I think two key things to change rituals and inspire innovation are changing learning spaces and changing the application of curriculum. The curriculum must be a live thing, adapting to students' needs. It must flow horizontally (connecting subjects taught in a given grade) and vertically (making connections across grades), and must be connected to prior knowledge and to what's next. Curriculum well applied leaves us sitting at the edge of our seat, in the stretch zone, where we want to know MORE.
I explored curriculum in my post about Transdisciplinary, and now I am going to suggest that another way to change and enhance our teaching is by re-designing our lessons, our units/activities, through the lens of Blended Learning.
Let's redesign our lessons with Blended Learning, and using In-Class Flip. And, let's give the students a bit of prior information before they tackle the work.
I decided to do this inspired by reading this article: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/flipped-classroom-in-class-version-jennifer-gonzalez
How will this work? Let's use one of my units as an example:
Unit: All About Me
This unit encourages the students to talk about themselves and their families. They come to see how they fit together in our community/classroom. This unit also enables them to see their differences and similarities. Learning about myself helps me understand other people better. We discuss where we came from; we talk about characteristics common to people from that place; we look at the food, language, and celebrations found there; and we make an artifact from that place in class (i.e., a craft activity). We keep all these artifacts inside a cultural suitcase. Before beginning, we make a passport to record our travels, and our stops are directly related to where we have kids from.
By the end of our unit, the children have gained knowledge of most of the continents, and the countries their friends come from, and they are also able to talk about each place.
So, let's imagine Max is from Spain. I will send home a link to a 2-minute video prepared by me for my students to watch before coming to school.
(will add link to video later, not in this computer and I didn't save on my gdrive)
The next day the class will be set in the following way:
I evaluate if the lesson was successful by inviting another class in and asking my students to explain to their friends what they have learned from visiting each country.
At the end of all presentations I pair the students and they make a Venn diagram of the things their home (or chosen) places have in common, and the differences between them. The kids I had 14/15 had origins in Italy, Spain, Denmark, Turkey, Australia, France, India, Peru, Brazil, USA, Canada, Russia, Belarus, South Africa, Japan, Sweden, Germany, and Kazakhstan.
Different (Max/Spain) Same Different (Otis/Sweden)
We can also redesign our units/lessons and activities. Blended Learning makes the lessons more engaging and we can cater easily to how each student learns.
So, for you to see which model works for you:
and why Blended Learning?
How can you ideate your own lesson using Blended Learning?