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Supporting Our Teachers

Monday, April 08, 2019 by Francesca Varga

Supporting Our Teachers - ACE Higher-Powered Learning

I can’t tell you how many times “I’ll be there for you…” gets stuck in my head after watching an episode of Friends. But as cheesy as the song may be, its message rings true. People thrive on relationships and support.

In this post, we talked about our teachers and the positive feedback they have given us so far. Because teachers thrive when they feel challenged and supported, we try to balance the two in our work. Read on to learn about the four steps we take to make sure our teachers feel supported.

A Guide to Implement Blended Learning in a Middle School Language Arts Classroom

Monday, March 25, 2019 by Francesca Varga

This post was originally posted on the Notre Dame Center for Literacy Education's blog for Teen Tech Week. 


Welcome to middle school: the awkward in-between stage when students are not bright-eyed little ones anymore, but they are not quite independent learners yet either. Middle schoolers often need a bit of a push to “buy in” to instruction, but when the connection happens, it is like magic. Recently, we talked about blended learning and what it looks like in an elementary classroom. Although some of the same practices can successfully occur in the middle school blended classroom, teaching and learning looks quite a bit different in this distinct context.

How to Implement Blended Learning in an Elementary Reading Classroom

Monday, March 11, 2019 by Elizabeth Anthony

How to Implement Blended Learning in an Elementary Reading Classroom

This post was originally posted on the Notre Dame Center for Literacy Education's blog for Teen Tech Week. 


Technology has revolutionized innumerable aspects of our lives. Do you remember when you had to call someone’s home phone to ask them a question, rather than shooting off a text message? Or when a trip overseas involved a long and dangerous journey rather than a quick airplane ride with free movies and snacks? There are very few industries that remain undisrupted by radical technological innovations, but one that has not changed nearly as much as others is education.

Reigniting a Love for Teaching

Monday, February 25, 2019 by Elizabeth Anthony

Elizabeth Anthony - Reigniting a Love of Teaching

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the impact the Higher-Powered Learning Program is having on students. Everything we do, we do on behalf of the students we serve. But for Father Nate, Francesca, and me, the students we serve are the teachers on the schools’ Blended Learning Advancement and Strategy Teams (BLASTs) who work tirelessly to learn and implement new methods of instruction in their classrooms.

Navigating Turbulence

Wednesday, February 13, 2019 by Elizabeth Anthony

Higher-Powered Learning Navigating Turbulence

Turbulence is a fairly common occurrence on plane rides. Although you get the occasional smooth ride, most flights involve at least a few jumps and shakes. I consider these rough patches to be an unavoidable part of almost every one of my travel experiences, and I think this can be a metaphor for many areas of life.

4 Keys to Giving Great Feedback

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 by Francesca Varga

4 Keys for Great Feedback

Frequent, specific feedback is shown to be one of the most powerful ways to improve teacher instructional practice and, ultimately, student growth. But what does helpful, growth-promoting feedback look like? The best feedback conferences are framed as comfortable, open conversations. This shouldn’t come as a surprise: when you are confiding in a friend or someone you are comfortable with, you allow yourself to be vulnerable and open to advice. According to Bracken and Rose's 2005 book, When Does 360-Degree Feedback Create Behavior Change? And How Would We Know It When It Does?, great feedback should have the following characteristics:

Higher-Powered Feedback

Monday, January 14, 2019 by Francesca Varga

Higher-Powered Feedback

Most teachers know the critical importance of feedback in the classroom. Regular feedback delivered in dialogue with students has been shown to be one of the most powerful ways to improve student learning (and we’ve written about how blended learning enables students to receive more frequent feedback here). In the Higher-Powered Learning Program, the teachers are our students, and we apply many of the same principles of student learning to these teachers’ professional development.

FTK

Monday, December 10, 2018 by Elizabeth Anthony

Higher-Powered Learning For the Kids

One of the ACE Teaching Fellows’ favorite sayings is “FTK,” which stands for “for the kids.” Everything we do, we do on behalf of the students we serve. So how is the Higher-Powered Learning Program impacting students?

Leader Feature: Bridget Kramer

Monday, November 26, 2018 by Elizabeth Anthony

Higher-Powered Learning Program Bridget Kramer

In the few short months we have known Bridget Kramer, we have seen her take full ownership as she leads a new initiative while remaining steadfast in her commitment to all of her other responsibilities as the leader of a beautiful school. Learn more about the key steps Bridget has taken to advance the Higher-Powered Learning Program and cultivate a positive school community for teachers, parents, and students in today’s post.

3 Ways Your Small-Group Instruction May Be Failing

Monday, November 12, 2018 by Elizabeth Anthony

3 Ways Your Small-Group Instruction May Be Failing - Higher-Powered Learning

In recent years, small-group instruction has become one of the hottest topics of education. Because blended learning enables small-group instruction, it is extremely important to us. Many people assume that a lower student-to-teacher ratio automatically leads to higher quality instruction, which leads to more effectively meeting students’ needs. But is that really the case?

Teacher Feature: Rachael Hillman

Monday, October 29, 2018 by Elizabeth Anthony

Rachael Hillman Higher-Powered Learning

We are thrilled to feature for the very first time a classroom from one of the Higher-Powered Learning Program schools in Minnesota! Read on to learn more about one of the most innovative classrooms in the program and what Rachael Hillman has learned in her first few months of blended learning.

Celebrate Good Times....with Data!

Thursday, October 11, 2018 by By: Francesca Varga

One critical piece of a successful blended learning program is the teacher’s use of student data. No matter how detailed data reports may be, they are useless without a teacher analyzing and acting upon them. We have seen creative, fun ways that teachers are implementing data tracking and celebrations in their classroom and wanted to share four of our absolute favorites with you. Need data celebration inspiration? Read on!

Five for Five

Monday, October 01, 2018 by Francesca Varga

Higher-Powered Learning Five for Five

When we initially visited and selected schools for the first cohort of the Higher-Powered Learning Program, our three-year, blended-learning implementation program, we were shocked by the differences among schools. The largest schools have nearly 400 students each, while the smallest has just over 100. A few of the schools have more contemporary architecture with clean, white walls and big windows; others have the look of a classic Catholic school, with rock-solid walls and exposed brick (maybe they’re just being trendy?).

STAR Goals: The Importance of Personalized Student Goals

Monday, September 17, 2018 by Francesca Varga

Rocket Fuel - Higher-Powered Learning

As we mentioned in this post, one of the most powerful ways our teachers increase student engagement and learning is to help students set individual goals for their learning. Of course, setting goals for student learning is not something that only happens in blended classrooms, but we have found that it is especially crucial to the success of blended classrooms because learning is so much more individualized. Therefore, we generated four of our own criteria for successful student learning goals, and we want to share those with you today.

"Ohana" Means Family

Tuesday, September 04, 2018 by Francesca Varga

Ohana Means Family Higher-Powered Learning Blended Learning

The Higher-Powered Learning team is growing, and we are excited to introduce you to our newest member, Francesca Varga! Francesca was a teacher and instructional leader for nine years before joining us at ACE this summer. She has extensive experience with blended and personalized learning at the middle and high school levels. Below is Francesca’s first contribution to our blog–but certainly not her last!


We often preface the concept of blended learning by citing the need to fill students’ learning gaps through data-informed instruction. However, in my nine years of teaching, I have found that culture and building community and strong relationships with students is essential to the success of blended learning, and of learning more broadly. Here is a quick glimpse into my inspiration for implementing blended learning in my classroom and the students who made it possible...

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