Friday, March 6, 2015

Blended Learning in Readers’ Workshop

What if I told you that every one of my 27 2nd graders were on-task (yes, EVEN the student who is usually bouncing around the room and can usually only focus for about two seconds), actively engaged, and exclaiming “This is so fun!”. What would you think I’m describing? Recess, maybe? I’m talking about reading! My readers’ workshop has been transformed with the implementation of 1:1 Chromebooks (a laptop with only Internet). 

Before the use of Chromebooks, I always felt like I was having to rearrange our reading block every six weeks…the kids would get antsy, more off-task behaviors would be happening…some kind of oomph was missing. Have you ever had the feeling? I needed and wanted readers’ workshop to be a time of the day that my students and I looked forward to and were excited about. I was constantly trying to find a way to make readers’ workshop work for us, for it to be worthwhile. Then our administration and PTA granted us a class set of Chromebooks. I knew that if I could find a way to have the students use the Chromebooks during readers’ workshop, the workshop that I imagined may come to life! 

After some trial and error, I now have the beginnings of a blended learning environment for readers’ workshop and my students and I LOVE it! I still do mini-lessons and model with read alouds but now when my students are working on using strategies in their leveled book, they are doing it on the Internet. Thanks to Edmodo (a free facebook-like platform for education), Reading A-Z, and other e-book sources, my students are collaborating with one another, reading for extended periods of time, actively responding to their reading, receiving immediate feedback, and having fun! 

What does this look like in the classroom? What exactly are my students doing?

Take a peek at this tutorial I created for my students and you’ll see how they use Edmodo and Reading A-Z:

The following are screenshots of the work they produced on Edmodo for generating questions before reading with a nonfiction text. 

As for me, I’m doing mostly the same things that I did before…pulling small groups, meeting with individual students, observing, etc. However, I can now give immediate feedback to the students who remain at their seat…through my teacher account view, I can approve their posts, rate it with a range of smiley faces, and even pull impromptu groups based on what I see them posting at that moment. Isn’t that fabulous?! What do you think?!

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