Monday, July 10, 2017

Blended Week Six: Elevate Teaching

What are your thoughts about the change in teacher role in a truly blended classroom? What about the need for teachers to act as mentors to their students?

We are now halfway through this summer's book club. Make sure you comment to every week's blog post in order to get all 22 of the PGPs. This can either be a comment to my post or a comment back to someone else's comment. If you have not already done so, register for the book club by completing this registration form. This will ensure that I have your email address to send your PGPs at the end of the book club. If you aren't sure whether or not you have registered, please register again. And continue to click "Load more" at the bottom of the blog post pages to see all of the comments.

Next week we will read and discuss chapter 7, "Design the Virtual and Physical Setup."

354 comments:

  1. I think we've been changing the role of the teacher for a long time. Teachers still need to cut down on whole group instruction/lecture time. At the elementary level, most teachers do rotations to help meet the needs of their students. I think it would take more work in the elementary to make it blended learning with the technology especially in the smaller schools like mine where we only have 2 sections at each grade. I feel we use the technology as a rotation filler right now, but we can work towards making blended learning. We still have a long way to go. I think blended learning is geared towards middle and high schools because of how their classes and staff are already divided. I really think the alternative schools need to look into this approach because these are the students who need a totally different support system. Now the one part that could be implemented at every level K-12 is mentoring. This is a terrific idea, and we are fortunate to have a local organization called Our Greater Good that connects community members with our students. We could always have more, but they are doing an amazing job.

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    1. My elementary experience sounds very similar to yours. I also feel that the blended learning is more suitable in the upper grades, but our elementary staff is working very hard to use our current technology to our advantage with the students.

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    2. I couldn't agree more with this statement! I find it would be a bit more challenging to take the younger grades into a blended learning...I'm sure with time, consistency, and training it could be done for sure. I loved your comment on alternative learning...I super agree with that! My step-niece struggled with a traditional classroom for a very long time...and then she went to the on-line learning and was more successful. Not every kiddo learns the same way for sure!

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    3. I absolutely support what you are both saying here. I teach kindergarten. Digging deeper, I think the reason it seems arduous is because you can never assume young children know your expectations (heck, we have mini lessons on how to use the drinking fountain!) let alone how to manipulate technology. Therefore, much of your initial time is spent teaching HOW to use the tech before they can launch into any type of individualized learning with the tech itself.

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    4. I completely agree with your thoughts!! The entire book so far I have found myself thinking that this sounds like it is better suited for middle and high school. I agree that the role of the teacher has been changing gradually over time. I know things have changed a lot since I first became a teacher! I think we definitely need to gradually bring in more of the blended learning techniques and agree also that the idea of mentoring is an awesome one for elementary schools! Everyone would benefit so much from that!!

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    5. I agree with all of you as well. I too teach at a small school (only 1 teacher per grade) and find blended learning more suitable for middle-high school age students. However, there are some great points to blended learning that I feel could benefit school, but I am having a hard time visualizing how that would look in kindergarten or a k-5 school at this time.

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  2. The role of the teacher has changed for those top teachers. They understood the need long ago. The difficulty for many teachers will be the perceived loss of control. It will be my job as the administrator to demonstrate how becoming a facilitator will allow for much greater differentiation for high and low achievers. I hope teachers will be just as excited about what this will do for those high ability kids. The idea that teachers may spend little or no time on lesson planning, should be exciting. They can dedicate their time to creating real learning situations and developing deeper relationships. The importance of mentoring has been lost in the ruble of all that is required in our standardized world. mentoring may be the most important role of all for educators. True blended learning may be a chance for us to realize how we have all felt school should be.
    I love the title of the chapter. "Elevate Teaching." I have felt for quite sometime that some in teaching have let the difficult times they are in convince them that it is not worth it. They are fatigued by the negativity piled on the profession. Instead of elevating, they are holding on. Wouldn't it be wonderful to actually feel good about your profession again? I believe if all would embrace the possibilities, school could truly be the motivating, creative, learning environment it is meant to be. That includes students and staff. As stated on page 181, "From a teacher's point of view, the rise of blended learning means broad opportunities to access intrinsic motivators related to professional achievement, recognition, responsibility and growth."
    What an exciting way to look at things.

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    1. Mark, I love your inspiration! I sometimes get in a rut and feel our profession is just treading water and we are just getting to the end of the day by watching the clock.

      I would look forward to playing the part of being a mentor rather than grading and lesson planning. Right now, I feel I have very little control in the mentoring department because we have counselors. I somewhat feel that I should just send a student to the counselor, but I often have a better understanding of the child and a situation. I may not have all the tools in my toolbar for counseloring/mentoring, but I do feel that I can bring in some real-world communication and descalate a problem. One of my goals for this upcoming year is to incorporate more time to pull out my students individually and just have a few minutes to talk about life and the specific class.


      I appreciate your positivity in your posting!

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    2. I really like the quote on page 181 as well. It is an opportunity for us as educators to create the best possible environment for our students as well as growing as a professional!

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    3. That is the issue for many teachers! I started doing stations a long time ago; however, in the past few years I add a station where students do a small group discussion and mini lecture with me. It was amazing to see the difference with kids and it see how those students who normally say nothing in a whole group setting , all of a sudden find their voice and you then can create a relationship with those kids! It would at least be something, a stepping stone, for teachers to try and evaluate students outcomes and engagement.

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    4. I agree withy Dan - I admire your energy and inspiration. I have been an administrator and it seems like all I did was deal with problems. With blended learning, we (teachers) can bridge the gap from advanced learners and slow learners by allowing students to work at their own pace and by having more enrichment ready for those that are ready for it.

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    5. Yes!!! It would feel wonderful to feel good to be a teacher again! Seems like there has been so much negativity and it makes it so hard!

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    6. Mark, thank you for your thoughtful comments. I think education is starting to see a shift from the traditional thought of a teacher to more of the teacher who wants to be a mentor and guide and motivated by the growth of their students and not lecturing. I teach in a school where 95% of the staff is younger and most teach in a student centered manner where the older still rely on a teacher centered environment. I think one big hurdle in this experience though is administration. I feel that they have to fully embrace blended learning in order for teachers to feel comfortable embracing it.

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  3. I disagree with all the negative publicize given to the traditional classroom/teacher role. Even within a truly blended classroom, elements of the traditional classroom/teacher role persist. On occasion, in a truly blended classroom, do we not need to stop and provide traditional lecture-based instruction or content delivery to our class? Also, in a traditional classroom, teacher often coach or mentor their students. These aren’t unique elements of the blended classroom.
    When this chapter referred to the traditional classroom/teacher role as “inappropriate as the norm,” (171), I found myself wondering what students are going to do when they encounter a traditional style classroom in college or a traditional workforce environment. Should we not be teaching students how to learn and strive in a variety of environments that include both traditional and blended environments? Do we risk creating a workforce/citizenry not prepared for the world outside our doors by eliminating an entire model of classroom design? This is why integrating technology with meaning and purpose is so important.

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    1. I also was disturbed by the statement that the traditional classroom is inappropriate as the norm. My first thoughts were also about what would students do when they got to college. My own two children are both attending college at two different Big Ten Universities, and they tell me that almost all of their classes are in the lecture format where students are expected to listen, take notes and then do extensive reading and studying outside of class time. When I think about the students I have in my classroom now, I see many students (mostly 10 graders) who have no idea how to take notes, and many students who can take notes, but then do not recognize the need to go back to them to find the information they need to do homework or be successful on a test. I consider that a big part of my job is to get them ready for the college environment where they will need to have traditional classroom skills to be successful. These are skills that need to be taught, just like anything else. I certainly don't think that all/most instruction should be delivered through lectures, but our students need to be able to learn in many different ways, and the lecture is one way that they will likely encounter time and time again throughout their career both in their formal education and beyond.

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    2. I agree with you, Cynthia and Melissa, especially with regard to college preparation. LIkewise, Cynthia, I am ready to send my third child to a Big Ten University-best in the nation at what they do- we are told- and my children have received premier training there. Sure, collaboration in labs is a part of their week, but their primary way to receive instruction is in lecture format. My two children who have already graduated from these universities scoff at what I am asked to do at the junior high and high school level in light of what they need to be able to do at the college level. Sometimes I explain to my daughters that we are helping the student who can't help himself or doesn't have help from other directions. Many of our college bound students will figure out how to handle life in higher education regardless of the high school environment because we are teaching them to adapt; but I do wonder about our need to continue some of the organizational skills to which you refer. A mix of lecture with online opportunities just might be the best 'blend' that we could offer.

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    3. It seems many of the teachers have been taken aback by the attitude that traditional teacher roles are "gone". As the two above me have stated, when we get into college classes, we still have the lecture platform. While I still have a problem seperating this information for use in a lower elementary class, I can see how it can be confusing from a high school classroom to a university setting. Basically, I do not think this will become the wave of the future.

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    4. I think we have forgotten the meaning of "blended." My interpretation of blended is a mixing of the old with the new. When I was still a classroom teacher, I jumped on the flipped classroom bandwagon early and had a lot of success with it even though our school was not 1:1. There were still numerous occasions where I delivered lesson lecture-style as I had done for the 15 years previously. I listened to my students, as they told we when they wanted a lectured in addition to or instead of the videos. Blending your instruction allows you to leverage the best of both worlds.

      I didn't take offense to the statement on page 171 regarding the classic image of the teacher at the whiteboard as inappropriate as the norm because I feel that the intent of the authors is to say doing this everyday is inappropriate. We have known this to be true for years, and it sucks the life out of our students. You have to mix it up, and think of the ways that a good elementary classroom operates. Kids are up moving and interacting with their peers and the teacher. There are built in brain breaks, and none of this happens in a predominate lecture-style classroom. Use lecture when appropriate, but leverage the power of blended learning to make learning more engaging and personalize.

      I have heard from many that we cannot abandon lecture because that it what the kids will receive when they reach college. Although I agree we shouldn't abandon lecture, I think we are living in the past when we say this. Blended learning is showing up at the college level more and more. Are we preparing our students to thrive in that environment? "Blended" learning is both old- and new-school, and it should employ the best of both.

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    5. I agree that blended needs to stay the combination of old and new. We have to focus on present learning and growth, but we also have to prepare students for their futures-whatever that might be. Teachers need to elevate their teaching methods to accommodate present-day learning needs, but we also need to keep one foot on the ground with the teaching tools that have been successful educating kids to be college students or positive contributors to society immediately after high school.

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    6. I agree with your comments. What do students do when they encounter a traditional setting in college. We need a diverse set of environments to prepare students for the future.

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    7. I do hear what you are saying. I often find myself saying things like, "These kids can't even sit at a desk for half an hour." While I do often give my students break and choice seating, I think that we need to expose them to traditional structures as well. What I want to be very careful of, is using those thoughts as an excuse to shy away from change and innovative possibilities because sticking with the old is easier.

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    8. I totally agree with the transition to college but I do feel that students are not becoming active learners but want to be "spoon feeding notes and answers". The ability to take notes can still be employed but if done in a flipped environment students can learn to listen and write down what they hear while stopping and started a video. This might scaffold that transition so by the time they go to college they have those skills. I would also use a small group setting and require students to take notes during those discussions to practice real time note taking. Lets face it---most of us do lectures with powerpoints or overheads that students copy from word for word. That is not college either. I struggle with this topic as well! But I do feel that there is some merit to created more independent learners as well.

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    9. I agree with everything that you said. I completely understand wanting to make students more independent learners, but if we don't model for them, how on earth will they learn how to do it on their own. I use a lot of different teaching styles in my classroom, as do all of you I'm sure, and I feel like this keeps the students on their toes. It even challenges me to adapt, and this is great as well.

      I feel like we are always mentoring the students. Every day we give them advice.

      My goal each day is to teach the content and have fun doing it. I truly love my job and my students!

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  4. I feel as if the teacher role has been changing for awhile and will continue to do so. There is such a large push for technology in the classroom that it is causing teacher to change their teaching methods and adapt. Teaching in a blended classroom can have several different looks. I love the idea of using stations as I teach in 6th grade where they are making a transition into a middle school setting. They need to still have some level of comfort. It allows teachers to incorporate the technology and other teaching methods into the same exact lesson so that all students are learning and understanding the material which is my mail goals as an educator. Teachers as mentors I feel is a big role no matter what. Teachers are there to guide their students which makes them into a mentor to their students; however, most schools do not have their teachers mentoring their colleagues in different techniques. Everyone has something they excel in and if schools can use that to their advantage schools would benefit.

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    1. I agree with you on the role of teachers changing for awhile. I also teach 6th grade and do feel 6th graders need help with the transition from the elementary school and using stations is a great way to make them feel comfortable. I also think 6th grade lends itself to having teachers be mentors for their students (in my corporation). What a great way to help a group of 25 students start their middle school years off with a teacher they can go to.

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  5. Mentoring is a big part of our role. Another 8th grade teacher and I meet with students during homeroom to help them catch up on homework assignments. I am repeatedly surprised that students generally know what they need to do; in other words they don't need more instruction: they need a cheerleader and a nod of confidence. We really become the parent and the teacher. I also agree with the case the authors make for a blended environment freeing us to have more one-on-one time. Our junior high math curriculum now includes a program that supports inquiry and small group investigations as a primary way of learning and understanding math. This teacher also has to learn to practice patience and persistence, supporting students who are easily frustrated and view the inquiry approach as a waste of their time. I have to suppress my own preferred method of offering students a quick formula instead of allowing them more time to kick around ideas and take a little more time (and sometimes, squander time) to allow a deeper learning in order to discover why we have formulas in math. These opportunities engage more students and offer teachers more opportunities to help students individually. Sometimes students just need kindness and someone to sit beside them and encourage them.

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    1. I agree with you Tammy that mentoring is a huge part of our job. We take on many roles for the kids and that is why some kids don't like when summer comes, because they miss the structure, but also the support from their school/teacher. I always get emotional the last day of school because I worry for some of my kids and what their summer may look like with things they have shared with me. Several students love school because of the relationships they build with friends and staff.

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    2. @Tammy Farlow: I also worked with kids in various study halls to encourage them to complete their homework, and I agree that sometimes all it takes is a bit of gentle, concerned prodding or inquiry to start the ball rolling. I mean, how many students just dive in and do their work without a nudge? Five percent? And @ Kelly Williams--note my comment below in which I mention a girl who just can't wait to go to school because she has relationships there that she has no other place in her life.

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  6. OK. Let me just get this out of the way before my brain explodes. Did I just read that teachers in South Korea make MILLIONS of dollars (179)? I am actually confused why the book brings this type of “teacher” to light because they cannot possibly reach thousands of students using a brick-and-mortar component, which is a component that is required of a blended program (unless perhaps they meet once a month in 300-student lecture halls!). This makes me call them professional curriculum/lesson planners or facilitators instead of teachers. While teachers in blended classrooms offer some individual guidance, these facilitators are offering their lessons purely online. Obviously a financially sound practice, but not blended learning.

    Now, back to reality.

    This chapter begins with a foundational belief that I worry is not being given enough weight. “Students cannot afford a failed experiment with teacher integration” (169). We will never be completely ready when we prepare to make any type of change, but it seems many schools are not adequately judging the readiness factor before “jumping in.” I know of a teacher who was provided with a new online intervention system on which 50% of class time was to be spent, and told to “figure it out.” Too often this seems to happen without any learning time, and students pay the price as we struggle to stay one step ahead of them.

    I really love the term “unbundling” (179) when speaking about the specialization of teachers because we are pulled in so many directions. I do want to be all things to all stakeholders, I just worry that I can’t be my best in all areas. Of the areas noted as possible specialties, I’d love to focus on developing curriculum and being a mentor, and I embrace the concept that we would be able to prove mastery of those specialties through certification, badges, etc. Many of these specialty areas don’t really exist in many schools. Every teacher is expected to be experts on data and curriculum, teach hands-on lessons, lead small group work, and evaluate students. These are just part of the overall job, and I get that, but I do enjoy the thought that we could individually be that much better if we were to also specialize in certain areas. I grow more and more entranced by the blended concept as I progress through the book, but frustrated at how far we would have to go before we get there, and worried about the students who are caught in the middle as we feel our way to eventual full implementation and success.

