building, how will you articulate the value of these routines? Practice a 90-second elevator speech designed to help students understand the value of developing their ability to think about their thinking and reflect on their learning.

Book Study Questions Chap 5
Flip Learning With Videos

  1. How much time on average do you spend in class on direct instruction, modeling, or reviewing directions? What type of content can you imagine recording and making available via video?
  2. Do you currently use any video content with students? If so, what types of videos do you use? How do you use them? If not, why haven’t you used videos with your students? Are there any obstacles or challenges you face when it comes to using video content with students?
  3. What are the potential benefits of using video? Do you have concerns about using video content with your students? How might you mitigate these potential challenges?
  4. Which blended learning models do you currently use? What role does video play in those models? How might you expand your use of videos? If you add more video content to your lessons, how might that impact the way you use your time in class with students?
  5. Will you create your own videos or curate online videos to use with students? What are the benefits and drawbacks of each approach? If you are going to create your own video content, what process will you use to produce and share them?
  6. How can video content help you to actualize the partnership model described in Chapter 2 of this book? How can video help teachers to create more time and space to work directly with students?

Book Study Questions Chap 6
Goal Setting

  1. How have you attempted to motivate unmotivated students in the past? Have you discovered any strategies that are effective in motivating students who initially seemed uninterested or apathetic?
  2. Have you asked students to set goals? If so, what format have you used? Did you give students class time to set their goals? Did you discuss your students’ goals with them? If so, how successful was goal setting in motivating your students? How do you feel about allowing students to focus on academic and personal goals?
  3. In addition to setting goals, what other strategies might move students down the spectrum from external regulation, where they are only motivated by rewards and punishments, toward identified regulation, where their behavior aligns with their goals, or integrated regulation, where behavior is an essential part of their identity and aligns with their other interests?
  4. Do you currently conference with your students? If so, when do you conference with them? What is the purpose of those conferences? Do they take a particular format? If not, what has stopped you from meeting with students to discuss their progress?
  5. do you feel is the value of conferencing for students? How might regular conferencing about student goals impact their motivation, progress, and learning outcomes?
  6. do you feel is the value of conferencing for you as the teacher? How might conferencing regularly with students impact your relationships with them and your overall classroom culture?
  7. How does goal setting and conferencing support the partnership model described in Chapter 2?

Book Study Questions Chap 7
Real-Time Feedback Using the Station Rotation Model

  1. How often do you give feedback on student work? What is the biggest challenge you associate with giving feedback?
  2. What percentage of your time do you dedicate to providing feedback during the process as opposed to providing feedback on the product? When you provide feedback on a finished product, what are students expected to do with that feedback?
  3. What form does your feedback typically take? Do you leave written, typed, or audio comments? What types of technology tools do you currently use to give feedback? Are there any tips in this chapter that you are excited to try?
  4. Do you typically give task and product level feedback or process level feedback as described by Hattie? How do you decide what type of feedback is appropriate?
  5. Review Barnes’s SE2R strategy and Hattie’s three questions. How might you adapt and use one or both of these strategies in your feedback sessions? Would you use one strategy for one type of work and another strategy for a different type of work?
  6. If you designed a Station Rotation lesson in which your teacher-led station was dedicated to real-time feedback, what other activities might you design for the other stations to keep kids engaged and learning? How can you use technology to free yourself from needing to transfer information or explain things in class?
  7. In addition to the tips in this chapter, what other real-time feedback tips or protocols could you put in place to limit interruptions and maintain your focus at the teacher-led station when you are giving students feedback?

