Although the journey was short, it came with some important lessons.
I was overcome with joy to receive an answer to my HyFlex survey on bookwidgets posted last week. On one side I was grateful about the advice I was given and on the other side I was happy that someone took their time not only to read my post, but also respond to it.
An (un)fortunate update on this HyFlex adventure is that it was short-lived. My first class was also the last class - the only one in this format. The evening before teaching I was informed that they will be able to split the class in two and starting the following week I will be teaching the online only section. Phew! was my first thought, although I may say, the challenge was intriguing.
However, in preparing for my first class, here is what I did, along with some ideas I came across.
What I did
My anonymous adviser suggested to teach online, as per my preference and focus on introductions for the first class (what better way of building community). I took on this suggestion, and prepared a presentation, first with my introduction (which included images), then with a series of questions for the students. I transformed it into a reading exercise, by writing the answers on the ppt (short answers) as the students were introducing themselves. I had one slide per student, and I tried to alternate between the students in the classroom with and the students online. I think this helped with engagement, as I could see them reading, processing information and commenting on different answers. It was a small group (only 9 students), but we still spent a good hour on that. After a short break, I took advantage of the internet, and showed everybody's country on the map, with some pictures, while they would try to explain what was shown in the photo. Since most of them said their favourite food is their national food, I also showed pictures of that, and let them be the guide of what was seen in the photos. I think we ended on a good note, although by the end, everybody was hungry. Luckily it was lunch time.
As a follow-up activity, I would have emailed them each a slide written about a classmate (short answers) and asked them to write few sentences about them (following a model, for CLB 2 students). I also had a reading worksheet with comprehension questions prepared (on paper and online).
As I was searching for more ideas for this term, I realized I am not alone in this journey. Although in a different context (k-12), other teachers were looking for advice how to teach a class simultaneously online/remotely and in-person.
First post that drew my attention was that of Dr. Catlin Tucker (@catlin_Tucker, Tucker, 2020). Although the name is different ("concurrent classroom") the idea is the same, and the advice could be modified for an English Learning classroom. From the three suggestions - station rotation model, flipped learning model, and playlist model or individual rotation model - I have used before the flipped learning model, and I think it would be my go-to approach (just sometimes replacing videos with readings). However, I would like to give the other two a try.
The second inspiration came on twitter from Beth Alexander (@bethkalexander, Alexander, 2020). She spent the time to create a series of wonderful info-graphics for her teachers at Linden School in Ontario. She summarized different models of hybrid learning - synchronous direct instructions, synchronous lab, synchronous three-part lesson, digital learning stations, interactive flipped, synchronous jigsaw, asynchronous teacher at home, asynchronous lab, hyflex, and project-based learning. For each model she includes in block lengths of 7-15 minutes what the teacher would do, what the student at home would do, and what the student in class would do, as well as tech tools and assessment method.
I strongly recommend you to check out both resources, and please share other ideas or resources if you would like.
As always, thank you for reading my musings.
bethkalexander. (2020, July 16). It's still hard to know what September will look like, [Tweet]. https://twitter.com/bethkalexander/status/1283760709994721280
Tucker, C. (2020, September 02). The Concurrent Classroom: Using Blended Learning Models to Teach Students In-person and Online Simultaneously. Retrieved September 08, 2020, from https://catlintucker.com/2020/09/concurrent-classroom-blended-learning-models/