    This chapter also addresses the mentoring gap (which seems to be missing completely in the purely online educational models noted on page 179). One reason I would love to specialize in this area is because I am adamant that this is the answer to so many of our youth’s problems, not just in school but in their broader lives. I have been involved in one-on-one relationships with high needs students, but these are not the only kiddos who crave the confidence of an adult they can trust. I just this week received a spontaneous DM from a student who I “taught” in study hall. This class was a bit like a blended classroom because I didn’t do any lecturing (of course), and students came with their own basic understanding of the concept and the lesson. I was there to answer questions, facilitate resources, and acknowledge effort. This student contacted me just to ask how my summer was going, express her desire that I return to her school, and get some support as she begins her junior year. She just misses the contact. Teacher-student relationships are so important to many who do not get much time from an adult who just listens to them, and there is no time for that in a traditional classroom.

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    1. Regarding the specialization of teachers most of us have specialized in a subject area. Further breaking down of teacher responsibilities into curriculum development, project development, assessment writing, data collection, etc. can be problematic. How many of us have been taught how to teach by professors who have not been in a primary or secondary classroom for a few years? How about reading books about classroom instruction, or how to write assessments by someone who has never been a teacher? They loose touch with the entire process. I teach PLTW classes, but I put my own spin on the projects and lessons to make them more affective with my students. Everything in the curriculum is taught, practiced, and used during projects. I do not, however, get to write the final exam. (I do write quizzes). The person who writes the final exam is a different person each year. They pick and choose from the curriculum what THEY think is important without having gone through the process of actually teaching it. There was one lesson on a specific skill during the course, but three questions from sixty were directed on this skill during the final.
      My thought is that it could be good to specialize, BUT these specialists need to work with the other specialists throughout the year to make sure everything works together... and is fair.

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    2. @Laura I don't mean specialization such as subject area or GT or SPED, I just mean that we ALL do ALL tasks and it seems none can be done as well with that mentality. However, I have also experienced the negative side of a nameless/faceless entity preparing assessments or resources. Some of my own undergrad courses were written by insert name of well-known educational services company here), and I found numerous errors in the assessments versus the texts. When I directed a couple of profs to the errors, they responded "Thank you, I agree, but all we can do is turn in the finding because the state makes us use this." Frustrating, to say the least.

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    3. Yes, online instructor at $4 million a year.

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    4. That dollar amount is crazy, isn't it!?? Yikes!

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  7. I think that changing the teachers role to a truly blended classroom wold be a big challenge. So many teachers for so many years have gotten used to their way of doing things and managing their classrooms and we all know how hard change is! It will be difficult also to mandate a change and evaluate a teacher on how the change takes place. I think it can be done and approve of changing the role of the teacher but think that the best way to incur such a change would be to train new teachers and have them share strategies with others and hopefully teachers can bring about the change together.
    As for teachers mentoring students, I feel this is an extremely important job for teachers. We recently had a beloved teacher retire and in her retirement comments she remarked that we all just need to love our kids everyday. Sometimes students come to us ready to learn and have a great day or from having a fight with their parents or on the bus. No matter their attitude when they reach us we, as teachers need to be ready to accept and deal with stuggles as the come to us.I think that not only mentoring our kids is important but setting a good example for them through our life and how we live it is one of the most important things we can do for them. Whether we realize it or not little eyes are always watching and little ears are always listening. Our students look up to us and need us more than we think about on a daily basis.

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    1. I love the last statement of your post. This is so true at all age levels. These students look to their teachers to lead by example. They are listening even when we don't think they are. It would surprise many to hear what students repeat from their teachers in other classrooms.
      I am serving on a committee for teacher recruitment in Engineering Technology. When I ask students why they don't want to go into teaching they comment about how much teachers complain about their jobs. They repeat comments about low pay, horrible parents, time commitment, and increasing demands on our time. So sad. I try to only say positive things about my job when students are around. Even if they are in the hall and not in my room, I keep my words positive. It has also improved my own perspective about teaching and approaching problematic (read demanding) parents.
      Another thing, we are constantly being tested. Students come to school with a level of distrust for adults. Sometimes it is because of their home life, or just popular television shows making us look like their enemy. I am upfront with them. I will not pretend to know an answer I do not. I pay attention and take notes when they tell me about things so I can follow up later that day or week with a question so they know they were heard. If they teach me something, I give them the opportunity to teach it to the class. They are the expert on that. It is a game changer

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    2. I love your last statement! We often are the support a student needs and may be the only one they have who can help. Students have so many more issues in their lives and any help we as teachers give them could be everything to them.

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    3. I love how you suggest learning new strategies from new teachers. As working with several veteran teachers I have witnessed how some veteran teachers are reluctant to change with technology and have even hear some say they have witnessed so many changes that technology is just the newest "fad". This concerns me for those students in those classes since this is a disservice to them. I understand they can be reluctant to change, as I am too, but technology is here to stay and maybe under these circumstances including this in their evaluation may be what's best for the students.

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  11. My google account doesn't display my name. It is Juliette Lucas.

    The teacher roll has been changing for quite a while. One area that takes up quite a bit of teacher time, planning time, classroom time is differentiating for the students. While necessary, it was not something that was done years ago. Blended learning would help tremendously with this effort tremendously.
    As far as being mentors to the students, I feel this is absolutely necessary. Many times the only way to motivate or reach a student is by relating to them on a personal level. The only way to do this is by getting to know them. So by getting to know them, their likes, dislikes, dreams, interests you are able to tap into what makes them tick. I think this would be harder to do in blended learning but still very necessary. The teacher would just have to be more creative with how to do that.

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    1. Long distance high five on your observations about differentiating lessons for the students. This is where blended learning would help the most. I feel like a majority of my planning time is spent making several different lessons for the same thing to meet each of the individual needs of my students. Even with this effort I find there are a couple students needing additional instruction because they still don't get it. I try to have several resources for them and even implement a peer mentorship between students.

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    2. I agree that blended learning would be a great help for differentiating lessons for students. Students come in at so many different levels and this way you can meet their needs at that level. It also gives you time for working one on one with a student.

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    3. I'm glad that you brought up differentiation. I can completely relate with the fact that within the last few years that I've taught, differentiation is more of a requirement. Thankfully I have a good team that plans together, so we each take a subject that we feel like we are good at teaching. That way we can all focus on meeting the needs of all of our students. I still use Daily 3 in the classroom to help make sure that I can meet with small groups of students. I only teach whole class for about 20 minutes, and then the rest of the hour is time met with small groups, and individuals working on reading activities independently. We use a free program called Front Row, that I've really found to be helpful for the technology piece. This technology station could be a step in the right direction when it comes to blended learning. It's differentiated in that once the students take the pre-test they work on reading passages at their level. I feel like my students in fifth grade are becoming more independent, which can lead me then to have more of a mentor role.

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  12. When I read this chapter the first page stated, "Students cannot afford a failed experiment..." This not only should be kept in mind with our attempts at successful blended learning, but everything that we attempt in our schools. How many of us have seen or suffered the setbacks of failed experiments in new teaching? Several years ago I ended up teaching a math remediation course for middle school students who were unable to pass the math section of the ISTEP test for their grade level. Teachers in the district I was teaching in at the time were trying a new method of teaching division and multiplication. The students were totally lost. I went to the math teachers and had them try to teach me using the new method, but I too was lost. I started from scratch and brought them up to speed the way my teachers and my mother explained it to me. They all passed their math section that year on the state test. This just reinforced my skepticism of changing things for the sake of change. We need to adopt tested and proven methodology instead of setting our students back. Their inability to succeed reduces their love of learning, and in turn a teachers love of their career. The book failed to mention how student success plays a role in job satisfaction.
    As mentioned in posts prior to my own, teachers already have taken on the job of mentoring. In some capacities it is an official role through the school, and others are opportunities brought to us by the students themselves. Teachers are given many different ways to aid in student learning both in and out of the classroom. How many posts have you read from me saying "Above all else, teaching is about relationships"? Still true. Many of us have transitioned from lecturer to listener naturally. Good teachers know their students and modify their teaching accordingly. Some need more teacher time. Others need to clarify one or two questions before moving on. For some, it is about affirmation of knowledge (Asking non-questions to get the praise they desire for knowing the answer). Within two weeks of the school year most of us have our students mentally categorized for each class period who is in what group. Depending on the content they may flex to a different group, but typically they stay within the same group for most of the year.
    We also know that students don't just bring their book bags to school, but all of their emotional luggage. Talking to our students or encouraging them to talk to another teacher with whom they have a connection can be a game changer. They need an adult to "sees" them, but mostly one who "hears" them. I have attended concerts, plays, and yes even wrestling matches where I had no idea what was going on to show the students support. This is part of being a teacher.
    My thoughts on the teacher role with blended learning. It is not going to happen over night. Those of us who proceed with caution will remain resistant, but a slow transition will gain support from both teachers and students. It is a nice idea about being able to mentor 15 students a year, but right now sounds like wishful thinking. It is no secret small group instruction is the most effective for reasons stated in the book and more. Realistically, our classrooms are overpopulated because we have such a huge teacher shortage, so this part of the Blended world is not looking likely until we solve our employment deficit.
    I don't mean to sound negative to those reading this post. I can see the big picture, but also look a the tiny details too. There would be no forest without the trees... and squirrels.

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    1. I love your post. Thanks for sharing and being honest. You make several great points.

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    2. Absolutely loved your insight!

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    3. Absolutely agree with you and appreciate you just "putting" out your opinions. You make several valid comments and points

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  13. This will be my fifth year of teaching coming up soon and I know I haven’t been in the classroom very long. The role of being a teacher is constantly changing and I’ve seen that in the short time I’ve been teaching. We have different responsibilities and techniques of teaching thrown at us each year. It causes us to change the way we teach and learn new methods of teaching. I know we will always have a role in the lives of our students, but the way we teach will change as more and more things come at us. Our school will change the way we teach next year due to integrating technology and every student having a device. I know we will be able to do some cool things with the devices and it will allow for more computer time than before. We only had one time of computer during the week since we shared a lab as a school, now we will have access in the classroom daily. I have a lot of learning to do when it comes to technology, but it will be fun to team up with other teachers and discover ways we can implement the technology. I see blended classrooms more in middle and high school classes right now. Our middle and high schools have had their devices for a year now. Eventually I could see it coming to elementary, but it will take some time before I’m ready for this. I need to learn the basics and how to manage technology in my room when everyone has a device in their hands.

    As far as mentoring goes, as a teacher I feel we fill this role for students. We play many roles for our students whether is be a parent, counselor, close friend, and etc. As a second grade teacher, I see the different roles I play in the lives of my students. We form a strong relationship throughout the year and many times it carries on for many years after the time I have them in class. I have this relationship with a few of the teachers I had as a student. It is a lifelong relationship and I enjoy the time I have with these educators. The teachers I had can now mentor me as I teach my own students. Several students value the relationship that is formed and that is why the last day of school is so hard for them. It may seem pathetic, but I cry on the last day of school like some of the students because I’m not seeing the students on a daily basis and helping them. Some students deal with some rough stuff, and school is their safe place. I also see some of my students not wanting summertime because they love the routine of school and the friends that they have around them on a daily basis. I feel mentoring will always be something that teachers will do.

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    1. Kelly, congratulations on your 5th year in the profession! I salute your humbleness and pursuit in growth. I have you ask you this question as I feel you actually answered it yourself in the second paragraph: does the role of teacher really change? Truly? Children need to feel your trust. Bottom line. Which you seem to state based on your experiences thus far. Regardless of the way the curriculum and instructional pendulum swing, children most often respond to those they feel they can trust. Just like the chapter states regarding hygiene for educators. We don't care about higher pay, we want to feel safe to be ourselves and to take risks as well as feeling appreciated. THIS is reflected in the classroom. A quality teacher, regardless of method, I believe, knows this. Any thoughts?

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    2. Kelly Shaw- I believe that the way I feel about my students doesn't change and I will continue to do whatever I feel is right and necessary to make their year successful and build deep relationships. I will show them grace and love on a daily basis which many of my kids need. I do see changes in the way I teach from year to year based on what curriculum we get in our room. I completely agree that our job isn't about the pay, but about the kids we are able to impact and help grow in their learning.

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    3. Yes, yes, yes! It is so hard to hear people say to those going into education "why would you go into teaching now?" The roots of teaching have not changed. We are still here to teach and love children. We are here to help them grow both academically and socially emotionally. Education is always evolving. There is always something new and always ways for us teachers to improve. With blended learning, this is a major shift, especially at the elementary level. It is going to take time, training, and open minds. Often times, we as educators are quick to shut down the latest and greatest ideas. Students feed off our attitudes and how we present things. I think as technology evolves we as teachers need to evolve as well.

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    4. I completely agree with you Noelle. :)

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  14. Throughout this whole chapter all I could think about was how I would like to teach at one of these schools. I think with today's society, being a mentor is just as important if not more important to than playing the teacher role. In my school if we had this blended learning set up, and teachers could be more of a mentor, I believe we would benefit greatly as a whole school. That's what probably 30% of our kids are missing. They need positive, encouraging, caring adults in their lives, and we could be those adults! We do the best we can now with what little time we have among making lesson plans, teaching as a whole group for the most part, grading papers, being on committees, dealing with parents...etc. However, I'm this blended learning set up, we could actually have the time to devote ourselves to our students in one of the most important ways we can. This is a very exciting thought to me, however, I don't know if it will ever come to fruition. I see our role as mentors as being a great thing! I'm a teacher because I want to make a child's life better in anyway I can. To be able to provide not only an education but have a mentor role as well is really the best of both worlds!

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  15. Throughout this whole chapter all I could think about was how I would like to teach at one of these schools. I think with today's society, being a mentor is just as important if not more important to than playing the teacher role. In my school if we had this blended learning set up, and teachers could be more of a mentor, I believe we would benefit greatly as a whole school. That's what probably 30% of our kids are missing. They need positive, encouraging, caring adults in their lives, and we could be those adults! We do the best we can now with what little time we have among making lesson plans, teaching as a whole group for the most part, grading papers, being on committees, dealing with parents...etc. However, I'm this blended learning set up, we could actually have the time to devote ourselves to our students in one of the most important ways we can. This is a very exciting thought to me, however, I don't know if it will ever come to fruition. I see our role as mentors as being a great thing! I'm a teacher because I want to make a child's life better in anyway I can. To be able to provide not only an education but have a mentor role as well is really the best of both worlds!

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  16. I love mentoring my students and as a teacher of English in a high-stakes testing state I can say that building relationships isn't always easy when the test is SO important (or at least pushed that way). I always try to set aside some time to delve deeper into my kiddos lives. It usually comes about naturally as we write reflective pieces. It's that constant battle between being a good teacher of content and just being a good teacher. And I often feel that we are told we have to be one or the other. Or sometimes one suffers because of the other-I am not sure. I have a great rapport with my students and hope that no matter how education ends up "looking" that I can continue that. And heck, if kids aren't part of the reason you got into teaching...you need to get out of there!

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    1. Amen to your last point-- If you don't love kids, probably should reconsider teaching. Thanks for your post and sharing

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    2. I agree!
      I'm thinking of a college professor who truly did not like people! Oh, he knew his subject area, but he had no business working with college students (or students of any age!).

