Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Stream Teaching, part 4- Small group rotations

45 students, 3 teachers, 8 groups, 2 campuses...

Today, we tried something really different in our stream teaching pilot.  We did small group rotations.  Small group rotations is a great teaching strategy.  We wanted to see if we could take this to the next level and do the groups virtually.  Although we experienced a slow start getting the technology working for us, it ended up being a success.  Here's what we did.

Mr. Irvin at Jones and I created 5 minute videos for 2 different stations.  The students would go to this station and listen to our videos discussing geographic models and take notes.  After that, the students rotated to another station with some guiding questions about the videos they just watched. Here the students were able to interact with the students at the other campus to process the video they watched.  This deepened the level of understanding of the students.  After they completed the guiding questions, they moved to another station where Mr. Irvin and I were there discussing the aspects of the models and answer any questions they may still have.  I was fielding questions from both schools via the computer.  It was pretty cool discussing with the students on the other campus and helping them understand the concepts even better.

The students then went to a station where my senior intern discussed another aspect of economic growth a country may use.  She was excited to work with the students at the other school as well. This gives her even more experience working with a diverse group of students.  

I really love the potential this has for the students on both campuses.  I felt more connected to the students at Jones today more so than I ever have in the past.  I was having discussions with them about the content just as I would my own students.  I didn't see them just as the students on the other side of the computer today that Mr. Irvin teaches.  I felt they were my students as well today.  I wanted them to understand the concepts.  My students were discussing with them as well, and that makes the connections even more powerful.  Previously, it's just been our two classes joining together as whole groups and connecting using digital tools like Padlet or Google Docs.  This put us face-to-face with the students and it was an immensely successful day.  I am very excited about the possibilities this has opened for us for the rest of the school year!