The class websites aren’t just for show. They share important dates, links to online educational programs, and in some cases even homework and instructional videos. Ms. Guha has a fantastic example of how to “make a 10” when adding two numbers. This is not just great for kids, but for parents to know what (and how) their kids are learning in the classroom.
Still, some parents wonder exactly what goes on during those half days set aside for Innovative Plan professional development. Mr. L has been making the rounds to the school board, this month’s School Site Council meeting, and the March PTA meeting to showcase what the Franklin teachers have been working on.
With Mr. L as their official coach, the teachers are using each professional development session to answer this question: “How might we use Blended Learning to improve teaching and learning?”
They started in September, explaining how to use Google docs and looking at Franklin’s new online educational databases, World Book Kids and National Geographic Kids. In the following months they moved on to Google functions and keyboarding programs for students. They watched webinars and saw demos, and continued to look at how other schools implemented blended learning.
One of the main concerns voiced by parents about the Franklin Innovative Plan has been about screen time. Between video games, TV, and now computers at school, most of our kids spend plenty of time in front of a screen already. Many guidelines for acceptable screen time were crafted before some of the new educational uses, like Kahn Academy and Google docs, were around.
To address these concerns, and to find out for themselves how much screen time was OK for Franklin kids, the Franklin teachers have been compiling the latest research, and are working to develop their own recommendations based on the latest information.
You can read the latest thinking on screen time for yourself at the Parents & Teachers page for the Franklin Media Center.
The teachers will be applying for another waiver for professional development half days for the 2016-17 school year. Mr. L stresses that the professional development days are essential for the Franklin Innovative Plan to work.
“It takes time and collaboration to implement this program,” he said. “Without the waivers, we’re kind of dead in the water.”
Check out an abbreviated version of Mr. L’s Blended Learning Professional Development presentation, complete with an overview of the monthly agendas for each Blended Learning professional development meeting. You’ll see just how hard the teachers are working, and how much ground they’ve covered so far.
As we look toward the 2016-17 school year, Mr. L and the rest of the Franklin teachers want to know what you think. What would you like to see and hear from the teachers about the program? What are your questions or concerns? Take a minute to fill out this quick survey.