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  18. I love the idea of the changing of the teacher role, I think so many more teachers would love to know more about their students but are unable due to having to plan and grade so much. So many get rundown and burn out after a few years. I think that so many more teachers would stay in the field if they were able to reach students deeper than just raising scores. To be able to take the time and truly speak with students about themselves and for it to be supported by the district and school. So many want to know their students but throughout a normal traditional school day it's nearly impossible.

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  19. I think that it is very important for teachers to act as mentors for students. At the high school level the students can sometimes start to drift away from school and having a mentor would help that. I also think that students are pulled in many different directions that it would be nice for them to have someone a teacher to talk to, because sometimes they don't receive that at home.

    I have also seen 1st hand what having a mentoring relationship can do for students. In my role as a teacher/mentor at the high school, I have straightened my relationship with students.

    To have a truly blended classroom would allow the teacher much more time to be able to facilitate discussions and talk and learn from students. I think that is missing in the traditional classroom. The students sometimes all they want is for someone to listen. Sometimes listening to them allows you to find out the "why" for them acting out or not completing their assignments.

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  20. I agree with the part where it says that teachers are critical to the success of blended learning. Teachers are still engaged and working with students even more actively in a variety of ways. This would be a huge change but I love the idea. I would love to be a "guide on the side" where I could focus more on helping students with what they really need. I love being able to work one-one-one and in small groups with students. I feel like it is way more effective. Then the students that are not having trouble with a lesson could continue on without having to wait.
    I also liked the part that said that mentors are capable of "rewiring a personality" and the rapid, unexpected transformations that can happen. I would love to have more opportunities to spend time with my students and check up on them. I feel like we have so much to get in every day and such a small amount of time to do it in, that I don't really get to spend any quality time with them. Teachers are role models and kids are always watching. Setting a good example is so important. I think teachers could make even more of an impact if we were given the time to do so. Kids need the stability and knowing that someone cares.

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  21. I absolutely agree that “getting the design right for teachers may be the single most important determinant” of the success in implementing blended learning in a valuable way. It is imperative that teachers understand the important role they must play in blended learning. Unfortunately, many teachers take on of the following views about “online learning”: 1) “I don’t have to or can’t teach because the online resource does it all”, or 2) “This resource does not teach it correctly.” It will require a well orchestrated plan to model how valuable their contributions will be as small group teachers and mentors for students.

    With teacher morale being at an all time low, building a program that offers motivators to improve teacher satisfaction is paramount. If teachers can see the implementation of blended learning as a way to gain achievement, recognition, responsibility and advancement, we will be able to retain quality teachers who understand that our “factory-model” school is not meeting the needs of our students. If we fail in building a well designed program to be implemented step by step, the defeat will be devastating. One more time teachers will say, “Well, that was a waste of my time.” Our goal now is to build a team to begin searching for resources that will help guide our journey as we take baby, but meaningful, steps toward bringing blended learning to our school.

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  22. I think like a lot of things in education, the times are changing and as educators we need to change with the times to keep ourselves relevant to today's students. Two things really opened my eyes to the fact that I think my role in the classroom is changing rapidly. One, as a coach I spend more of my time talking to my kids about making smart choices and representing family and school then I do actually teaching skill based aspects of the sport. I recently went on a trip to Orlando with my wrestlers, and during that trip we spent more time talking about what makes a great leader and making goals than we did wins and losses. Secondly, I think one to one has really changed the way that I am teaching in my room. The book talked again in this chapter about students working at their own pace and getting away from the factory model. At the start of the school year I would get mad at kids that would log into the objectives for the day and get started before I even said hello to the class. After being in the book study I am starting to realize that this is one of those pacing issues with students. I realize now that some of my students are ready to come into class and get started right away. Other students need me to help get them started and then facilitate their learning in small groups or a mentor setting. I also keyed into what they book talked about in having teachers mentor small groups of students. I have a home room of kids that will be with me for the next two years. This year I did not do much with them other than what was required by the school. After reading this chapter I can see that my home room is one area where I can redefine my role as a teacher and become more of a mentor.

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    1. Justin, I too thought about our home room time as an easy and opportune time to become a mentor to our students. I always reiterated to my homeroom students that they could come and discuss opportunities or challenges with me, thinking that this open forum would behoove them. Now, I think something more structured with the time allotted annually along with a weekly commitment to meet with students individually would be a great professional goal for the start of this next academic year.
      P.S. - I hope you are having a great summer!

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  23. I think that in some classrooms, for some students, the teacher stepping away from the factory-style teaching can be a positive thing. I just don’t think that it fits for all of our students. My students need that face-to-face explanations and interactions that teachers have with students. They have shown to do poorly when faced with a computerized task, versus the same task with paper and pencil. Now when I taught Academic level English classes, I would say my students had a lot more autonomy. I could see a blended classroom working perfectly for those students that are self-motivated and college bound.

    I spoke in my post last week about how important mentoring is. In my classroom, mentoring and teaching life skills like trust, empathy, manners, and respect is more important than curriculum.

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    1. I agree with you, Sarah. Some students just need face-to-face explanations and especially interactions. In my experience, the computer-generated assignments, tests, quizzes, etc. have been poorly received and have netted poor results. "People who need people are the luckiest people.." I also agree that teaching life skills far surpasses anything from a textbook. How do you specifically do this in your classroom?

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  24. The idea of blended learning certainly varies by grade levels. It's interesting to read all of the comments and see the different perspectives from which the teacher/administrator is thinking. I definitely see myself having a mixture of blended learning in my classroom. Yes, my role seems to be changing, and I want to embrace that, but as a few have already mentioned, I still think that there is a place for whole class instruction on the elementary level. My co-teacher and I are definitely excited about working more blended learning into our day. Our school system is emphasizing blended learning as well this year, so I'm looking forward to seeing how we implement more blended learning into our day and see the needed benefits.
    With each passing year, I have more and more students who come from difficult home situations. It is certainly a struggle for many of my students day to day to receive help at home, and that changes the way that I meet the needs of my students. Even at my third grade level many parents aren't able to help their child, so it's necessary to help in whatever way I can.

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  25. Changing the role of a teacher sounds wondeful. I like no longer lecturing, which most students tune out anyways. It would be fantastic to answer questions and facilitate discussion. This would also give more time to meaningful feedback rather than just a "good job". This also give more time to mentor students while not feeling like you are neglecting the other 30. So many students need an adult to speak with and lunch time and after school just isn't always enough time.

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  26. I'm going to start off by addressing the topic of mentoring. I actually teach a mentoring program, so I fully believe in the benefits of having a mentor in your life! My students get paired up to work 1-on-1 with at-risk kiddos in our elementary and middle schools. In my 15 years of teaching, I have gotten to the point where I now have students applying for my program that come in for their interview and tell me how they had a mentor in elementary school that they STILL have contact with and they want to be able to have that kind of impact on a child! It's an amazing program and I love that I'm able to see the impact my H.S. kids have on the kids in our community.
    As a teacher, we are able to have a huge impact on our students. They come to school with so much weighing on them... they often just want to know that someone cares and is there to listen. I like the idea of having a small group of students that are yours to mentor-maybe at the high school level it could be a group that you stay with for multiple years? At my school we have Student Resource Time (SRT/Homeroom) maybe it could be structured around that; although sometimes those classes are over 35 students :(

    I've witnessed a change in the way teaching is approached at my school (my department) over the past few years. I'd say that there is a move towards a more collaborative/blended type of learning trend. That being said, I believe the teacher's role has become more important than ever! The teacher needs to find the BEST way to present content without being the one to directly/personally give it. I know that when I talk to my class, I can say something 3 times and hope they heard it once maybe twice if I'm lucky... if they watch a video (say in a flipped classroom setting) maybe the video only says the concept once (and the kid was checking their phone)! Maybe there is a collaborative activity to get a topic presented...but are all students working equally on the project or is it being done my 1 or 2. I do feel that it does boil down to a true "balance." The teacher has to know how to meet the needs of the students along with the needs of the curriculum!
    The teacher also needs to find that careful balance between keeping the high achiever motivated and working while he/she is rushing through the courses standards; but then the low achiever/unmotivated student is struggling to get through the standards. In my department, we've spent a lot of time the past couple years covering content and aligning curriculum standards-I see the blended classroom throwing a wrench in all of our past planning!

    In my opinion, we can't diminish the importance of the traditional classroom setting. I've spoken with many students that have gone on to college and I always ask what their classroom experiences are like. (I'm curious to see if things are changing) The feedback that I get is that the majority of their courses are lecture and that the professors expect them to sit and listen to lecture and take notes! In the past 2 years, I've been sadden to hear that several students have said they didn't feel prepared for this kind of learning environment. I am wondering if this is due to the shift we've had in collaborated learning and project-based learning. Are we doing a disservice to our students and not allowing them to be prepared for success in college?
    Just my thoughts from the feedback I've gotten form former students.

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    1. I agree that mentoring our students is very important and that they do have many things weighing on them. Providing our students with a person they can trust and will listen to them is as vital to a child’s education as the core subjects. I do let my students have the opportunity to discuss non-school topics but they do have to understand that classwork has to come first. I even set a timer so the students can see that I value what they have to say and they will get to share when the timer goes off. I also follow up on conversations because I do have genuine interest in what is going on in their lives. The students really seem to enjoy this time talking with me as do I listening.

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  27. Life is ever changing and with that said it only holds true that our role as a teacher is always changing. Change can be exciting and challenging. I look forward to what the next school year brings, but then at the same time I get a little anxious about what the changes might be. The change of having a truly blended classroom is a wait and see in my particular teaching position. I already teach in a small group setting with my special education instruction and I also go into some of the general education classrooms. The teachers in our building are using online programs in a rotation during the school day and my role in this rotation has not yet been defined.
    Mentoring students I feel is just a natural part of being a teacher. Parents drop their children off at school and trust them to be in our care daily. In chapter 6 the authors provide the definition of mentoring as, “Caregiver assignment.” Additionally the second half of the mentor definition is, “Provide encouragement and practical plans for dealing with personal dilemmas,” I know I mentor students and sometimes parents daily. Change and mentoring are just natural parts of a teacher’s life.

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  28. I agree that the role of the teacher is and will continue to evolve away from a top-down, teacher-centric model. I’ve always believed that the students should be doing the majority of the work with the teacher acting as a “guide on the side.” I do believe elements of the traditional classroom experience will remain. Instead of simply lecturing, we try and focus on the importance of the interactive lecture. When I think about the teacher as facilitator, I think of the teacher working through the context of a PBL unit. There may be times when there are items that students need to know that may facilitate a mini-lesson on an important topic applicable to all.

    In the district in which I work, we’ve been able to transition to a model that supports the research identified in the motivator-hygiene theory. We place a high value on achievement, recognition and the work. Additionally, I believe we do a good job with the hygiene factors with solid supervision, working conditions and salary.

    I see potential benefits in the increased time for teachers to act as mentors to their students, especially at the secondary level. With 150 students, developing a close relationship can sometimes be a challenge. Mentorship is a very important factor and can be facilitated through internships, athletics, performing arts and other school-sponsored activities.

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  29. As a teacher we are always a learner, and we must be willing to change as our clients change. Teaching a struggling mountain community with low achievement rates, poor parent participation and lack of technology led me to teach in a different way than how I teach in a highly competitive, 1:1 tech community. Likewise, teaching general courses vs electives requires different needs. I find it refreshing that I always have something to learn and room to grow. The blended learning model will also help me from becoming bored and stagnant in a general classroom. I can continue to work on improving my instruction and student opportunities using blended learning. I also love the topic of being a model for our students. We often forget that students can google much of the information we pride ourselves in presenting in a classroom. Yet we can not overestimate our ability to hold students accountable, encourage and motivate, and provide a safe and respectful learning environment that allows for rigorous academics and high expectations. I do see some being threatened by the idea of not being needed as the tried and true master lecturer, and I see some questioning why change a working model....yet I think most teachers would agree that relationships matter in teaching. Those relationships allow students and teachers alike to thrive! And besides, why not try something that has the potential to improve your craft of teaching... As professionals we owe ourselves an honest reflection of what we are doing, what students need and how to bridge the two!

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    1. I love your answer. I agree that as a teacher we must also be willing to learn new things and to bring those things, those ideas and concepts to our students. We need to get them to try new things, helping them become independent in their learning.

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  30. DOING RIGHT FOR STUDENTS AND TEACHERS: I agree there should be more technology in the classroom because the world today outside of the classroom demands it.

    Allowing teachers to teach in teams: I agree, it is always better to teach a class along with other teachers to bounce ideas off of, to glean from them, or to mentor them in an area that we feel comfortable in. Being a teacher in a stand alone class can be rewarding or very difficult. Having fellow teachers to work with is better.

    Extending the reach of great teachers: This can be rewarding for the teacher, student, and district. We can all learn from great teachers...even fellow teachers. Some of the best things I have learned were from colleagues in and out of the classroom/school setting. To be a great teacher, I think you have to have a passion for the material, but most importantly, you have to show someone else how to understand the material. We all know geniuses who are passionate about their work, material, talents, etc. If you can't explain it and break it down so that others can learn from it, that just makes you great at something. Teachers have the ability to show what is so special about whatever topic/material/subject/lesson they teach. Look at athletics or music, great athletes do not always make the best coaches, great musicians can play beautifully....but maybe cannot show a novice how to play just as beautifully. I just saw a show on a remarkable MLB baseball coach, Jim Leyland. He spent 18 years in the minor leagues. He was a AA catcher who never made it to the show, yet he won the World Series as a Manager. He took three separate teams to the World Series. But, if you ask his former players what was so special about him....it was the confidence he instilled in his players. It was the relationship he fostered with his players that made them willing to run through a brick wall for him.

    It takes time to become a great teacher. Most of us are not or will not become great teachers right out of school. We learn how to be better teachers by spending more time with our students and learning how to invest in them. We learn what makes them tick...what frustrates them...what motivates them, but it takes relationship to do so. For me being a seasoned veteran teacher...it is frustrating to see young teachers who are REALLY GOOD teachers, but then they leave the classroom or get out of education all together because of the hygiene factors........

    Fill the Mentoring Gap: Common sense!! We all need to be involved with our students. The best teachers get involved with their students. If you want your students to learn better. Show them that you care, not just that you know how to grade their work. Ask them about their day, pay attention to their other involvements in school or out. It's just like parenting, give them some time and commitment, and it will be a blessing for both parties.

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    1. Hit the nail on the head Mr. Lubbehusen! Best post of the entire summer.

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    2. Great post. I learn something new everyday from my team members and my mentor is always there if I need her! Mentoring of fellow educators should not be overlooked!

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    3. Many of my same thoughts about teachers are expressed in your comments. Thanks for sharing!

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    4. Agree with other comments - so well said. I do have a question - how do we team teach when the paired teacher does not want to be part of a team?

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    5. I connect with your thoughts and ideas in the post. We become better the longer we do--if we truly want to improve in our craft. Great teachers love their students. This has be a "duh" statement. As a second generation educator (my dad was a teacher/administrator and mom a school secretary), I see the impact teachers and school support staff have on students. This is one of the reasons I became a teacher. I want to make those impacts too. I chose English and journalism as my focus areas because those are the subjects I enjoy the most. A couple questions came to mind while I was reading this chapters, however. Will schools start to be divided in the future? Will you have content professionals who develop curriculum and create it into blended formats and then "people" professionals who work with the students? It seems there will be more demand for the "people professionals" since the content will be pre-packaged. Will these classroom mentors/teachers be trained more in psychology/social work and not so trained in their academic areas? Will university teaching programs adapt to train the teachers needed in this sort of future? Will state legislators diminish the role and importance (and professionalism) of the teacher? Who will facilitate all of this change in ways that best reach the student needs and incorporate the value of good, involved mentor teachers who also push and pull students toward their best inside of particular content specialities? I fear non-educators creating a model that educators and students are to fit into without understanding all that encompasses true, passionate and effective teaching which inherently melds mentoring as part of the process.