Book Study Questions Chap 8
Rubrics for Learning

  1. Do you currently use rubrics? If so, what do your rubrics look like? What scale do you typically use? Do you include descriptions of what each criterion looks like at different levels of mastery? If you do not use rubrics, why not?
  2. How might providing students with rubrics at the start of an assignment that will be assessed impact their ability to be successful? What routines can you implement to help students explore and use rubrics?
  3. Do you have students assess their own work? If so, how do you structure that process? How might asking them to assess their work using the rubric impact the quality of their work?
  4. How can using rubrics with students support their reflective practice and help them to develop metacognitive skills? How can you use rubrics to encourage students to think about their learning and progress?
  5. What do you think about the idea that you do not need to grade every criterion on a multi-skill rubric every time you assess student work? How might strategically selecting three criteria make assessing student work more manageable, both for you and your students?
  6. What are your thoughts on the single-skill rubric? Can you imagine using single-skill rubrics for formative and/or summative assessments? Would focusing on one skill allow you to move assessments into the classroom?
  7. How can using rubrics to support students as they work encourage self-assessment and drive reflection and metacognition help to support the partnership model presented in Chapter 2?

Book Study Questions Chap 9
Side-by-Side Assessments

  1. How do you decide what to grade? What is motivating your decisions about what to grade?
  2. Review Figures 9.1 and 9.2. How is this flowchart similar to or different from how you decide what to provide feedback on and what to grade? If you used the flowchart presented in Figure 9.1, how would that impact the volume of work you currently grade? What might be beneficial about using this approach? What might be challenging?
  3. How can you use blended learning models to create time to conduct side-by-side assessments? Which blended learning models do you currently use? What modifications would you need to make to those models to ensure students could work effectively without you facilitating the lesson?
  4. How do you feel about the idea of narrowing your focus when you grade to cover only a few skills? How might focusing on a few skills be beneficial for you and your students?
  5. What is the value of having students complete a self-assessment prior to a side-by-side assessment? Besides completing a rubric and explaining their scores, is there anything you would add to the self-assessment activity?
  6. Write a short 60-second elevator speech explaining to students the purpose of side-by-side assessments. Why are you using this strategy? What is the goal? What do you hope you and the students will get out of it?
  7. What do you anticipate will be most challenging about conducting side-by-side assessments? How can you troubleshoot or mitigate this potential challenge? What protocols can you put in place to help these sessions run smoothly?
  8. How do side-by-side assessments support the partnership model described in Chapter 2?

Book Study Questions Chap 10
Students Communicate Directly with Parents About Their Progress

  1. Do your students communicate with their parents about their progress in your class? If so, how? If not, why not?
  2. How could you adapt and use the strategy of having students email their parents? If you have parents without email addresses, how else could you encourage students to communicate with their parents?
  3. If your students had to communicate with their parents regularly about missing or incomplete work, what impact might that have on your students and your classroom culture?
  4. Write an email template or script for a student in your class to use to communicate with their parents about missing or incomplete work.
  5. Write an email template or script for a student in your class that is designed to help them share a success.
  6. What tool could you use to have students publish work either in a digital portfolio or a digital notebook? What are the benefits for the student, teacher, and parents when students publish their work online?
  7. Do you currently hold conferences with your parents? If so, what role does the student play in preparing for or participating in these conferences? If you do not currently conference with parents, could you use the student-led in-class conference or virtual student-led conferences described in this chapter?
  8. How can the strategies presented in this chapter (communicating with parents via email, publishing student work, and conducting student-led conferences) support the partnership model presented in Chapter 2?

Book Study Questions Chap 11
Grade Interviews

  1. How do you think offering grade interviews can help you to combat some of the problems that exist with traditional grading practices? What impact might grade interviews have on your students’ motivation?
  2. How would you decide who qualifies for a grade interview? Would you allow students to request a grade interview? How would you streamline these requests? Would you require grade interviews for particular students? If so, who?
  3. How would you structure your grade interviews? Would you model them after the formal argument format described in this chapter or would you modify this format? How much time would you ideally dedicate to each interview to ensure this practice is sustainable?
  4. What types of lessons could you design that would allow you to conduct your grade interviews while the rest of the class works?
  5. Write a 60-second elevator speech articulating the value of grade interviews to your students. What is the purpose of grade interviews? Why is it worth dedicating class time to them? What do you hope students will get out of the experience?
  6. How do grade interviews support the partnership model described in Chapter 2?
  7. What do you plan to try first? What strategy from this book can you implement in your class tomorrow, next week, next year? How can you use the “replace and improve” mentality to ensure that the changes you make now are sustainable?