7 Tips for Successful Blended Teaching

May 18, 2015
7 Tips for Successful Blended Teaching
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Tip #6 - Develop motivational strategies.

Blended learning has given rise to a spectrum of instructional models that redefine teaching and learning in the classroom. At one end, teachers use digital content to enhance teacher-led instruction and provide remediation. At the other, the digital curriculum is leveraged to transform primary instruction and support innovative initial credit and credit recovery programs.

When implemented thoughtfully, blended learning is proven more effective than face-to-face or online learning alone*. As a teacher, this endeavor can be both exciting and challenging.

To guide you through implementing a blended program in your classroom, we've distilled our favorite best practices into 7 Tips for Successful Blended Teaching.

  1. Prepare for Success. This includes everything from gathering materials to ensuring your learning management system (LMS) is optimized for students. If your LMS allows, set due dates prior to the first day.

  2. Conduct a Student Orientation. Just as in the traditional classroom, the first days of school are paramount to setting students up for success and establishing your classroom management system, so make sure students are prepared to learn with the digital curriculum. Use orientation resources and have students and parents review expectations prior to the first day. The best digital curriculum providers will already have these resources created for you, making getting started a breeze.

  3. Help Students Organize and Pace Their Work. Have each student keep a portfolio with written work samples, notes, study guides, etc. Provide students with a copy of scored activities and a grade report to include in their portfolio. Review both their course progress and portfolio content regularly.

  4. Monitor Student Progress. USE YOUR DATA! Real-time progress and performance data can be used to monitor classroom trends and individual students. Use this critical information to identify classroom trends and to drive your instructional decision-making.

  5. Differentiate Instruction. Use student progress and performance data to inform differentiated instruction, ensuring each student's success. Use the data to identify struggling students and develop appropriate interventions, and provide accelerated students with additional activities to extend their learning.

  6. Develop Motivational Strategies. Work with students to create and establish clear goals. Create scenarios that boost confidence, create a Student Wall of Fame, or factor in weekly perks. Spark motivation to help students experience success.

  7. Communicate Progress with Students and Parents. Post announcements online to communicate with the class, while giving frequent written and verbal feedback to individual students. Communicate progress to parents via automated email performance reports, parent information nights, and other methods of communication.

*Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning. U.S. Department of Education, September 2010.

Michelle Rutherford is the Director of Implementation Design at Apex Learning. Michelle leads a team of implementation success managers who work with districts across the nation to maximize student outcomes. Michelle is focused on identifying and sharing ideal implementation models and best practices for virtual and blended learning programs. Michelle also designs services to help district and school administrators plan and evaluate their programs and support the development of specific skills and strategies for teaching with a digital curriculum. Prior to joining Apex Learning, Michelle served as an Instructional Technology Interventionist and Blended Learning program coordinator for Dorchester School District Two in South Carolina. She holds an undergraduate degree in secondary science education from the University of North Florida, master's degree in educational technology from Lesley University, and has attained National Board Certification (AYA Biology). Michelle has presented blended learning models and best practices at numerous district, state and national conferences.

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