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  31. After reading through the chapter 6 material, I completely agree that teacher integration is a vital part to blended learning. As a special educator, I feel that there is more opportunity to mentor students when looking at a blended learning model. Again, this just reinforces to me the importance of building relationships with students as well as being able to be a mentor to students.

    The authors did give research evidence that children of divorced parents really seem to benefit to having a mentor in the school setting. The authors also mentioned that students with both parents in their lives reap the benefits of having a mentor in school too!I totally agree with the authors in that being a mentor to ALL students is essential to building positive relationships and creating success. Being a mentor is something I will continue to do as more blended learning is added to the classroom. Possibly with blended learning we will have more time to mentor? This seems reasonable but obviously time will tell as we add more blended learning activities to the classroom!

    Lastly, the authors focused in on motivators for teachers. As a special educator who works hard in the classroom, I appreciate the authors giving ways to maximize teachers' motivators. The authors state on page 178, "To put it another way, to make teachers perform better in their jobs, the schools should work on improving the motivators; financial incentives and the like will not do much." This just emphasizes the importance of continuing to explore different ways to motivate teachers to be the best they can be daily for students. I do feel the hygiene factors are essential too! The motivators and hygiene factors work together in my opinion.

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  32. One of my absolute favorite things to do is pick a few students out of my homeroom to mentor throughout the school year. I use to bring my brother in to mentor some of the boys in previous classes who were struggling for a solid male role model. Mentoring is important on so many different levels. It helps students know that they always have someone to turn to and a light to guide them in their darkest of times. Teaching is way more than helping students learn about the world. We have to look at it as our chance to help these kids become something amazing! As far as the true blended classroom. I for one am all for it. Being able to work in smaller groups and reach the children who really need the small one on one time would be so awesome. I can't wait to start this design in my own classroom.

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  33. I agree with other posts that the role of the teacher has been changing for several years. I feel that many educators have a difficult time with the changes that have been occurring and the administration needs to be the leader for those who find the changes difficult. I also agree with the comments about the traditional classroom as being " inappropriate to the norm." WOW! Yes, changes are happening but don't call the job of teaching in any form, as inappropriate! I have been in the field of education for over 15 years and changes come and go in cycles. The changes happening currently go along with the technology advances in society and we need to embrace them in order to make our education system advance with other nations of the world. I am eager to start a new school year in just a few short weeks (29 days) and one goal I have is to strive to create a more blended classroom even for my special needs students, but I am nervous as well because I don't want to fail my students or myself.

    Mentoring is a job that most teachers embrace. I know many of my colleagues work endlessly do Better the lives of,our students. I know I am blessed to be a mentor for two young ladies who are both looking to become teachers in the future. This part of my job gives me the most satisfaction because I am able to help them see their own potential and how to best navigate in society with peers, at home, or whatever they need. Sometimes my job is to just listen! I know my special needs students too just need someone who truly cares! The book helps us understand that students come to school with many more things going on in their lives when they come to school and the need to have an adult who is willing to step up to make life better. I can see that a blended classroom will give the teacher more time to be a mentor for their students.

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  34. I think the role of the teacher has changed in any type of classroom. The role of the teacher in the blended classroom would one hundred percent need to be that of a mentor. The old guard of education has been struggling with the change in the role of the teacher for a long time. The old guard still wants the 1960's model of I am the teacher I know all so be quiet and listen. The blended classroom teacher would have to be the exact opposite of this and be the teacher that is there when students have questions. I refer to this as the tour guide teacher you show them where to go let them explore and answer questions when needed. I think this new role is why blended would work well with a young staff of teachers and not with an old staff.

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    1. I agree with most of what you said. As a coach, I have worked with both younger and older staff members. What surprised me the most was that many times the younger staff were already set in how they were going to teach- not as open to change as I assumed. Many older staff I have worked with are very open to trying new things. I don't thing that the saying you can't teach an old dog new tricks applies to many teachers- some yes, but many are so open to improving their instruction and being leaders for change.

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  35. Reading this chapter and most of these posts just makes me continue to yearn for what we all know we NEED in order to make so many of these relationship-building things happen: TIME. Great teachers - just like "great" students - have that inherent sense of motivation that empowers them to continue to follow the waves of change and of the expectations placed upon us as educators and rise to them. I feel mostly motivated to do so most of the time. But let me be honest, not ALL of the time, and what I wouldn't give for just a little more time built into the school day for such pursuits! Most of us give so very much of our outside-of-school-time already to this career we love that it can be overwhelming to sit and read about all of these wonderfully progressive learning environments. It seems so far away for most of us I think.

    My focus has to remain trying to be an agent of change in my school as we seek to improve our students and our community by improving ourselves. I must also focus on what I continue to to within the boundaries of my classroom. That is just a reality.

    And for the record, somewhere on this feed someone mentioned the idea of only talking in positive terms about our career when people are listening: to that I say AMEN!!! So many teachers are the WORST complainers!!! It can be really hard to maintain that positive voice, but we MUST for the sake of our kids, our communities, our schools, and our reputations as professionals.

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    1. Using the word TIME really hit me. To learn new concepts takes teachers a while to learn just like students need time. I know of several new initiatives that we are told to implement NOW yet we haven't been given a real chance to learn it ourselves. How to we teach it to children if we haven't had ample opportunity to master it ourselves?

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    2. I also agree we need time. Time is the most important factor in being a change agent. I think that is the main factor that I haven't implemented changes I have wanted to make- that and fear that scores won't be good- that tends to be the driving factor in today's classrooms. We all want to get good evaluations, so we do what we know.

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  36. Teachers will for the most part do what is right. I think teaching in teams is a great way to work toward elevation of teaching. Another good approach is using the professional learning community as we do in my school. Experienced teachers must be given the tools and training to use a blended approach. We cannot just order that blended techniques be used. some teachers who have been in the business have been successful for many years using methods that were the cutting edge 20 years ago. It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks. If I am doing something successful why change is the attitude we will get from many in the business.
    The key is to have them understand and buy into the idea that a blended approach is the right thing. That is why the last paragraph is so good. Doing right for students and teachers. When teachers understand they are doing the right thing for themselves and the kids, they will respond and elevate teaching. Look at the motivators, achievement is number one. Achievement is why we get into the business. Company policy is a factor of job dissatisfaction. If blended designs are used because they are the policy of the district there well be dissatisfaction. If it is because students achieve at a greater level, everyone is satisfied and happy.

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    1. Your statement "When teachers understand they are doing the right thing for themselves and the kids, they will respond and elevate teaching..." is powerful. When we focus on the reason we're there, we will point ourselves in the right direction.

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    2. Pete- I really like your thoughts on working in a professional learning community. Working together with other teachers that share your passion and shared knowledge/tools helps to maximize the success in the classroom!

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  37. We all know these concepts of mentoring and focusing on the lower achievers and the enrichment students to keep them energized and motivated to learn, most truly dedicated educators already do this. I work hard to connect with all my students and occasionally there will be one or two that I take extra care with. These jobs will never be tossed to the side no matter how we teach.

    I love what I do so obviously the money is not a motivator for me. I am most interested in being given credit for what I do well. Let's all admit, testing is what drives our teaching. I did much better and my students scores were higher before we began "teaching to the test". Of course, admins will not admit that is what we are doing but when our evaluations are focused on growth, we do it.

    Still don't really know where i stand on this subject of blended learning. Keep reading and eventually I will come to my own conclusion.

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  38. This chapter gave me the feeling in a few places in the book that the teaching profession is being reduced to a care giver position. That with the blended learning we would only be there for the student to fill their emotional needs that were not being met by the parents.
    I know that if done well that would not be the case, but it would make me worried that if you did not get into a school that was doing it right that easily this could becomes the case.
    I do think that students do have to be prepared for the future jobs, and a lot of the old ways are not preparing them to think creatively, but I'm not yet ready to dump everything about a traditional classroom. Maybe by the end of the book I will be-but not just yet :)
    I think the teacher buy in will be a difficult sell. Teachers will be afraid that the blended learning will eliminate their jobs. I do think that blended learning will reduce the number of teachers needed in the work force making it more difficult for teachers to get jobs. I also see at some point where the pay will be reduced and also teacher "status"/respect will be reduced as well, and the general public may not see the teacher as a professional any more.

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  39. I think that mentoring has always been a necessary and integral part of teaching. I think that students respond better to someone that they are able to see as a role model, as well as someone who has sufficient experience and wisdom to guide them in their educational pursuits in a way that they feel is not putting them at risk of failure. Mentors are people who build positive relationships based on mutual trust, respect, and understanding. I think that it is nearly impossible to attain a true mentor status lacking any of those three components on either side of the relationship. That being said, teachers have a daunting task to build that type of rapport with all of their students successfully. I think that it is possible for teachers to do this, but it can prove difficult. I think that the teacher role in a traditional class is changing every day, considering the pressures that state and federal regulations are in constant upheaval, especially given the current political climate. Teachers have more pressure than they have ever had before as each new political era tries to redefine itself by passing a new round of legislation for how to make education work better. I often feel as though the people involved in the passage of said legislation have no business being in those positions, but I think that is a different thread. I think that the role of a teacher in a blended environment has the capability of providing the teacher with a higher level of job satisfaction if it allows them to focus on student learning and making connections, both to curriculum and personal matters, more deeply. I think that if a blended learning environment has the ability to lighten the load of the pressure teachers feel to help students succeed, then the teachers will likely be more able to focus on the needs of the students, and gain more intrinsic motivation to excel at their jobs as a result.

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    1. I agree with everything you said. Right now with all the state and federal regulations- the evaluation process- has negatively impacted creativity and teacher-student relationships. This book and chapter has made we want to work in an environment like Summit. I am ready for change because what we are doing in my district isn't working. I enjoyed reading your post.

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  40. I loved the Motivator-Hygiene Theory. Those lists rang true for me in all employment situations (past and present).

    My preferred role in a blended learning environment would be curriculum development. I enjoy analyzing data and determining the direction to head, but my heart lies in creating curricula that present core standards in meaningful ways. I do not see myself primarily as a mentor, nor would I want that to be the default choice for all teachers. It is comforting to see the various opportunities that can exist, allowing each of us to specialize where we feel strongest.

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  41. Before I came to the "regular classrom", I was a Montessori teacher. According to Maria Montessori's philosophy, the role of the teacher is to observe, let children explore, experiment, and learn to be self-directed. She promoted the mastery approach which would be achieved through trial and error, imitation, repetition, and exploration. Does this mean that the teacher is less important? Absolutely not! The teacher needs to prepare the classroom environment with all that the students will need to be able to explore and experiment. The teacher needs to be the one to model and guide - and then allowing students to learn to be self-directed and accountable - isn't this a life skill for us adults?
    I see the blended classroom teacher as being similar to the "old" Montessori teacher. We need to have all of the material prepared - ready for our students to devour - but we also need to give them the opportunity to explore - try things - and sometimes fail - and then try again. The blending of technology and learning is a perfect way to do this. We can better meet the needs of all of our students. I agree with many of the posts - the best thing that we can do as teachers is to form genuine relationships with our students and help them to learn how to learn- how to find out answers, what to do when they fail, and how to try again.
    I think that giving up control is daunting for many teachers - that's understandable - however, I think that the better relationships that we work to create with our students, the better work and the better behavior we will see - not because they are worried about punishment but because they want to do well. I am very excited about the blended classroom and the incredible potential that it has for its impact on our students.

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  42. As I have already replied to some of the other comments today, I will keep this short. So many of us seemed to like the concepts of the changing role of the teacher in the way curriculum is presented. I am always up for a challenge. However, I won't limit myself to only mentoring a few of "my kids". They all need the same attention from me, but each for a different reason. I am proud of the elementary school where I teach because I feel that we truly know our students, their families, and their needs. That is what makes us successful as teachers and what makes our students successful as well.

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  43. Change is necessary in a ever changing world. As teachers we are life-long learners and I believe we learn to best meet the needs of our students. As a kindergarten teacher, I feel the importance of mentoring is of utmost importance. The classroom community/family is created on that first day of school. Students know they can depend and trust me. I know it is easier with 25 students compared to middle/high school teachers who have multiple classes.

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    1. I agree the family/community starts on day one.

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  44. I think the change in the role is important. When you stay complacent growth will not happen. The quote from General Dempsey is profound. We as teachers have to embrace changing from a dictatorship to a cheerleader/coach/role model, to draw the youth to enjoy learning and greater success in life in general. For the blended class to work we definitely have to think outside the box. The old way alone will not work.

    I feel that taking on a mentoring role is critical if we want to see a broader success rate for students. Because of the life that many students have they are set up to fail unless someone comes along and takes them under their wing. I like how the book talks about some schools breaking the students into small groups and that teacher works with them for several years. The high school in my school district does this they have a home room time each day for the students to meet with their mentor/coach. Some teachers have embraced the mentoring concept and have had great success, while others see it as a time to get extra work done and let the kids talk. In reading about it I was reminded of the Leader In Me program that I read about a couple years ago. I want to reread the book and talk with my principal about doing this with our kids. I think it will be a catalyst for mentoring not only teacher to student but also student to student.



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  45. In my past 28 years of teaching, I have definitely seen an increase in the need for teachers to mentor. I have to admit that when I was a new teacher, I wondered why some parents did not "parent" their children. As I have been in the schools longer and longer, I have seen the need increase for mentoring, and I also understand why that need is there. It is unfortunate but is a part of the world in which we live. I guess with blended learning, I can see that there is more time for this mentoring. In the past, it was exhausting and depressing knowing that the time to cover everything in class was not there. There can now be mentoring for so many different reasons. A teacher can even act as a mentor for students wanting to delve deeper into a subject area. The teacher/mentor can be a guide. I truly think that blended learning opens so many doors and opportunities for ALL students needing help in so many different aspects. School should be teaching for life and not just standards.

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    1. I completely agree with you that schools should be teaching for life and not just standards! With the expectations from state, etc- it seems that all we have time for is drilling standards and trying to manage behavior issues. I also agree that blended learning opens so many doors and opportunities for students ( and teachers too).

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  46. Chapter 6 Elevate Teaching
    Traditional classrooms needs to change. We don't want students to get rewarded for just showing up to the classroom and staying awake. In today's classroom, we want students who can communicate, who are inquisitive, who collaborate on assignments. The new role of the modern day teacher is serving as a mentor to help students succeed in the classroom and life. Teachers role as a mentor works with groups of 10-15 students. The teachers forms a personal relationship with each student. Students work with the teacher to identify interests and personalize learning. Teachers should focus on developing deep, personal relationships with students.

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  47. I would say that teachers' roles definitely change in a blended learning situation. I think it is important that teachers have these sorts of discussions so that they remember how important they are with or without technology. While my school does not have an official mentoring program between teachers and students, I think that we pride ourselves on knowing kids and their families. We have a relatively small school with 2 sections of each grade level K-5. With duties such as directing the carline at the end of the day, I always enjoy getting to know many kids from the time they are in kindergarten and then all the way through. They light up when you know it is their car approaching or when you ask them about things that are going on outside of the classroom. Isn't making that connection with kids what it is all about? I think that whether you are young or old, students or teachers, we all base our satisfaction on those motivating factors. We want to feel appreciated and connected. That connection seems easier in a small elementary than it might be in a middle school or high school. I spend all day with the same group of kids and play the role of teacher, parent, mentor, social worker, mediator, small group facilitator...the list goes on and on. I feel like we have the gift of time together that allows for more of that mentoring to happen informally rather than in a middle or high school when kids are moving with a bell every hour.

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  48. As the role of the teacher changes it is so important for the school to provide time for professional development opportunities. Even great teachers need time to learn new things.

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    1. Professional development is something I have truly missed these past couple of years. The previous five years our school had a grant that allowed for professional development for many teachers. When the grant ran out, our professional development went from amazing to zero. It was attending PD conferences that kept me inspired and motivated to become a better teacher. I am glad this summer I chose to read this book and attend the related conference on July 20th. Sometimes it is difficult to go to sleep because my mind is racing about Blended Learning!

