E17 - The Magic of the Modern Classroom Project with Danielle Adams

Episode Music Credits:  Old Love Instrumental by Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, 100% Clearance through Musicbed 

On this episode of Blending In, I chatted with Danielle Adams, a middle school ELA and Social Studies teacher in Hemet Unified School District who is implementing the Modern Classroom Project Blended Learning Model in her classroom. In our conversation, Danielle explained her love for the magic of the MCP model and how impactful it has been on student learning in her classroom!

Danielle told me how she serendipitously discovered this model on Facebook which inspired her to enroll in the free professional development course offered by MCP.  After taking the course and learning how to implement the MCP model, she got to work designing her first unit using this exciting blended learning model.  In our conversation, she gave me brief overview about the model and how it's magic works by encouraging student choice, collaboration, and self-monitoring of learning by blending teacher-created video instruction, traditional learning methods, and real-time feedback.  She talked about how she provides students with a road map to guide them through their lessons (pictured below, left), how she tracks student progress on her whiteboard (pictured below, right), and how she is able to be free from the front of the classroom to be able to engage in real-time progress monitoring and feedback during class time!  

“Fears and Phobias” Road Map-Collection 1.pdf

An example of a unit road map that Danielle provided to her students that shows where they are going during a unit of instruction

The student tracker system that Danielle created for her 6th grade students to self-monitor and track their progress through a novel study on the book Life As We Knew It 

I asked Danielle specifically about how she goes about designing units of instruction with the MCP model, and she admits that it takes quite a bit of time - 15-20 hours  to put a unit together - and that she’s been focused on utilizing this model in her ELA courses rather than her Social Studies course because of team collaboration dynamics.   Although it takes her quite a bit of time to build in the beginning, it ends up saving her future-self lots of time.  She compared it to building a house… she builds a solid foundation and the frame, and then as time goes by, she’s able to add on more “rooms” or features. Danielle is willing to put the time and effort into creating these units because she truly sees the benefit of how this blended learning model truly helps kids learn and it has benefits for her too as a teacher.  For example, she doesn’t take home papers to grade anymore because she’s able to assess student learning on the spot in class each day and provide them immediate feedback to help them where they may struggle in mastering a standard.  Student feedback on this model has also indicated that students appreciate the access they have to her as their teacher, and Danielle noted how her increased availability has strengthened her relationships with her students. 

In addition to the time it takes to build an MCP unit, Daneille spoke about some of the other challenges she’s experienced with MCP and how she’s overcome them.  She cautioned that you have set clear expectations that need to be relentlessly reinforced at the beginning of implementing the MCP model with students.  She also talked about the challenge of having higher level learners who work through tasks very quickly and the need for differentiation for those overly-ambitious learners.  

To end our time together, Danielle talked about the rewards and the “magic” of the MCP model.  Seeing kids truly learning and collaborating, experiencing success, and being able to pull groups for intervention/enrichment which she found extremely difficult to do outside of this instructional model. 

If you're interested in learning more about the Modern Classroom Project, Danielle recommends just hopping on the website to see if the model is something that would work for you!  If you have questions for Danielle, you can reach out to her via email at dadams@hemetusd.org

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