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What's Your Bench?

As my blended classroom continues to evolve and grow into a more effective classroom every week, I am quickly realizing how this venture is not as frustrating or frightening as I made it in my head at the beginning of the year. Each week, I learn from my mistakes and improve upon my practice; giving my students and myself a better blended classroom experience each day and each week.

In previous posts, I mentioned it's all about the learning, and that is true. No matter the device, it all has to come back to the learning for the students but also for the teacher. What I am learning is that as I incorporate the blended learning into my classroom, I still must incorporate my strengths as a 14 year teacher into as well. If I don't, then problems and frustrations quickly rise. For example, I have never been a teacher who can effectively manage log sheets of students work, so when I tried having students record their daily work at the independent learning station and turn their log sheets in at the end of the week, it quickly failed and led to frustration for the students and me. It ended up just being a waste of paper, which is comical since I am trying to cut down on paper. Another example is me having station outline sheets that describe what students are to be doing at every station every day. I found that this was helpful in the beginning, but that nice, yellow cardstalk, laminated sheets just ended up sitting there with the students never looking at them.

What I failed to do on both cases was identify and incorporate my strengths. Once I did realize them, then I started getting the quality of work that I wanted from my students. All I had to do was do what I was good at for the majority of my career, which was listing the objectives clearly and simply on the smartboard at the beginning of class when I had all of their attention. The bench press was never my strength, so I never should have been trying to bench heavy. Endurance exercises are my strengths, so I should have been focusing on endurance exercises. Either way is an effective workout, but you just have to know and trust your strengths to get the most effective workout for you.

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