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    2. There would need to be a lot of professional development for this to be effective in the classroom.

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    3. I agree. When I first started teaching I was able to attend quite a few workshops and conferences. It was really helpful, and I feel like I was able to get a lot out of it. After about my fifth year teaching slowly these opportunities started to stop. We had a wonderful speaker named Kristina Smekens come in once a year to teach us ideas on writing. She was fabulous. After the first two or three years, the teachers who had been around for awhile were not invited to come. She would bring in new things, so it was frustrating to not be able to be a part of that. The school was only allowed to send so many teachers. Our school has gone through a lot of changes. Over the past few years we've transitioned from a letter grade report card to a standards based report card. This has changed the way the teachers report out information on how the students are doing. We haven't had much PD on how to write curriculum. We've had to make up our own curriculum because the way our school is moving the pre-packaged curriculums just don't work. It would be great to have some PD on how and where to find resources that will meet the needs of our curriculum.

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  49. My first initial reaction was that I always thought teachers were mentors. I mean teachers don't just stand in front of students and lecture and then walk out the door. I have always found that students will go to teachers during class or after class or before class or after school or whatever and seek out a teacher's opinion for different situations or for support and I call that mentoring. Secondly I would like the idea the teacher spend less time writing out lesson plans only to meet minimum demands of being evaluated. Who wants to spend two for ten hours a week just writing out lesson plans? As a music teacher I personally found this very laboring and did a copy and paste format where I could just simply have the same format which actually made me a better teacher and then I could spend less time writing lesson plans that way but still I spent a lot of time on lesson plans myself which I could have spent making relationships with students. I also feel like this would be a huge challenge for teachers because there was already so much on our plates and as we know you never take stuff off of plates administrators or the government or whoever seems to always want to add more to our plates. I definitely agree that we should mix old school with new school because number one there are things that always work and number two there are things that are always changing.

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  50. I have many thoughts about the change in teacher role in a truly blended classroom because it is so far off from where we are now. I cannot imagine a blended classroom where teachers are working together in teams. I think this would be awesome. I love the idea of creating learning studios. When the six-layer chessboard was mentioned, it put a dark cloud over my excitement because there are so many things I want to try but fear of rejection and the hand cuffs that we find ourselves in really dampen our creativity. As I read this chapter, my thoughts were " I want to teach in a school like Summit. I could grow so much in an environment like that.

    I think the need for teachers to act as mentors to our students is significant. We are already do that everyday to some degree. I love the possibility of mentoring that was discussed in this chapter. Too often we get overwhelmed with the planning, grading, behavior issues that we don't have the time to reach the whole child.

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    1. The image of handcuffs on teachers is so real. Things we used to do that were successful can not be used as it is not in our current curriculum or adopted as our text of choice. I did not choose many of these components (my colleagues did) and, truthfully, the publishers claim to know what is best but I doubt it.

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  51. I like the idea of the role of teachers changing. Mentoring students is just as important as delivering curricula. The ratio of teacher to student prohibits great mentoring, however. Having a blended learning style classroom would increase the chance of mentoring students.
    I'm not sure I understand how blended learning reduces teachers creating lesson plans. Doesn't the teacher in a blended learning classroom need to know at what level each student is working? And doesn't that teacher need to deliver lessons to that student in a small group instruction? Would a blended learning English Language classroom never have group discussion on novels or short stories? That would be something I would dearly miss.

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  52. # 1. What exactly is the definition of a "value added" teacher (see page 182 footnote # 1 in reference to page 169)? I'm not sure I have ever seen that term used before.

    # 2 Page 170 We had a position in the ELA department of our middle school for next year. If we had had any internal teachers from the high school interested in this position, the board of trustees would have taken an English instructor from the health classroom and then put the health class in an on-line format. They would have staffed the Plato class of health with a paraprofessional. The goal would be (obviously) to save money by not hiring an additional certified instructor.

    # 3 Quote: "...sitting in the back of the room, disgruntled and disengaged." How in the world could this ever, EVER happen?

    # 4 Mentors: We have our 5th period "homeroom" class every day. Each teacher has 15 - 18 students for whom they are responsible. We are for these students in whatever way is necessary. We will serve as liaisons between them and other teachers or administrators if necessary. We will contact CPS or local authorities if necessary. We will get them clothes, gas money, whatever when needed. We stay in constant contact them them and with their parents as appropriate. We help them track their goals, grades, and graduation requirements. We talk about shopping, cars, cradles, travel, TV shows, and anything that comes up. It is a purposeful planned time that allows teachers to have daily contact with a very few students in a more meaningful, personalized way. I can say that last year (our first try with this), it worked well enough that we are tweaking and continuing it for another year. Personally, I believe that of my 17 students, I made a big difference in the lives of 3 students - impacted them in a significant way. For the others, I believe that they released stress, vented frustrations, voiced complaints and concerns (with no censoring), and were assisted in getting through the day. I believe everyone benefited to some degree. One kid always used the computer to play games, shop, or use his email because he had no internet at home. Some kids played games (including me, the teacher) while other braided hair, repaired nails, or debated the Ford vs Chevy controversy. Students sat on top of the desk, in my hair, in circles, or sprawled out on the floor. It is relaxed, informal, yet safe and secure. We have confidentiality guaranteed. We have this time just to be with the kids with no overpowering lesson plan or agenda that must be met. I know that one of my "success" stories came about because my students know that I have two gay children and three children of different races. This opens up many discussions and for the LBGT students it is very empowering.

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    1. This type of homeroom sounds amazing! We currently have homeroom during the first period of the day, but it does not seem nearly as productive. Do you have training or guidelines for what is to be done during this time? Any special considerations when placing students into classes and assigning staff? We are looking for new ways to help give teachers time to connect with students, but "homeroom" has not worked well because of a lack of structure/expectations. I'd love to know how you lead teachers to make this a productive and valuable part of the day.

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  53. # 5 I found the hygiene factors fun and interesting. QUOTE: page 177 "The surprising finding is that employees can love and hate their jobs at the same time. So true.

    In the corporate world lately, the notion that "people don't quit jobs - they quit bosses" is something we can't ignore. Teachers are subject to the rules, practices, policies of the building principals under which they work. Principals have SO MUCH POWER within their building by creating the culture and managing the morale of their staff. I don't think the power of the principal is really addressed as much as it should be in this context.

    # 6 "Aside from becoming the head of a department, the only way for most teachers to move up in this line of work is, in fact, to stop teaching so they can be "promoted" into an administrative job." This put me in mind of the old "Peter Principle" where a person elevates himself to his highest level of inefficiency. Good teachers do not always make good principals; good principals do not always make good superintendents.


    I have also seen the case where really average, mundane teachers who want out of the classroom will take additional schooling to become counselors, principals, etc.

    # 7 The NEA is supportive of digital learning (see footnote # 29 and page 181), but based upon some of the language in current bulletins and newsletters, I don't think the ISTA is quite as supportive.

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  54. The role of the teacher seemingly should stay the same if we look internally at the structure of school; that is that schools have remained, at least in the public realm, very traditional. In addition, it could be argued that the college level continues that traditional setting of lecture and few collaborative opportunities. However, our world has changed and our kids have as well! That is the reality of why the role of the teacher may need to change after all. It is not a new idea that teachers act more as facilitators than the all encompassing oracle but the need to create more active learners is become much more difficult. Students enjoy activities, simulations, and projects; however, those teacher lead activities are not creating students that create learning for themselves. Often I see students have a lot of difficult in critical thinking and application of material. As I think about this chapter, the abandonment of in class lecture, even the short 35 minute lectures I normally do, is scary at the high school level. It is also something I have trouble with because those students will still need to learn to function in a lecture hall in college. But I agree that good teaching results in higher student outcome and if the students are coming to school with the need to see progress, I see more and more that students feel that progress when THEY create it not in response to what I do. I also agree that the core skills of communication, inquisition and collaboration are center in our schools and world today and that because of this shift, there needs to be a shift in our schools. I appreciated that the chapter recognized that teachers are the key to success and it is a main philosophy of mine that building relationships is one of the most important roles of teachers and schools; fitting with the idea of mentors. In our school we started the mentor program and it has been very successful, but along with that is the care that teachers in our school take to get to know kids and to make connections so they feel supported throughout their day. One of the tactics I plan to employ is the idea of a flipped lecture on a regular basis and that students can opted in for a lecture the next class period for "remediation" before participating in the collaborative or station rotations/labwork in class. I would be interested to see how many students would do this and what the results might be! Non-lecture days in a high school will be interesting to try and see what works! I am excited to try this; lets face it, it is a risk but sometimes risks yield great change!

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  55. The idea of a mentor has been used frequently in working with people. The catch is that it is difficult to assign a mentor. A mentor and mentee relationship is something that often works naturally and statistically speaking does not work as well when assigned. Which to say that it shouldn't be done but maybe could be reworked when not working. I really liked the Motivator-Hygiene theory. I would agree that blending learning teams would help teachers in job satisfaction.

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    1. I like your thinking here. Often I will get questions from kids that are not necessarily my students, but I see them a lot and show I care.

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    2. I was thinking the same thing. We have some students that don't seem to have (or even want) a connection to any staff at our school. If this is really such an important part of teaching (which I feel it is) perhaps more focus and training for teaching teachers to be good mentors should be incorporated into teacher training programs and PD.

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  56. I believe that teachers always have been a "mentor" to the students. Teachers have always set guidelines for everything in the classroom. Does a mentor have to be like we traditional think, or just someone that sets a positive example? In the classroom, teachers need to show how to use technology in the classroom. If a teacher sets a good example, those students who want to learn/succeed will have no problem learning. If a teacher sets a good example and the students don't have a desire to learn, things suddenly become difficult. I still believe that it comes down to a student having a desire to learn and succeed. If there is no student desire, no matter how good a teacher is, students will not learn. If students want to learn and the teacher is passionate about education, anything is possible. Students will learn in any classroom with any level of technology as long as the teacher is passionate.

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  57. "Schools across the country are integrating teachers as mentors in a variety of ways. For example, some schools assign students to have the same teacher for multiple years so that each student has a stable and continuous relationship in her life. Blended learning can help... it can free up schools to keep groups of students together with one teacher over many years, even as the students' academic abilities progress" (p. 175).

    This statement provides one way in which blended learning can possibly benefit students and teachers in an elementary level. I feel, as a 6th grade teacher in an elementary school, that this has potential with consistency and a true understanding and witness of student growth; yet it could also have some serious drawbacks as far as student/teacher personalities, and the lessening of learning from a variety of teaching styles and knowledge. A better potential is that of mentoring small groups at the elementary school level. A blended approach to learning can certainly reduce teacher stress with lesson preparation and whole class instruction and management, but allow the teacher to thrive with small group instruction that allows him/her to focus on the students and their specific targeted need. I do believe that, given the 180 day time frame, this consistent small group meeting and instruction will certainly lead to a better relationship between student and teacher, which could certainly lead to educational gains.

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  58. I love the idea of mentoring students. I think that until you take a moment you may not really know what is going on in their lives. Their home life is related to how they perform in school. When I taught first grade...I made it a point to eat lunch in the cafeteria with my kiddos and not the teacher lounge. I learned so much about them in that short time. One day I decided to sit next to a kiddo that seemed to be having some behavioral issues in the classroom (who was typically a very well behaved child) during that lunch he mentioned that his dad was living with his grandma...his mom threw a cake at the wall by his dad and his dad left. BINGO...that was it! Now I understood and could work with that! I would never had know this...hadn't I taken the time to listen and ask. Which really connected with Steve Gates comment: "There is a very direct correlation between family issues and what the kids present in school." I love the idea of students being connected to teachers for several years...I think a bond could surely be made there. The only concern of mine with that is what if a child didn't have a good connection with that teacher and they weren't "compatible" putting them with that teacher for numerous years may be detrimental.

    When reading the part about the military and what they are looking for in soldiers...I turned to my husband who is a veteran and currently works with veterans. I asked him if this was the case...I was expecting a different response...but he totally agreed with it! A part that strikes my sense of wonder is the social skills. Many areas of life say that kids lack the ability to be social because they are so tied to computers and technology...would blended learning be an accomplice to that?

    Overall I like the idea of blended learning and feel that this would especially be a great fit in an alternative learning environment...worry about the younger grades moving towards this...but think it is worth looking into.

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  59. Be a "Guide on the Side", not a "Sage on the Stage". That was the request of my department head in 1988!! Boy, he was a guy that thought outside the box. He was brilliant. He was often reprimanded because he kept teaching kids to "Question the Answer, Don't Answer the Question". He NEVER gave the kids the answer, he kept asking THEM a question right after they asked him a question and this frustrated everyone...but me! As a new teacher, I LOVED this style of learning and have tried to continue this line of thinking, but somehow I turned into a "traditional teacher" anyway. I have always felt creative, but was browbeaten at times to conform to teaching page by page from the text book and keeping pace with the department rather than with my kids. The comment from the text that said teaching and lecturing from the whiteboard should not be the NORM is so important. As a high school math teacher, I have always felt the need to teach my kids what they could never learn on their own but I always wanted them to really LEARN the math not just DO the math. We just CAN'T continue to lecture all the time, but I am a witness to an individualized program at our school that both of my teenagers have completed and they don't LEARN, they DO. It is a bit frustrating to see them just complete tasks online without really learning anything. I am so excited about this book and where I work because I am ENCOURAGED to mentor my students. We are 1:1 so the environment is limitless. I continue to struggle though with what exactly to provide for my students to actually complete the math work required. I struggle with the fact that they may DO the online learning but NOT pass the state math test. How do I blend traditional with creative to support the findings of this book and the blended learning so that my students truly LEARN the math, ENJOY the math, and PASS the test?

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  60. Every year I try to get to know the students even more than I did the previous year. I think it's important for the students to know that we care about them on a deeper level. It's way harder to tell someone you know or trust, that you don't want to participate with them. Students that feel like they are a part of the group will give more than the child that is never acknowledged. This child is being left out. I think it's important to get to know the students and to be able to talk with each of them. I am at a small school. It is a huge advantage to knowing each of them. I was lucky enough to teach at a placement facility before teaching in a public school. It was not a normal school setting. It taught me to be flexible, to give time to the students to know me, and to see that each student is different, needing different things. I have brought this mindset with me. It will always be a part of who I am. I have to make a connection with each of my students. Sometimes it is hard, but I always find something that we have in common. Mentoring is an important part of the classroom.

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  61. When I look back at the thirteen years that I have been in the classroom, I am amazed at the evolution of my role as a teacher. Admittedly, I have often thought that my college experience did not fully prepare me for the changes I have experienced. In all reality though, how on earth could it have? I think that 15 years ago we all realized we were on the brink of a technological revolution, but there was no way predict how far reaching it would be. Similarly, I can't even begin to guess what our profession will look like in another 15 years. All that I can say is that I am open to the changes and I am doing my best to embrace them. My co-teaching partner and I have had several conversations this summer regarding blended learning and our plans for the upcoming school year.
    I am curious to see how my role shifts with a more blended approach and I hope that I can adjust my role to meet the needs of my students. The quote on page 171, "guides on the side," struck a chord with me. My family will be the first to tell you that I am a bit of a control freak (Ssshh! Don't tell them I said that!) and I will have to work at relinquishing some of that control. I have mentioned several times through this book study that I am concerned about the management and orchestration of a truly blended classroom.
    I do really like the idea of teachers and their role as a mentor. Developing special relationships with my students and their families is my favorite part of my job. So many of our families face hardships and challenges that impact the students in our classrooms. It is important to me that I meet the personal and emotional needs of my students too.

