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5 Things You Need to Know About Blended Learning

Tuesday, July 16, 2019 by Francesca Varga Kourtney Bradshaw

5 Things You Need to Know about Blended Learning

It seems like just yesterday we were beginning our journey with five schools in the Twin Cities. On the last day of professional development, we asked our teams to reflect on what they learned about implementing blended learning. We asked, “What is one thing you know now that you would offer to someone who is just getting started?” We received many thoughtful responses that centered around five major themes. 

How Exploration Led to Blended Learning

Tuesday, July 02, 2019 by Kourtney Bradshaw

How Exploration Led to Blended Learning

Hi there Higher-Powered Learning blog readers! Today, I have the pleasure of introducing the newest member of our Higher-Powered Learning team: Kourtney Bradshaw. 

Kourtney is a native of North Carolina and attended the University of North Carolina for her undergrad. She then moved to Baltimore to teach and attain her M.Ed. Most recently, Kourtney taught Kindergarten-2nd grade at KIPP One in Chicago. She came to understand and utilize blended learning in the best way possible: organically, thoughtfully, and because she wanted to provide her students with a better education that met the needs of ALL students.

Kourtney joined our Higher-Powered Learning team last month and by day three, she was traveling with us to our spring professional development in Minnesota. Her relentless curiosity, real-world experience, and caring approach quickly endeared her to our BLAST members in Minnesota. I’m thrilled to introduce Kourtney to you all and for you to read her great blog post below. We’re eager to help teachers meaningfully utilize technology in the context of Catholic education to help them engage in Higher-Powered Learning!

-Fr. Nate Wills, CSC
Director, Higher-Powered Learning Program

One Year Ago Today

Monday, June 17, 2019

One Year Ago Today

Last week, we had the privilege of spending three days with the members of the Higher-Powered Learning Program in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. This time together served two purposes: to reflect on the first year of implementation and to prepare for the next year of coaching and continuous improvement (check out the timeline to learn more about the structure of the program).

How to Combat the Summer Slide with Technology

Monday, June 03, 2019

Higher-Powered Learning - Combat the Summer Slide

If you’re anything like me, your mind is probably already on summer. Whether your students finished classes just before Memorial Day weekend or will be doing so within the next few weeks, I would guess that you’re ready for a little break from the early mornings and long days of school.

Is Blended Learning Just a Glorified Form of "Tracking" Students?

Monday, May 20, 2019

Higher-Powered Learning - University of Notre Dame - Mixed Groups

One of the most common concerns with blended learning is that it is a glorified form of "tracking" students. In case you are not familiar with the term, “tracking” refers to separating students by performance level and differentiating their instruction accordingly. The reason this method is called tracking is because students are typically put on an academic track at a young age and often stay on that track for the rest of their academic careers.

The Blended Learning in Catholic Schools Symposium

Monday, May 06, 2019

Blended Learning in Catholic Schools Symposium

Catholic school leaders and teachers can sometimes feel discouraged when they hear about the funding available for hardware and software or the staffing models that make classroom management so much easier in public and charter schools. Many teachers and leaders from parochial schools can feel isolated when they implement a blended-learning model and perceive that others using blended learning have different priorities and resources. For this precise reason, we created the Blended Learning in Catholic Schools Symposium.

March Madness

Monday, April 22, 2019 by Francesca Varga

 Higher-Powered Learning - ACE Blended Learning

The birds chirping and blossoms slowly emerging from the cold ground signal that spring has finally come again. Now that winter’s chill is finally ending and warmer days are upon us, it is a good time to think of ways to put a little “spring” into instructional practices to breathe new life into classrooms. One of the ways our team decided to liven things up and spark student motivation was to bring a little March Madness to our schools.

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

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

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

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

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?

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