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Music To My Ears: Technology in the Performing Arts Classroom

Monday, October 12, 2020 by Brian Scully

Music to My Ears - ACE Higher-Powered Learning

When conceptualizing blended learning, we often think of subjects like math, science, and reading comprehension. Performing arts may seem like it’s on the opposite side of the learning spectrum from technology — “calculation” vs. “inspiration.” Can computers ever enhance performing arts instruction? Brian Scully, the newest member of the HPL Team, writes about his experience teaching music through blended learning and the gift of personalization that technology brought to his classroom.

New Blog, Who Dis?

Monday, September 14, 2020 by Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

Higher-Powered Learning Blog

The meme “new phone, who dis?” became popular when people began upgrading their smartphones and realized that they didn’t know all of their contacts’ information by heart. When an unsaved contact called or texted, the new phone owner could claim, “new phone, who dis?”

Being an Ally as a Blended Learning Teacher

Tuesday, June 16, 2020 by Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

Higher-Powered Learning - How to Be an Ally

The Higher-Powered Learning team strives to empower teachers with digital tools to personalize their instruction. While our personalized learning approach hinges on the use of technology, we understand that student data comes from other places, too.

i-Ready Data Suggest Higher-Powered Learning is Addressing Educational Inequalities

Monday, May 18, 2020 by Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

i-Ready Data Suggest HPL is Addressing Educational Inequalities

In the past few months, eLearning has become necessarily widespread because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Families have quickly implemented at-home structures to teach their children. Unfortunately, the extensive use of eLearning raises issues of equity. Two months after school closings, the New York Times wrote about the stark contrast between the eLearning experiences at a high-income school and a low-income school. This article highlights the differing experiences between two families who attend schools serving students from different income backgrounds. Similarly concerned with disparities during eLearning, EdSurge published an article discussing recent data from the software program, i-Ready. The latest data shows a set of troubling statistics that indicate usage data for the program is related to income levels – lower-income students are using the program at lower rates. Still, when they are using the program, they are using the program for longer periods than those in other income levels.

Accelerating the Transition to eLearning

Friday, May 15, 2020

Accelerating the Transition to eLearning

As the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to move to eLearning, many schools around the country and the world struggled to make this shift. In some cases, districts reduced instructional time, while in others it led to parent, student, and teacher frustration.

Fostering Classroom Communities with eLearning

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 by Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

Brigid Krause - Higher-Powered Learning Program

A month ago, schools across the country shut down and teachers prepared themselves and their students for eLearning. Many teachers and school leaders across the country scrambled to find resources to support their students. During this transition, Brigid Krause, a third-grade teacher at Community of Saints Regional Catholic School in West St. Paul, Minnesota, was concerned with acknowledging her students' needs while recreating her classroom community in an online setting. She followed a set of simple teaching practices to guide her transition to eLearning.

Be Not Afraid: Lessons through eLearning

Monday, April 13, 2020 by Francesca Varga

Be Not Afraid - Higher-Powered Learning

Did you know that the phrase “Be not afraid” is used in the Bible 365 times? Talk about a daily message from God! Fear is a great divider. It causes distance between people. It blocks grace from flowing freely and prevents ingenuity. Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”

It is unrealistic during these times to never feel afraid, but I urge you to allow your faith to be bigger than your fear and to look for the things that are more important than fear.

Here are three truths that God has affirmed for me during these past few weeks. These truths inspire me to work for “something more important than fear.”

Ideas for eLearning!

Monday, March 16, 2020 by Francesca Varga

Higher-Powered Learning - eLearning

Thanks to advancements in technology and all the online resources available, social distancing does not have to mean breaks in learning. Although learning may look different for a short period of time, eLearning provides wonderful opportunities for innovation outside the traditional classroom setting. Read on to learn more!

Roses are red, violets are blue, I love blended learning, and you should, too!

Monday, February 24, 2020 by Francesca Varga

hplloveblendedlearning720

Higher-Powered Learning - ACE Blended Learning

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I am taking some time to think about the reasons why I love blended learning. Of course, blended learning yields an extensive list of academic benefits, but what excites me even more is the social-emotional learning blended learning supports.

When properly executed, blended learning creates a classroom environment where personalized instruction happens for each student. I could write a book sharing stories and reasons why I love blended learning. But our teachers can do a much better job! Today I am honored to share the spotlight with two wonderful teachers in our Higher-Powered Learning Program (HPLP) who will help me share the love!

How Mountain Biking is Like School Change

Monday, February 10, 2020 by Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

Blended Learning Change Management - Higher-Powered Learning at the Alliance for Catholic Education

Mountain bikers must consider many factors to maximize their workouts, but the most important factor is fun maximization.

Similarly, when instituting a change like blended learning in an entire school, plenty of factors should be considered to maximize teacher and student learning. But the most important factor is altering the learning culture at a school. I have found quite a few parallels between mountain biking and instituting school change.

How to Make Your PD Stick

Monday, January 27, 2020 by Francesca Varga

Higher-Powered Learning - ACE Blended Learning

The research on professional development (PD) is clear: change is tough! Research funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on PD states that “far too many teachers have reported that current professional development offerings are neither relevant nor effective.”

Another research point made by CoSN links the hurdle to the sustainability of innovative programs with the lack of agility, strategies, and mindsets necessary to move from a few classrooms to an entire school. In order to overcome these barriers, we grounded our coaching framework in the research and adapted it for our schools’ use.

Teacher Talk: Tips for Small-Group Math Instruction

Monday, December 16, 2019 by Francesca Varga

Higher-Powered Learning - Middle School Math Small Group Tips

I distinctly remember the first time I walked into Rebecca Buller’s middle school math classroom at Saint Alphonsus Catholic School in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.

The energy was electric and students were buzzing with excitement while talking about...MATH!

Rebecca uses the station rotation model. She divides her students into three groups – a technology station, a collaborative work station where students apply math learning, and her small-group instruction station. She combines this model with her version of the flipped classroom model to make math concepts attainable for all students.

3 Literacy Ideas to Spark Joy in Your Classroom

Monday, December 02, 2019 by Francesca Varga

3 Literacy Ideas to Spark Joy in Your Classroom - Higher-Powered Learning

My classroom layout matched the colorful, vibrant personalities of my students. And similar to the lovely, ever-changing, adolescent personality, my classroom was constantly changing. I am a big fan of the flex model, particularly for older students because it gives teachers more flexibility to pull groups or individual students. I constantly adjusted my groups to keep instruction “fresh,” as my kids called it. My flexible groups also removed the stigma that can sometimes accompany ability grouping.

Reteaching: Giving Students Extra Scaffolding to Reach their Goals

Monday, November 18, 2019 by Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

Blended Learning Reteaching

You finish a class and think to yourself, “Wow! What a wonderful lesson. I can’t wait to grade these exit tickets.” 

However, after grading, you find a handful of your students ROCKED the lesson–but a group of students completely misunderstood the concept. How will you make sure these students don’t fall behind on future lessons?

Reteaching small groups of students is an effective way to ensure students receive instruction that targets their misconceptions.

Creating Equity Through Small-Group Instruction

Monday, November 04, 2019 by Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

Small Group Instruction: Pre-Teach

Some may wonder, “If I have blended-learning, what is the point of pre-teaching concepts if I can go back and remediate?” In response to this question, a significant element of blended learning is equity: giving students exactly what they need. When teaching a whole-group lesson, every student must be able to access the lesson's objective. Equity is the reason why pre-teaching is essential.

When considering pre-teaching, the next logical question is:

How do I know which students will be in my pre-teach small group?

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