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  62. The role of the teacher will continue to change. Since we are life-long learners, we have to embrace the change. This year, the elementary schools in my district are going one-to-one. While I still have a lot to learn about all that technology has to offer, I've slowly been learning new things and will continue to do so. I've enjoyed getting ideas from other staff members, and I plan to on continuing to do so.
    As for the need for teachers to act as mentors- I think this is our most important role, especially in today's world. Building strong relationships and trust are key to student success. Getting to know a child's interests and asking them how their weekend was are simple ways to do this. I spend a lot of time building my classroom community at the start of the year, and kids enjoy our classroom meetings throughout the year.

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    1. I think you make a great point about how our role is always changing. We just went 1:1 last year and it's definitely been a learning experience! Education and students are always changing and we need to as well.

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    2. Going foward with change is key to stay current. I agree.
      Natosha Bruner

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  63. The summit experiment allowed me to see myself in a different role. Teachers as small group instructors or tutors is appealing. Mentoring is not a role I would embrace. Showing concern short term and directing students to qualified professional within the school corporation would be the best option for me. I would hate the idea of getting it wrong.
    My school is located in a low income urban area. I teach the same (MOCD) students for three consecutive years. Students and I bond but it is not same relationship as with their family. Academic coaching would be possible by adding blended learning. I would be interested to trying this with my students.

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  64. The role of the teacher could be the organizer. If you are wanting to work on a blended classroom, you have to organize what is going to happen for homework and for class time. The one role that has changed since I started teaching is that students should come up with their own methods for the mathematical madness that I am giving them. It used to be here is your assignment or project and everyone gives you the same thing. Now students can use the technology and the resources that I give them and they can do their own thing. In the last 7 years, we as teachers have evolved a little. The methods we were given in college may not apply to the school we are teaching in. The process of giving information and the technology has changed. I am sure as we go through the next 7 years something else will change and we as teacher will adapt to that change just like we have been doing.
    I have worked in two different types of school settings: one inner city and the other rural. I feel that the general role of teachers is drastically different. In one setting it is our job to make sure that students are coming to school and we are prepping non-stop for the dreaded test. I feel that in that case the teacher was more of the leader and the “drill sergeant.” In the other school setting, we are teachers are to mentor students through the school day whether it is during class or in homeroom. Students need some guidance as to what they need to do to complete the course or the assignments. Most students in both of these schools just need someone to motivate and encourage them. In the inner city school that I worked at, a lot of the students didn’t have the best home life and they were responsible for their siblings. These students needed to know that someone was there for them not just as a teacher.
    Regardless of what style of teaching you are going to do in your classroom, being a constant source of encouragement in the classroom and outside of it is what is going to motivate your students. I absolutely love seeing my students participate in extracurricular activities. :)

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  65. There are many opportunities that come with the blended learning model. The teacher as a facilitator has always been a favorite of mine. I like the idea of coach and/or mentor because it aligns with the idea that relationships are a key component of student success and longevity within a learning environment. There has been research to show that students with strong relationships with teachers maximize their post-secondary opportunities and also find a great deal of success as adults in their career paths. Schools are always looking for ways to better connect with students. Providing a more flexible instructional time/space can allow us to get creative with our time and resources for the betterment of students of all needs. This time could be devoted to mentoring, remediation, enrichment, community outreach, peer tutoring, and so many other options. Once the time/space has been designed, planned, and organized, the creativity can begin!

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  66. I am encouraged by the idea of teaching in an atmosphere that fosters additional one on one instruction and a “focus on the development of higher-order thinking skills and dispositions” (Horn and Staker 170). The idea of blended learning being implemented in order to enhance instruction rather than as an administrative function sounds ideal to me. I got in to teaching as a second career because I was motivated to remain a lifelong learner with my students. As I was reading the motivators for teachers on page 178, I reflected on the fact that “achievement and recognition” were both oddly reminiscent to the previous chapter’s discussion of the two jobs that are the highest priority for most students: feel successful and make progress! In the mentoring role, highlighted in this chapter which allowed us to reflect on our reading of Greek and Roman literature, teachers and students work together in developing the tools in which every student can be successful.
    My husband was in the military and after reading the General Dempsey discussion from page 171, I asked him his thoughts about blended learning. A phrase that he used with his platoon was “train to task not to time”. Within the context of blended learning individual students have this same option! He mentioned the fact that as a society we may be too caught up in the idea of grade levels along with the original brick and mortar setting. His thought was that student managed learning is a great idea, but as a society we would have to rethink the prescribed educational institution. My husband and I then had a long conversation about what student or “baseline product” we are trying to produce as teachers. His comment was that many students are not motivated enough to set personal goals and create efficient time management in order to pace themselves in their current learning environments. How are they being motivated or incentivized? Developing learners that can create their own goals and develop healthy learning habits from a young age is the key. He believes that with a bottom up approach in implementing a blended learning platform the potential of being more successful for the individual student would increase. Each student being “trained” to set goals and manage time efficiently would drive learning well past the current levels of thinkers, skills understanding, and individual experience integration.

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  67. This is the chapter I needed last week! Last week I was writing about a number of challenges I saw as a teacher in a blended classroom, but this resolved most of the issues I ran through in my head.

    Personally, I love the idea of teachers being mentors. I love the quality time I get with my students, working one-on-one with them. That's the best part of my day, on the days that I can make it happen (which isn't nearly often enough). I have almost 200 students in a single day, which makes it nearly impossible to truly mentor any of them. I would love to have a system in place that would let me work with 15 or even 30 of them in a mentor capacity, where I could break things down and do smaller lessons as needed. That, and it fits my personality a lot better. I don't always like to be the center of attention as 30 people stare at me.

    I'm not going to say that I'm still not concerned about the role of online courses in these blended classrooms, because there is so much that can go wrong. There are so many ways for school corporations (and state government) to rely too much on the online resources and data that the teacher, no matter how hard they try, is still sidelined. That still worries me. But if there was a system in place that made me a mentor, I would feel much more comfortable.

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    1. I love when I am able to spend time 1 on 1 with students as well. You can learn so much about them and that helps me figure out how to best help them meet their goals.

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    2. Holly,
      Your last paragraph did such a great job in articulating my fears. I'm thankful I'm not alone.

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  68. I like the idea of a different teacher role within a blended classroom. I think small group instruction is very important because you’re focusing in on the needs of 6-8 students rather than 28. I think small group instruction is perfect for those students that need more guidance before working independently. On the other hand, you are not hindering those students that are ready to work independently. I wish I had enough time throughout the day to meet with my struggling students in a small group, while allowing the rest of the class to move forward and to work at their current level.

    The idea of being a mentor to my students is something I have gone back and forth on throughout this chapter. I have had a student in the past that had a mentor that came to visit with him during recess/lunch and I felt like this relationship was very positive and helped this student! I don’t think my mentorship would look quite like that or be as impactful, but I still feel as teachers we take on many roles and being a mentor is one of them. Something I would need to give more thought to is how mentoring would look in my classroom.

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    1. I like the idea of mentoring as well. Studies have shown that relationship building is an important part of education. Students learn more from a teacher that they trust and respect.

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  69. I like the idea of changing the teacher’s role. Thinking back to when I was a student, I learned more in classes that were project based, I could work with peers, and a teacher guided our learning. I typically tuned out in classes where there was long lectures, especially when it was repeated what was stated in the textbook. I try to keep that in mind in my classroom routines. I typically lead a small group of 4-5 students and they rotate around three stations. I can then work with the needs of each group in regards to reading comprehension. I then use my assistant to help with other groups. This year, I am going to be trying to implement blended learning by having one or two groups using online learning during those times.

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  70. Our roles as teachers constantly change and I feel that I do some of these roles now that are mentioned in this chapter even though I am far from being in a blended classroom. Don't teachers already act as mentors to their students. I teach 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade math and have the same students for 3 years. So students I get in 3rd grade will be I'm my 4th grade math class and then my 5th grade math class. There are benefits to having the same students for three years. You know what motivates them and where their weaknesses are and can better address their needs. I work already with small groups and use a station rotation. I still do some whole group teaching as well.

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  71. What do I think about a shift in teacher role from "star of the show" to mentor/guide?? YES YES YES!!!! I think it is a wonderful idea! I would love to let instruction take place a the student's pace and guide them where they need it! I feel like this is exactly what I have wanted to do as a teacher since I stepped into the classroom. I would much rather spend my time figuring out how to help my students on their level and planning engaging, hands-on learning opportunities that enrich than planning bland lessons that follow the basil reader and grading papers! I am ALL for this shift, I feel like my wheels are spinning on super speed right now!

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    1. I agree as well. I particularly liked the idea of the specialized roles so that teams of teachers can work together and pick the roles that suit them the best. I think this would be very invigorating to try!

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    2. I love the shift from teacher as the giver of all information to the role of the supporter of student driven inquiry!
      Natosha Bruner

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  72. Overall, I think the change in teacher role in a truly blended classroom as it is described in this book sounds exciting and beneficial for students. I like the idea that blended learning can free time for teachers to form stronger relationships with students, provide small group instruction, and even give students individualized and personal tutoring. For example, as an English department, we often discuss the need to individually conference with students about their writings. However, reality always sets in and we struggle to consistently integrate individual conferences into our plans. When we do individually conference with students or even provide small group instruction though, the students not only respond well from having the lesson customized to meet their particular needs, but also enjoy the attention and conversations that are easier to have in a one-on-one or small group setting.

    It does seem that more and more students lack strong adult role models in their lives and would benefit from a mentor at school. Whether it be in an official or unofficial capacity teachers regularly act as mentors to their students. I like how some schools mentioned in the book created official mentoring programs where teachers are assigned a small group of students to meet with on a regular basis and advise. I think all students could benefit from a similar program- shy students who often feel overlooked would have the opportunity to connect with their mentor in a smaller setting, students who lack involved parents would have an adult to turn to, etc.

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    1. I couldn't agree more that students are lacking strong adult connections. I have dealt with a lot of students from broken families and the connection they make with a teacher is sometimes the only positive adult role model in their lives. I do like the idea of schools offering mentoring programs for students who may need a boost in self confidence or simplyrics just one on one time with an adult who truly, genuinely cares for them. I had the opportunity to start a friendship group with a second grade class. I had there new students to begin the year and I could tell they just weren't ma,ingredients a lot of new friends. With the friendship group, students were allowed to eat lunch in the room with me and we would play a simple board game or some type of activity while also discussing the benefits of having friendsome. We also talked about ways to be a good friend as well as what to do if you see someone who may need a friend. I found this group to be very beneficial within my classroom. I also noticed that a few of the discipline problems within the classroom were resolved.

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  73. As I have been reading the comments and replies, I noticed that most of us are for the idea of a blended classroom. The idea that we will not need teachers is a very bad idea. I feel that there will be a need for the teacher. Our job may change from a person that delivers knowledge, to the person that guides the student in their quest for knowledge. We must adapt and embrace this change. There is no way to stop it. How many states now have on-line high schools where students never have to attend a class. This is what is coming. I have taught on-line and came to realize this a long time ago. On the bright side, we (teachers) will be looking at the responses and guiding the student in their quest. We can not leave a student out there alone. they will still need guidance and that will be our job to provide it.

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  74. Teachers and staff all need to be on board for any changes in curriculum for schools. It's difficult to implement changes if someone is against the change. Some students will lose out because the teacher is not embracing the opportunity for improving learning.

    Change is hard. That is why as teachers and staff we need training and an understanding of why this method or change is needed. Then we all feel ownership in the project, we all work to make it happen and improve ourselves, our students, our schools, and our community.

    Teachers have always been mentors. Now we are expected to address a myriad of problems each student brings with them to school each day. It's helpful for students to have a friendly face and someone to be their "cheerleader". I make a point everyday to single out 5 to 7 students. I say I am glad to see them, they made my day by being at school, they are special and make our school better because..., and so on. Students and staff need to feel important and cared about to keep them motivated.

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  75. In a true blended learning environment, gone are the days of the lecture based lesson. Instead the teachers role is to answer questions and guide discussions. The Summit school that we have been reading about found this type of engagement, as well as specialized roles, to be fulfilling for the teachers. I am certain it took some time for the teachers to get used to their knew roles. And it also seems that they phased lecture based learning out, giving time for both teachers and students to get used to the new approach. I think phasing out the more "traditional" model is the important step so that both students and staff can get used to the new way. Changing roles could also be handled case by case. Veteran teachers might need more time to adapt to their new roles in the classroom while younger teachers might respond and adapt quickly.

    As for a teachers role becoming more of a mentor type role, I can see the benefits to this for both parties. This past spring, I volunteered to work with a small group of students after school on Wednesdays. The purpose of the group was to help bring up these particular students grades. Turned out the group needed much more than just academic help, they also needed the confidence to do well. This role allowed me to also be a type of mentor to help the kids understand that they can be successful in school. As the chapter stated, an increasing number of students today are are needing a mentor in their life. In many cases, it is the only hope for a child to find success.

    As a teacher of nearly 900 students a week, I found working with a small group as not only a tutor but also a mentor to be fulfilling for me. As the chapter states, the need to help students can also improve teachers' job satisfaction. The part in the chapter that discussed specialized responsibilities for individual teachers was particularly interesting for me. I love how teachers were given the option to chose a role that not only they could excel in but also enjoy! I think this specialization could be re-invigorating especially for those feeling "burned out" in the traditional classroom setting. Great chapter this week!

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  76. I applaud the teacher-as-mentor model. I currently mentor my students, but I am always feeling the pressure to spend more time teaching instead. It would be wonderful if mentoring was considered a required part of the job and time was set aside to do this.

    The other ideas about new teacher roles are also exciting to me. I feel that as a female dominated profession, Teaching has been seen as a job for those who need oversight and do not have anything to contribute to complicated administrative issues. I'd be happy to see this disappear structurally so teachers can have more opportunities to grow professionally. In addition, many teachers don't excel in all of these areas. It really bothers me that teaching is becoming a profession where you won't get hired if you don't excel in assessment or data analysis for example. If a person works really well with students and doesn't have these skills, it doesn't mean she is not a good educators. This new model of teacher allows all of the different required skills of current educators to be recognized.

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    1. I appreciate your comments. Sometimes we get so bogged in "teaching the skills", that we forget we are working with and molding young lives with all we say and do.

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    2. Joanne, I love the idea of teachers being able to focus on the aspect of teaching where they thrive. I feel we lose a lot of good teachers because they are not able to perform one aspect of the teachers role, but are excellent in other aspects. If we could center them on curriculum, or group projects, or reading development, etc. this would allow more people to stay in the teaching profession and be successful and helpful to their students. Instead of being considered a mediocre teacher, they could thrive as an excellent project designer, just an example.

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  77. I like what was stated on page 175 that the focus instead needs to be on developing deep, personal relationships with students as academic coaches, college counselors, family liaison, and advocates. Mentors each have stewardship over 10 to 15 students and meet with them at least weekly. Summit includes mentoring as one seven dimensions that it measures to read teacher effectiveness. Teachers progress on a continuum ranging from basic to expert, based on principal evaluation, peer evaluation and self evaluation. My question is how to get the buy in with teachers already so overworked. I love this idea as a school counselor.

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    1. Agree that establishing developing meaningful relationships is truth and best selling point with blended as it lends time for more student feedback and mentoring.
      Natosha Bruner

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  78. I think teachers role in their students lives have changed a lot over the past several years. As society changes, teachers have willingly stepped into to filling more roles. I only wish the teaching profession was seen as valuable as it is.

    I love the idea of being a mentor to a small group of kiddos. I wish our class sizes could be the size of the mentor groups.

