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Case study #2: Teaching in a Station Rotation model at KIPP LA

Created by Silicon Schools Fund and Clayton Christensen Institute.

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Video transcript

- In terms of me explaining my job I say that, I don't teach as much as I am guiding them to become better people. And sometimes it's... To me, the learning is secondary. Well, the learning is of course primary, but I come in with knowing these are gonna be tranformational leaders of change. And they need to know math, and they need to know measurement, and that's what gets me at the end of the day. - My role as a blended learning teacher is a little different in three main ways, I would say. First, I'm able to spend a lot of time doing small group instruction, while my students are interacting with adaptive learning programs. So, I'm able to work with small groups of students, and interact... and increase my impact in that way. Second, while my students are not with me, they're still spending a lot of time learning. They're still learning through visual spatial math programs. They're still learning through apps that reinforce basic skills like math facts. So they're learning at their own pace, even when they're not in front of me. And third, I'm able to maximize my impact by collecting data and having students interact with technology as we integrate it into the core curriculum. So I'm able to have students take quizzes online, and I get instant feedback about how they've mastered the standard that day. Without even grading papers, I can just see it on a graph online. Or when my students are publishing their papers for writing, rather than writing it out in black pen, they're able to type it up just as they will in high school, and college, and in life. So I'm able to maximize my impact through technology in a lot of different ways. - As we shift to looking at KIPP LA, what we see and what jumped out to us was that teachers there are really focused around three things in their new roles as blended learning teachers. The first one is driving small group instruction. The second one is instilling character and values. And the third one is that they actually still take the best of traditional teaching, and weave it into these new blended learning environments. - So to that point of their Holy Grail, it is small group instruction, and it's an interesting story of how they came to this focus of blended learning, in many ways because of budgetary pressures that force them to think about new models. Beyond that though, it's also fascinating to see how much they've embraced this role of small group instruction, and that for them, they just see the gains from this amount of time far outpacing any other thing they could do as part of their educational model. - We believe in small group instruction because it allows for one-on-one conversations for so much language practice, and for repeated hits with a skill, so that students are able to get to mastery even faster. - Clearly many teachers around the country are already doing small group instruction, or what we call a workshop model. But what's different in blended learning is that rather than just being rotations through worksheets, or other assignments that may or may not be connected to an individual's needs, because students are working online, can really focus and tailor that instruction to the individual student's needs. - For my students it's especially essential that they get lots of practice with the language around whatever I'm teaching. So we have a lot of English language learners. So because they're in a small group, they're able to talk frequently, both to me and to partners, and I'm able to follow-up with them to make sure that they're using the academic language the way that they need to. They're also able to get a lot of feedback. So I'm able to interact with each student throughout the course of the lesson on an individual basis. As we go through the lesson, and I figure out which students are mastering the content quickly, which students need more reinforcement. I'm able to pull... I usually end up with a group of two to four students in front of me, just working with them to address any misconceptions they may have. So I'm able to have that powerful one-on-one impact, even when the classroom ratio is one to 27. - So as KIPP, the teachers explicitly see their role as building the character and the value of their students. You cannot step foot on this campus without understanding how it permeates every part of their soul. And they wanna teach things like grit, determination, values, ganas, or desire for learning. It is the core job of a teacher in their school. We would argue that in blended learning environments, focusing on character and values is really important, because we're really giving the power to the students to be their self-directed learners. - Character education at Comienza begins day one of summer school. During summer school, we really focus in on the character, and we do that through values. And we have four school values: Courage, ganas, honor, and reflection. Courage means to take risks. Ganas means never giving up. Honor is to respect oneself and their community. And reflection, to our youngest kids, means making the right choice. And when you don't make the right choice, which happens to all of us, is really turning it around. We really focus in on the values, and on this character development to make sure that our students are growing socio-emotionally. For us, the academics is what's gonna get our kids to college, but it's not gonna get them to and through. We really believe that it's gonna be the character, their character, that's gonna get them through college. - It's interesting to see that KIPP still does do a lot of direct instruction. And we raised this point as a reminder that this is not an all or nothing proposition. You don't have to have a religious conversion to blended learning. If you're gonna still do direct instruction, go for it. But just like KIPP, do it with purpose and fidelity. So when you watch a KIPP classroom, when you see these KIPP LA schools, they're direct instruction, the moves they use are tight and purposeful. And it's that attention to detail that keeps the kids on the edges of their seats in the learning process. - By the end of the lesson today, you will be able to measure objects in feet, or in inches. That is your first job. Your second job is to look at an object, and tell, "Should I measure this in feet, "or should I measure it in inches?" So you will know you're successful when you can answer those two questions. Ready to rock? - [Students] Ready to roll! - Hold up your pencil! Would you measure it in inches or feet? Think to yourself. Whisper to your pencil, "I would measure you in..." (students mumble) - [Colleen] The other essential thing that you have to know before you measure, is what the halfway point is. Say halfway point! - [Sudents] Halfway point! - The halfway point is smack dab in the middle, between two numbers. Mark, why would you measure a book in inches? - Because a book is too small. - 'Cause a book is small, 'cause you're...