Harding Middle School
I want to raise student engagement, motivation, and accountability in math. I came to the realization that I needed to find a way for my students to discover their own path. That is when I came across the idea of a Blended Classroom. By providing outside resources that students can access on their own and at their own place, I would be able to delegate my time to more targeted small group instruction and making their learning personalized. Math is a critical component in students’ core education. However, it can come with a higher level of disengagement because of the complex content, lack of cultural connection, lack of high interest areas. With disengagement comes lower achievement/proficiency. It is often a trial and error of what is helping students along & the depth of knowledge they are gaining, but it has been a journey I enjoy leading and one that I believe my students are fully engaged in.
Reflection & Findings:
I am using my MAP data as my main data point collection for this year. For continuous data collection I will be using year to year proficiency percentages. So far 8th grade math as a whole has already met 92% of our growth goal from fall to winter. We are also seeing about 10%-15% more students are proficient on our topics. We are seeing growth in both aspects of our room and we assume this stems from increased engagement due to the gaming aspect and more personalized learning.
I have used ALEKs once a week to personalize math interventions around the basic skills. Students are able to identify their concern/growth area and work within that area. By narrowing their focus and following their goal they feel like they are working with more of a purpose than the previous years.
I have fully implemented our gaming system for engagement purposes. Students created electronic avatars, visit the class website regularly to check where they are at in the leader-board, work to earn more gold to make class purchases, applied for classroom jobs, and are able to easily navigate to all our outside resources. Students are excited about the levels they move up and the incentives to doing well in class.
Once to twice a week, I hold interventions specific to the current learning goals based on the most recent assessments. This builds student confidence and competence. This also has helped with engagement and participation when we come back together as a whole group for classroom games, they don't feel that they are far behind the rest of the class. One support I would need is to truly turn my class paperless from start to end. I am also still working on establishing enough activities and outside resources to develop the full flex model classroom. My idea is that eventually students come in and have a menu of ways that they can achieve the learning targets we want to meet through all of our resources (ALEKs, Nearpods, Quizlet, flipped lessons, etc).
Students are eager to meet simple expectations and strive to do better in my class, I still have some resistance or disinterest, but it is from a very small population of the 8th grade. Students are demonstrating their accountability by asking for more retakes and wanting to retake our MAP test to meet their growth goal.