    Page 177 when the author wrote about the ColorMatch condundrum explained my fears with blended learning "It actually offended the artistic sensibility and implied technology could replace the delicate craft..." I enjoy teaching and speaking in front of children and I'm not excited about technology taking that part of the job in the elementary school setting.
    I appreciated the authors explanation as to why teachers teach. I'm still coming to grips with how blended learning can me those reasons.

    students but to do that

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  79. I agree that the role of a teacher has been changing over the course of many years. How many times do we hear about the need to step away from the "sage on the stage"? And it's absolutely true that at times, you need to step back and give the students the pilot seat with you there as their copilot to make sure they stay on track.
    While I agree with many previous comments about the need for students to still understand basic skills: notetaking, responsibility for outside reading, having the endurance to sit through a lecture because it is what college demands, we have to also realize that the workplace will demand their current knowledge of technology, problem solving, innovative thinking, etc. Of course, that's what blended learning is truly all about.

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  80. The teacher has a vital role in a blended classroom. However, the role is a facilitator. A role in which there is direction with incidental support for the students. The ideal of blended learning allows the teacher to have more individual time with students. It may have the aspect of the teacher becoming the advocate for the students, encouraging and motivating individuals to advance or improve on their personal focus.

    A mentor program would be an asset to any school. As a teacher, I feel having a group of students or individuals to connect with would be a great benefit to the culture of the school. It has the potential for the students to identify with the teachers outside of the classroom, as they interact with one another socially and academically.

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  81. I think before we can react to this chapter about elevating teaching and mentoring, we need to define them both on a personal level. What is the difference? I don't state this condescending, but merely, your definition will change your opinion on whether you believe this is something your classroom needs or if it is something you already do as an educator. The chapter explains the root of the word mentor as a caregiver. Many people have posted that they desire to relate, connect, etc. with their students. I personally believe my job, at its foundation requires giving care: we care to see children become the best version of themselves both academically and socially. Therefore, I do not see a need for making room for a mentoring "piece" to my classroom. Many teachers at my school MAKE TIME to ask their students questions, spend time on delicate subjects, or community meetings. If you do not touch a child's heart, you will not reach their minds. We cannot create trust and form "learning communities" if we do not know or nurture our relationships within the walls that we are working together. Therefore, I believe elevated teaching embodies mentoring...

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  82. After reading the chapter and posts on here, I have come to the conclusion, that this chapter has set many people on edge. I have been teaching almost 30 years and have seen a lot of change. I do believe that we need to mentor our students more than we get too, but I think as teachers we have always tried to mentor them. I can remember a student that was really struggling, didn't study for tests, didn't do his work, etc. He was an angry young man. I gave the class a test one day, and he put his name up on his paper and then looked at it and turned it over. Instead of putting a minus zero on his paper, I gave him a +5. He asked me what that was for. I said because, believe it or not some students don't put their name on their papers and I gave you credit for doing that. He could not believe I did that for him. I started seeing a difference in him, he worked a bit harder, turned in a few more assignments. Did he make great grades, no, but he did pass his classes and ended up graduating. So, mentoring isn't a new concept, but seeing how blended learning will work so that we are given more time to mentor and help the our students to excel is an exciting concept. However, I have read other posts and agree... the student who is wanting to learn, likes school, etc will do well. It is the non-motivated students who need the help, mentoring more so and they are the ones who tend to fall between the cracks. So, I am not so sure blended learning will work 100% for them. I still believe that they will need interactions and extra teaching with the teacher. I do not feel that teachers should feel that their job is going to be threatened. I believe even with technology, blended learning, etc. that there will be a place for teachers. We need to embrace new things, and be the life long learners that we are.

    I did like the part about having small groups to mentor. We have homerooms once during the week for 25 minutes. It would be a good time to really get to know the students and be more of mentor and not the "teacher."

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  83. I must admit when I first began reading Blended my concern was a possibility of this decreasing the need of an educator. I feared class size would be larger, fewer educators per current student ratio, and less opportunity for student interaction. What I found in the reading eased this. I see now the individual benefits to the student and an increase in time for student one to one interaction. It definitely prepares them with real life expectations and lends the educator as a mentor/facilitator. I believe teachers have always been meant to be a mentor and not a meet lecturer to their students. For some this shift may be difficult as it requires a release of control. However we are in our third year of student driven instruction and I love the engagement I see daily!

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    1. I agree with you. Teachers are mentors from day one. I like that blended learning allow for more of this.

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  84. Effective leading, teaching, and coaching is all about culture and building relationships. This past school year I finished my second consecutive year with the same group of students in third and fourth grade. I found the opportunity to loop so rewarding for both teacher and student. Having twice as many school days obviously you will get to know the students better and develop deeper bonds, but it also gives you more time to reflect and include activities that engage the group and further drive the learning that takes place.

    One of the the highlights from the chapter I copied and pasted into my notes is the notion that teachers found better results when lectures were shorter and teachers jumped into answering question and facilitating discussions. Now that I reflect about the statement above from chapter six, greater learning took place from my class during heavy book talks and commenting on each other's observations. I enjoyed the challenge of a developing a new type of lesson plan with an inquiry driven format. I think if I let the discussion dictate the lesson plans a bit more I would have more of a student ownership of the learning rather than a teacher scripted lesson with a predetermined route.

    Every child needs a mentor and a trusted group of adults around them. I am happy to fill that role if needed in the classroom and hopefully with a blended learning format there will be more time for mentoring opportunities with the students in my class.

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  85. The idea of shifing a teacher's role is an exciting one! I love the concept of having more time to mentor students. I have always felt drawn into that aspect of teaching. So many great teachers have helped me through the years, and I think there is some truth to the saying that people may not remember what you said to them, but they will remember how you made them feel. I really liked the concept on p. 175 about having the same teacher-mentor for continuous years. Teaching in the middle school, I felt that sometimes the relationship with a student and his/her parents was just reaching a desirable level of communication and trust by the time the year ended. Truly, it would be great if we could keep those relationships going.

    How amazing would it be if the hours of lesson planning at home could go away? The hours of grading at home would also be decreased in a blended format, so I'm wondering would I would do with my time! No, I understand the shift in my role to plan interactions among the students and real life applications. I would love to try this! I feel that it would give me renewed energy for the field!

    Lastly, I couldn't help thinking about my college degree as I read this chapter. If my role shifts to a truly well blended classroom, I would see myself as desiring more of a technology background as well as social work/counseling background. I don't think I took a single course 11 years ago in my undergrad that pertained to either of these. That's part of the excitement of teaching, though, to learn new things every day with the students!

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  86. As is typical for me and this book experience, I read the chapter with tremendous hesitation. Perhaps I am cynical. Perhaps I am old-fashioned. I have been involved in education since pre-"No Child Left Behind," and I understand the ever-evolving role as a teacher. I love the idea of teachers as guides who have close relationships with their students, but I am skeptical of a few things. First, if "software can deliver lessons tailored to each student," (175) then who, ultimately, is making the decisions about what the students learn? It would seem to me that the software developers are the ones deciding what our students learn and how. Do they know our students? I may be the "mentor," but my guidance is limited to what the software has to offer. Is that really what's in the best interest of the students? Second, what sort of training would be necessary to be a "mentor"? From the description in the book, I would guess that schools could hire aides to take the place of teachers, since most of the decisions are being made at the administrative/company-developing-the-software level. Aides can have close relationships with students and guide them through a purchased, set program and cost districts a lot less money. I am concerned because in some states, like Utah, the legislature has already determined that teachers do not need to be certified or have a degree to work with students. It seems to me that those qualifications would fit perfectly with the vision of a mentor described in this chapter. Third, aren't we already working with our students as mentors? Don't we already have close relationships with our students? Many of the positive things listed are already happening in classrooms, so why the dramatic change?

    I will say that I am intrigued by the idea of working in teams with other teachers and divvying up the responsibilities. I am curious about the responsibility of development of curriculum given that software has already made those choices for them.

    Overall, I am not convinced this is something I should support. As a matter of fact, if this is the direction schools are heading, I'm grateful my children are almost done.

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    1. Kim
      I too share your hesitation. I think this paradigm shift that the authors discussed is one that teachers are already doing. We mentor kids on a daily basis when we go to their activities, ask about their families, and love on them in general. We are their "moms" for the school year. So the mind set as teacher to coach/mentor isn't all that different for most of us. What I am waiting for the authors to address is what type of programs are out there or curriculum will we be using for "basic instruction"? Will this truly allow me to focus on more in-depth and individualized learning? What will my planning time then begin to look like. I teach HS too so the idea of truly mentoring 155-65 kids a day may not be quite so realistic. How will it work? I think the ideas presented are intriguing, but until these questions are addressed even our younger more innovate teachers may find this type of change daunting simply because we just haven't seen it. As I read this book, I picture myself in a faculty or plc meeting and I can already hear some of the responses. Most of them would be skeptical or cynical too-even from the teachers who identify themselves as risk takers. I think part of what makes teaching great is that it isn't about the teacher, but about how we can teach kids to become part of a larger community/society. If we leave instruction to technology are we losing some of our role or replacing it in a new way? I think the authors try to address that in chapter 6, but like you I'm not sure their assumptions are very practical. I have one child heading off to college this year and one who will be a freshman in HS, and I have to say I am glad they are older too. As a parent, I'm not sure that technology has always done a great job for kids. I value too much the warm personal relationships that my kids have had with some really fabulous teachers who are experts in their fields. If we concede instruction to technology, how does that relationship change? Obviously it will, but I would like to see what it will look like. I don't think teachers are afraid of change, (you really can't be a teacher if you are) but neither do I want to jump head first into this type of instruction without some kind of safety net. We can't afford to fail at this. It would mean lost years of valuable instruction time and gaps in learning that are nearly impossible to get back. I remember a few years ago when the elementary feeder school for the MS I was teaching in tried a new type of grammar instruction, by the time those kids got to 7th and 8th grade; their writing and language skills were terrible. My colleagues and I had to reteach 4-5grade material. It took three years of low test scores and some heated debates with writing samples included to convince those teachers that what they were doing wasn't working. They had great intentions and even great ideas, but execution and follow through didn't work out as well as they had hoped. That's my fear, that we are doing our kids a great disservice by over relying on technology.

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    2. You have shared some valid concerns and raised some fair questions. Too a certain extent the last thing our students need is spending more time on an electronic device. The mentoring/relationship building will become more and more important if school lean more and more to blended learning.

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  87. I have been trying to look at blended learning with an open mind, but the more I read the more frustrated I become. I have taught 4th grade, 2nd grade and now kindergarten and I find blended learning hard to comprehend and visualize how it would look not only in my classroom but a k-5 building. I feel very connected to my students and feel I do a really good job of mentoring them to understand their role as students and how to find a passion for their own learning. We do not have a professional program, but every teacher takes personal pride in how close we are with every student in our building. We can each take a role in our school as a student's mentor because of how small our school is (1 teacher per grade). We have a very tight bond with the students and their families in our community and help each child to succeed.
    I understand there will need to be a change in how a teacher teaches if they fully intend to have a blended learning classroom. I question, however, how well the material (required by the state) would fit into this particular vision. To have a blended classroom the teacher must allow their students to take their own individual way of learning the material. If you are a student in kindergarten through 5th grade how does this look? How can I justify letting a 6 year old learn at their own pace? I realize this may seem silly, but if I were to sincerely look into making my classroom a blended learning classroom isn't that what it would look like?
    I have stated this before, I think there are great points to blended learning, but I think we also have to be fairly realistic in that we must be smart as educators to remember that each student, school and teacher are different and not one of them learn or teach or run the same way. Therefore, we must be open minded about change and learn from others to make our students as successful as we can.

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  88. Students today have instant access to more information than textbooks will ever hold. They can Google or YouTube information with a few clicks of their keyboard. Because of this, the role of the classroom teacher is changing. We are no longer the sole (or even main) source of content for our students... and I'm honestly excited about this. I didn't become a teacher to assign homework and grade papers. I didn't become a teacher so that I could lecture while kids memorized information. I became a teacher so that I could help kids learn and love science. Technology is making the "learning" part easier than ever before, and I get to focus on helping kids "love" my content, getting them excited about the world in which we live, solving problems and making life better. Technology allows me to focus on the KIDS and not the content, which is why I became a teacher in the fist place.

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  89. I agree that the role of the teacher, and of the school as a whole, has been changing for some time. Many schools in my area are offering free breakfasts and lunches to students during the summer months, free of charge. Many teachers have noticed that the students need them to learn, of course, but they also need them to mature socially and psychologically. It is amazing to me how much of the role of "home" that the school has had to take on over the last number of years. I see the most frustrated teachers are the ones who did not get into this profession to fill all of these types of roles, they did it to teach/instruct. It is unfortunate that many are finding that filling that role solely is not benefitting the needs of the students like it used to. I have mentioned before, and I can't help but think about it again, the cost of what these truly blended models will ultimately be. Multiple times in this chapter, the authors referenced a teacher being a mentor for 10-15 students. Most schools around my area are being forced to cut costs, so class sizes are rising. I spoke to a friend yesterday who reported that her elementary classroom will have 32 kids in it this fall. I'm not sure how the schools can afford to have teachers perform all of these other tasks for the students, even if a good amount of the instruction comes from online sources, when the shear numbers of people are moving in the opposite direction. Many times the authors talk about the teachers having more time to perform these other tasks/roles because they won't be instructing, lesson-planning, etc., as much anymore. But their assumption is that there will be the same number of employees in the schools, if not seemingly more. They are assuming that the number of teachers will remain constant, and at least around here, it most certainly isn't.

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  90. I love the thought of elevating the way we teach. It's scary sometimes to think of "changing" or "transforming" the way we teach, but I'm pretty sure there isn't anyone that would tell you they don't want to elevate their teaching. To me, the idea of elevating teaching means to take out the unimportant tasks and instead focus on the most important tasks. I truly believe it is possible, but I strongly feel it will take a strong and focused administration to make it possible in a school. The administration must look to hire teachers that want to mentor, guide, and teach. They must evaluate staff based on whole-student approaches and not just checking boxes on a list or looking at student academic achievement. And then teachers have to really see value in every student and work to help them be better people, not just better students. I will admit, that while I felt like a decent mentor as a kindergarten teacher, I am not at all a good one when it comes to working with middle school and high school students. It's just not who I am. I try to be there for them and be a listening ear (eye in my school) because I have a non-classroom teaching, non-admin role that can be less intimidating for some students, but I feel like a fall short a lot. While I love the idea of "teacher as mentor", it seems more daunting to me than the thought of putting an entire course online.

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  91. I browsed the other posts above and have thought about some of the thoughts presented.
    I agree with the question of the software/technology question, what is the tech choosing to teach our students. It would make sense that the teacher would be monitoring what skills they are learning on the technology and making adjustments as needed or filling in holes as needed. I know with the technology we have for math; indicates where a student is working which allows the teacher to piggy back the learning or to add to if needed for mastery. Teachers would still monitor in some form what the students are mastering in their learning.
    I love the idea of having time to talk and help students. At the elementary level, this is the quick time you snatch before the bell, during a transition or on the way to lunch. You try to the make the best of it and try to connect with each of them daily; checking in on their mood or what's up in their little lives.
    When I think of the "heavy" issues that some of our kiddos experience; I think about how to handle some of it. We have a counselor, we send a child there, but what a great idea to take care of that for a small group of students. But are we trained at a level or have a level of confidence to help with some of the challenges that our kids face. If our roles are shifting, does that mean some of our training would as well be shifting.

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  92. I really like the idea of what a teacher looks like in a blended classroom. It is more one on one. I have a little experience with this with my basic classes. They are small (around 10 students). I am able to really get to know them academically and personally. The story about the kids choosing the lecture or not. They noticed that the small group who attended the lecture benefitted more. That's how my basic class is and I love it. I really get to know how each student learns and their gaps. Plus I have an aid so I can work with 3 or 4 students and the aid can do the same. This allows for even more individualized attention.

