On days like today when it is minus a million outside and I don’t want to leave my house, the idea of teaching an online course is very appealing.
As I thought over the last few weeks about what I would like to design for my project for this class, one of my AP students came to mind. Facing a variety of health issues, this student has missed quite a number of classes in the last few months. In a class as rigorous as AP ELA, it is a huge gap of learning that has been missed. If my classes had access to materials and learning resources online, their worlds would be a lot more awesome. These are students who are bright, talented, self-motivated, and hard working – the perfect audience for my first attempt at a blended learning environment. I originally wanted to design something for the second semester of Pre-AP ELA 20, a locally developed course, but there was a last minute hiccup with the Ministry approval and we are now teaching a different course for second semester while we work to perfect our own course. Hence, I’ve chosen to design my course prototype for Pre-AP ELA 20. I have the privilege of teaching this course every year in the first semester, so this will give me lots of time to keep going on the course even after EC&I 834 ends!
PRE-AP ELA 20 Blended Course
Target Student Population:
The course will be designed for Pre-AP ELA 20 students. The students are in grade 11, usually 16-17 years of age.
Blended. Students will attend face to face classes and will access some resources and curricular documents online (assignments, assessments, lessons).
Purpose of Course:
AP students are keen learners and are working towards taking the AP international exam in May of their grade 12 year. At our school, the vertical AP team works together to enhance the regular SK ELA curriculum with AP literature, strategies, and methodology to provide students the tools they require to be successful in writing the AP exam. Students who obtain a specific rubric mark on the AP exam are exempt from taking the first year ELA course(s) at their chosen post-secondary institution. The specific rubric level required varies by post secondary institution.
In order to enhance our regular curricula, our vertical team has designed a locally developed course that our AP students take in second semester of grade 11 as an elective course. In developing a blended learning environment for our Pre-AP 20 students, I hope to provide students with the ability to explore AP specific topics, connect to resources that will supplement the learning they are doing in class, and to become proficient in using the internet and online resources to enhance the learning of content.
By using a blended approach time spent together in person can be used for creative projects, group discussions, and practicing analysis skills for literature.
Platform – The course will be available to students through OneNote or Blackboard – I’m still trying to determine which format will be most useful for what I am designing. These tools are the ones that we will be able to access through our school division. I’d prefer to try a different platform such as Canvas since it is a bit more familiar to me, but I am going to attempt to use the other(s) so that my school division will provide tech support if needed.
Instructional tools – A variety of online videos that teach or reinforce the content of the face to face class lessons will be utilized. EdPuzzle is one site I will use for these, as there are some assessment capabilities built into this. I also want to provide links to various online resources to supplement the curriculum with special consideration given to AP resources.
Communication tools – besides school approved email, each student will develop a blog for writing responses to posed questions and as a way to interact in a meaningful way with their classmates. We will use WordPress for their blogs, since it is the format with which I am most familiar. Students also have access to their own personal “notebooks” in OneNote which we can utilize for submitting assignments – the notebooks can only be accessed by me as their teacher.
Assessment tools – I plan to use Classmarker for their practice multiple choice tests they complete for the literature we study. I will also continue using Kahoot for their “Wordy Wednesday” competitions, and may possibly try out Plickers to see if I like it better than Kahoot!
Consideration for Common Concerns:
Low bandwidth – hopefully our school division bandwidth can keep up to the students using the resources while in our building. The tech geniuses assure me it can! 🙂 Being able to access the course at home will depend on their own internet provider.
Student Access to Devices:
Since computers are a limited commodity in our building, I will do my best to be fair to other teachers while still accessing the technology when my students need it. I will encourage students to bring their own devices (laptop preferably, but tablets/phones will also be welcomed), especially if they want to be able to access the online content everyday. The public library is an option for those who don’t have online access at home.
Though I don’t normally encounter many EAL learners who require additional supports in my AP classes (the ones who take AP are proficient), provisions will be made for those who may need to use translation apps or need additional support to read or write the required material. Read and Write for Google Chrome is one of the tools we use.
One of the benefits to having a blended class is the ability of students to work remotely if they are unable to attend school in person. The ability to access class work will help prevent students from falling behind if they do have to miss school.
As an ELA department, we try to be as inclusive as we possibly can with regards to choosing resources that will portray a wide variety of cultures. We are cognizant of the cultural diversity within our school and community and strive to provide literature that is of appropriate literary merit while remaining diverse and relevant to our students.
In addition to the SK ELA outcomes required, student learning will focus on:
- Reading and discussing works of imaginative literature
- Utilizing Formalist/New Critical close-reading strategies
- Applying rhetorical theory and stylistic analysis to oral and visual texts
- Producing written and representative texts that focus on critical analysis of literature
- Composing literary commentary
- Composing expository texts to practice rhetorical strategies
- Presenting oral arguments supported with multimedia