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  • Jason Appel

My Fuse RI Classroom Project Begins


Throughout the upcoming 2015-2016 school year, I intend to closely look at my own teaching practice through the lens of blended learning, and improve it through data collection, reflection and iteration. Last year I implemented a playlist model in my classroom. In this model, a typical class period consisted of students working through a “playlist.” The playlist consisted of links to screencasts, skill practice problems on IXL, practice problems on Schoology, concept quizzes, and extension activities (here is an example from Geometry). Students progressed at their own pace through playlists either on their own or with a partner or small group.

As this model was a new experience for my students, I needed to teach them strategies and guidelines for effectively learning using playlists.

Watching videos: I modeled how to watch screencasts. I stressed the importance of pausing, rewinding and rewatching to take notes, write down questions or try example problems. The first video of the year is watched in class, together as a group in order to model effective use.

Practice problems on IXL: I often assign problem sets from IXL in order to reinforce basic skills related to the newly introduced topic. These skills must be mastered before students move on to higher level problems. I do not monitor progress (that feature is only available with the paid version) so students are expected to self-assess and move on when they are ready. They are expected to use IXL’s feedback and/or ask questions of their classmates or teacher.

Practice problems on Schoology: Students login to Schoology to solve questions using a variety of modalities including multiple choice, matching, ordering and open-ended.

I have identified 4 specific problems I observed in my classroom last year that I would like to address. I will choose one problem at a time and implement a possible solution. At the end of each month I will use data from formative assessments (collected in Schoology, EDPuzzle, Google Forms, and others), grades, observation, plus-deltas and student surveys to drive the next iteration.

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Problem: Some students don't watch videos or if they do they don't engage with them in a productive way.

Possible Solutions:

  • Hold students accountable for watching screencasts by making them more interactive using EdPuzzle, EduCanon, Zaption or TouchCast.

  • Use periodic notebook checks in order for students to receive homework credit.

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Problem: Some struggling students don't ask for help in class

Possible Solutions:

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Problem: Some students finish quickly, but aren't motivated to try more challenging work if it isn't required and doesn't affect their grade.

Possible Solutions:

  • Still working on this one. I'm open to suggestions!

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Problem: When students redo an assignment in Schoology, they may only improve because they remember the answers from the first time.

Possible Solutions:

  • Create question banks in Schoology so students will get different questions each time.

  • Explore finding other Schoology users to share questions with.

  • Find another resource for quality questions.

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