    Mentoring goes right along with blended learning and the role the teacher plays. As I stated, I can really get to know my student in my basic class because it's so small. Every teacher is a mentor the minute they walk in the building. As this chartered stated, not every student has a perfect home life. Some kids see their teachers more than their parents. I like that the blended learning allows more time to be a mentor than the traditional classroom. I think there should be some training that goes along with it. Training on what a mentor looks like in a blended classroom.

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  93. I think the role of teachers have been in a slow transition for a while now. I have only been teaching for two years, but when I was in college our professors pushed us to be mentors and not lectures. To the older teachers, this is all new and sometimes change is very hard when you’re set in your ways. My students have shown a lack of motivation lately and I believe that’s partially because they feel they don’t have an active role in their education. They come in everyday and know, for example, during math I will teach the lesson for 20 min and then they will do their workbook pages. Instead, we need to give them more options. Let them learn in different ways. As many others have stated, this is difficult for my young third graders, but with enough guidance, I foresee them being able to do this towards the second half of the year. It will look different in an elementary classroom compared to high school, but the same effects will be achieved. I think, as a whole, the world of education is on a positive shift towards mentor-type teaching. Not only will this mentor teaching help with education, but also with life issues for those with rough home lives, which are all too frequent these days.

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  94. I have many roles as a preschool teacher. For many of the students in my classroom, it is their first structured environment they have experienced. For some it is the first time they feel safe and loved. The students need to feel that they can trust you and that you care for them before they are going to do their best for you. If we move toward a classroom where teachers are responsible for a smaller group of students and the learning is tailored towards their needs, then students are going to be more successful and motivated. I would think the connections and relationships with students would be even more rewarding for teachers in this mentoring type role. We are seeing more and more students come from broken homes. These students need role models to help support and guide them and school is the perfect place for that.

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  95. The factory model of teaching does not work for every student, but sometimes it is needed to convey broad instructions or information. Working with individuals and small groups will always work; humans need social interaction in order to flourish. I don't think any teacher will argue with the change from top-down lesson planning to a more individualized approach to learning for students and a more one-on-one approach for teachers that blended learning, used correctly, could bring. As the chapter states, even the military...a very rigid way of teaching...is reconsidering its top-down approach. As with soldiers, blended learning would better foster the idea of thinking for one's-self and problem solving.

    It was interesting to read how the word "mentor" comes from Greek mythology, specifically as one who helped Telemachus after his father (Odysseus) left for Troy. I've taught the Odyssey for 26 years and I don't think I ever realized that. It's ironic because my goal or viewpoint of teaching has always been to be more of a guide and supporter. Blended learning would aide in this greatly. This would also help both students and teachers to "...find places to achieve, gain recognition, exercise responsibility..." in the school setting, as the chapter states, thus causing less burnout in both parties.

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  96. The role of the teacher in a truly blended classroom would definetly be different than the role they currently have. I believe teachers continue to change and adapt to changes each and every school year. In the past teachers have been ask to try a new or different teaching method and than the next year it is no longer used. Teachers become frustrated and overwhelmed with the many things they are ask to do or try. I believe for a truly blended classroom the book said it best, "Getting the design right for teachers may be the single most important determinant of whether the rise of blended learning will net out as a win overall." I think that it is going to be most difficult for the "seasoned teachers" to feel comfortable with the change in their role in the classroom. Several of our teachers have been acting as mentors to their students over the years. I do not see this as a new topic or one that would require our staff to do much different than they have been. Mentoring is not just a blended learning piece of the educatinal puzzle.

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    1. I agree with you Deborah. I think it's going to be hard for teachers to change. I think it's especially difficult when you don't have any prior experience to draw upon. When we went to school, school looked nothing like the blended classroom's that are described in this book. I think that makes it that much harder for teachers to wrap their minds around a shift like this.

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  97. What are your thoughts about the change in teacher role in a truly blended classroom? What about the need for teachers to act as mentors to their students?
    Anytime a person experiences change more than likely they are stressed out. Change is hard. Teachers are probably the best at adapting to change. The more years in the classroom the more used to change a teacher is. Creating a truly blended classroom requires professional development which will provide the opportunity for teacher buy-in. As pointed out on page 170, “. . . presents the risk that as schools delegate content and instruction to an online platform, on-site faculty will feel replaced, ‘check out’, and neither offer much support to students nor shift their roles to focus on the development of higher-order thinking skills and dispositions.” I would certainly be afraid of being replaced. My anger comes from being replaced by computer software. We all want to feel needed and wanted.
    Doesn’t everyone need a mentor? I was blessed early in my teaching career to have 2 exceptional mentors. They taught me more about teaching than I ever learned in a classroom. I have strived to mentor teachers, but unfortunately, some of my younger colleagues seem to know everything. Students need mentoring. I prefer one on one time during class to talk with a student. I’ve experienced the “Advisory” period and did not find this time well spent. Advisory was a random group of students who I did not teach. I found it hard to build important relationship with random students we do not see on a daily basis. All teachers should build lasting relationships with all our students. Relationships, relationships, relationships.

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  98. I think teachers in truly blended classrooms will automatically take on more of a mentoring role vs. only providing instruction. However, I think good teachers work to build strong relationships and make connections with their students in any classroom setting.

    Students have so much technology available literally at their fingertips now, I definitely hope that teachers will still have a role in helping students navigate the digital world and determine how reputable and reliable sources of information are and to critically evaluate information they find online.

    I also wonder how these changes will directly affect teacher evaluations and responsibilities. I thought it was an interesting point the authors made (pg. 170) when they say that this changing role of teachers can lead some teachers to feel replaced and possibly feel disconnected. It will be interesting to see which roles teachers will assume in the future, and how schools provide opportunities for mentoring, possibly through in school mentoring time, through looping classes to give teachers a chance to get to know students better, or through other means.

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  99. The role of teacher has dramatically changed over the years, a big part in response to the internet. Growing up, I was told that knowledge is power, but that statement doesn't really ring true today. I can look up types of clouds, the parts of the cell, the history of the Alamo on the internet with a simple click. I can spend as much or as a little time researching these things, but I don't have to sit through a lecture (yawn) to learn about it.

    I often think that if students can learn about such topics via online courses, teachers can begin to teach students about other topics, such as managing money, paying bills, budgeting, problem solving, helping the community, caring for loved ones, kindness, etc. In the past, a lot of this was taught by parents, but in today's society, it is missing from so many homes. As the book stated around this subject, "In some cases, it's the only hope for a child to be successful." More and more we hear about the importance of relationships in schools, and if we can "teach" subjects in a different way that allow us more time to form these relationships, I think we can make huge gains in schools.

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  100. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  101. As I read about the idea in the change in roles for teachers, I found myself agreeing with many of the points that were made. I can see how having teachers serve as mentors for their students might really help some kids - especially those who need a positive role model in their lives. Giving kids an outlet to talk about and process the things going on in their lives would be beneficial for many kids. I have joked the last couple years that I need a psychology degree as well as a teaching degree because more and more of my students need help dealing with anxiety issues, issues at home, issues with friends, etc. I could see this being even more true if the role of the teacher truly were to change to more of a mentoring role.

    With that being said, I think that the best place for a change like this to occur would be in higher ed. If teacher preparation programs changed, it would be easier for teachers to shift roles. Since this type of learning is likely not something any of us have ever experienced before, it would likely be more difficult for us to get the hang of and the adjustment would definitely take some time. If it the change did start in higher ed, it would also be interesting to see how that affected admissions. Would less kids be interested in teaching if it were structured this way or would more kids be interested? I think that would be interesting to find out more about.

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    1. I made an annotation in my book similar to your second paragraph. If the role of teachers is changing, I think it would be very helpful if more college teacher prep courses were geared toward this newfound role.

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  102. For sure, I would have to adjust! I would mentally have to prepare to work with systems that I am not very good at- computers, web sites, etc. But I would emotionally have to get over the fact that I am an inferior teacher because of this. The fact is that the students would much of the time be educating me in the computer world, and in turn we would all learn. Because I feel that ‘someone else would be teaching them’ I would have to learn my role as a navigator and not the main attraction. This would be a full swing mode for me and as stated above, there would be much preparation for me to do for sure! Scared, yes, but willing, sure. I just have to wrap my mind around the fact that I would be assisting, not overriding and that is ok too.

    As far as a mentor is concerned, this would be the area of most concern for me due to the fact that I am not adept to teaching this way. How can I mentor someone on sites to learn from when I cannot get there? What about a malfunctioning or poorly functioning piece of equipment? I am at a loss as to what to do in this case. My fear is that I would be doing so much managing of the system that not much learning would take place and I would throw my hands up and claim that I can do it better. True or not as to whether I teach better than a computer, this part of the classroom would be hardest for me to transition to. I simply enjoy teaching and presenting my material. I don’t feel like I would have the option to do that anymore and it really makes me sad.
    I am a mentor to my students everyday by how I interact, teach and handle situations. I am there for the students before or after school if they need me and I am involved in our school in many areas, I am thankful that this area of mentoring would still exist no matter what!

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  103. I enjoyed this chapter and I like the idea of teachers being mentors. Schools are really struggling to meet the needs of all students, especially at risk students. Offering students mentors helps students understand that schools really care about their success. I like the idea mentioned on page 75, that teachers would mentor the same students for multiple years, in order to develop "deep, personal relationships with students".
    I also found the idea of assigning individual teachers specialized responsibilities as mentioned on page 179 very interesting. The current factory model has teachers being all things to all students, which is a difficult if not impossible task to accomplish. Putting a teacher in a role where they can excel benefits both the teacher and the student.

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  104. Our roles as teachers hasn't changed. We have always and still deliver content to, inspire, and mentor or students. The methodology has changed. With technology, we and students have so much information at our fingertips. I embrace the role of facilitator. It is very liberating not being the sage on stage. I have found that kids really are curious and motivated to learn. We lose them when the product we are delivering is not relevant to them. So, as tough as it is to relinquish control, my methods continue to evolve in order to make my content relevant. I have found that in the role of facilitator, relationships are strengthened and mentoring becomes easier.

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  105. This chapter has been the most realistic for me and my classroom so far. It saddens me to admit, but so many students today look to their teacher for moral support, advice, or just as a friend and confidant, and no matter how hard you try not to let it, playing that role takes away instruction time. So assuming you got into education because you genuinely care about kids, you have to be ready to mentor them, not just spend instructional time with them. Blended learning and relinquishing the reigns sounds like a good way to accomplish both goals - deliver material with time to talk life as well. In contrast, as some prior posts mentioned, I echo the fear that the blended classroom may do a disservice to the high ability college bound students who will need to be prepared for straight lecture and independent note-taking that they will likely encounter at a university. But I think with the overwhelming possibilities that technology offers us today, we have to embrace the trend and recognize what these generations of students want and are growing up with. If we bore them, we will lose them. And once we lose them, it's hard to get them back.

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  106. I think the change could be very advantageous for both students and teachers. It is scary though because I have never seen or experienced this type of learning as either a student or a teacher, and so therefore really feel unprepared for the changes it implicates.

    I think many teachers already do act as mentors for their students. At the high school level, when the students are exposed to many different teachers throughout the day, I think students are able to relate and confide in one of their teachers. We have a limited mentor program at our school for students who are especially at-risk, and it is wonderful to see how much it helps some of them. It leads me to believe that this change in teacher role could benefit even more students than what we are currently able to do.

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  107. Change is hard, but I think it will help that this change is bound to be somewhat gradual. Page 170 “…once online learning becomes good enough, schools will be able to rely on it to deliver high-quality learning adapted to each student.” This is going to take some time, and I think most classrooms will change gradually. By the time truly blended classrooms are the norm, the role of the teacher will have changed along the way. Teachers in those truly blended classrooms are just as instrumental in the academic and social development of their students as the teachers before such technology. The teacher will be freed up to do more one on one guidance and mentoring. That’s definitely a very good thing, especially with more and more students coming from broken homes. Mentoring requires teachers to take more of an active role in the relationship with students, which is what is needed.

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    1. Yes, the gradual change will make it easier. I feel that if we jumped right into the mentor role it would be hard to adjust.

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  108. I found the this chapter to be very interesting. I see the importance of a mentor for my students. If this is a new role that teachers will take on in the future, higher education will need to change their curriculum to add more social work courses to the education course. I have high respect for social workers and other mentor organizations who were taught the tools on how to help students in disadvantaged situations. Also, towards the end of the chapter the author discusses how blended learning can allow teachers to re-work their role in education by becoming either far more reaching to many more students (example Khan Academy), coming more content experts, team teaching (which I loved doing a few years ago), allow teachers to become accredited in certain areas or shares their information to other teachers, and allow teachers to gain some control over content and implementation. I feel that this last section of the chapter is something that school districts can explore and allow teacher PD time to explore what they would be interested in learning or completing.

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    1. I agree that more social work classes would be needed if teachers are taking on more of a role of mentor.

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  109. The role of a teacher has changed drastically from when I was a student, but also the world of technology has changed since I was a student. As a teacher it is difficult for me to grasp the many changes that are being made and some of these changes are even more difficult without the proper training needed to be most effective in the classroom. Often times I feel I am trying to figure things out and this can be difficult. As an elementary teacher, I feel technology can be a struggle because it feels as though I spend more time "babysitting" the students making sure they are using their 1:1 device correctly. This year, as I've stated already in a previous chapter, my thoughts are to become more knowledgeable with a couple different programs and spend more time utilizing those effectively rather than grasping what others suggest and just allowing the kids to get on those programs without me knowing those better.
    As for the idea of mentoring, I feel this is great because many students come to school with several different things going on at home and to be able to have a trusted relationship with a teacher may be just what that student needs. This year I will have the opportunity to loop to the next grade level and many of the students in my class I taught last year. I feel this is going to be beneficial because some of these students I know have personal concerns at home and since a relationship has already been formed last year, we will just need to be able to catch up on the couple months off from summer break.

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  110. First, I have to say that I have really enjoyed reading everyone's comments about this book. As far as the teacher role in the classroom, I've definitely seen it change over my last 12 years teaching. When I first started teaching I spent a majority of my time teaching while class. Then I was introduced to Four Blocks and that was a new change that was scary at first. I liked it though because it provided a good structure for the day, and allowed me to work with small groups of students. Then the Four Block method started to fade out. About five years ago my school was asked to try out the Daily 5 structure. At first it was hard to truly grasp how to set it up and how long to spend on each practice time. I loved it after about a year. It really allowed the students to become more independent with their work, and allowed me to work with individual students. The teacher took more of a facilitator role rather than a lecture role. I really like the structure and feel like it helps the teacher step down as the sole person making the decisions and guiding the discussions, and gives that role to the students. In a blended classroom I still see the teacher as having a role to help support the students, but to me the students would be working more independently than in a traditional classroom.

    I had a mentor during my first two years of teaching. I don't know what I would have done without her. She checked in on me and made sure I was connecting with my team. She also helped me during parent meetings, and was there for advice. It was so helpful to have someone that I could count on for advice. It was interesting to read the actual definition of the word mentor on page 172. The example was helpful also. Someone in the earlier posts mentioned the need for more time on any given day. I would love to have time to mentor my students. I don't feel like I'm able to do that. I feel like my students have so many things going on that they want to discuss, and I am worried about making sure that I get everything taught on time. I feel guilty about that, but I'm not sure at this point what the solution could be to spend more time actually mentoring my students.

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  111. I believe the “change” in the teacher role is only a change in how school districts and society views the role of a teacher. I feel I have been mentoring my students, developing curriculum, integrating technology, etc. for a long time without the recognition of these varying aspects of my job. I would love to have mentorship added to the list of “requirements” for me as a teacher because I already do that with my students. Implementing more of the blended learning style to our classrooms would give me more time to hone this skill and reach out to my students. As an adult educator, I find that students don’t realize the opportunities that are available to help them accomplish their educational and career goals. If I had more time to mentor my students, I could discuss with them various scholarships and community services that they qualify for and help them submit applications if necessary.

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