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Sunday , December 16 2018
Bordertown Undergroun Show 728
Home | Tag Archives: blended learning

Tag Archives: blended learning

EPISD Blended Learning Conference draws Hundreds of Teachers

Classes don’t start for another few weeks, but that didn’t stop hundreds of EPISD teachers from filing into classrooms at Chapin High Thursday for the one-day Blended Learning Conference.

The conference, which was organized by the Instructional Technology department, kicked off with keynote speaker Caitlin Tucker, teacher and author of “Blending Technology and Tradition to Transform Learning.”

Tucker spoke to the teachers about embracing blended learning and using technology as a gateway for student learning.

“My focus is on active, engaged learning in the classroom combined with active, engaged learning online,” Tucker said. “Blended learning opens the door for the best hallmarks for teaching and learning. There are things I am able to do with my students now that I was never able to do pre-technology.”

Franklin teacher Heather Kendrick walked away from the keynote feeling inspired.

“The speech was great and gave me ideas of things to include in my classroom,” Kendrick said. “I teach some of the upper level Spanish classes, and I would love for them to do some TED Talks in my class.”

Kendrick already has integrated online discussions and surveys in her classroom to give students another outlet to talk about and review what they are doing in class.

“In class, there’s usually two or three students that comment in class discussions, but online I notice the class, as a whole, comments more,” Kendrick said.

After the keynote, teachers broke out into breakout sessions, such as iMovie Book Trailers and Hands-on Nearpod, focusing on blended learning and active learning tools and strategies. To help promote blended learning, the conference also included sessions on Schoology, the district’s new learning management system.

“We want to focus attention on blended learning in our district,” Instructional Technology Manager Chris Sherman said. “It provides the time in the classroom that enables us to focus more on personalizing and differentiating instruction.”

EPISD pauses for Read Across the District event

EPISD teachers were joined by community leaders, military personnel, university students, news personalities and other stakeholders to instill the love of reading in students during the second annual Read Across the District event.

Deputy Superintendent Ivonne Durant kicked off the districtwide event at Guillen Middle School with Trustee Charles Taylor, Commissioner Carlos Leon, EPISD administrators, Lucha Libre wrestlers, firefighters and dozens more community members.

“Research says reading aloud is the single most important thing you can do to help a child prepare for reading and learning,” Durant told a crowd of community members and students at Guillen. “It builds strong literacy skills like vocabulary and phonics. It helps with brain development and language skills.”

Durant encouraged Guillen students to read to their younger siblings and cousins and share their love of reading. “As little as 15 minutes a day reaps the benefit for children that will last a lifetime,” Durant said. “And it adds up: 15 minutes a day for five years is over 450 hours.”

She also reminisced about her days as a child in Mexico with her father who inspired her to be a lifelong reader.

“He read a lot,” she said. “He would take out the encyclopedia and read and during dinner we would talk about what he read.”

Being read to as a child, gives children at an early age an advantage over those children not read to – especially as they enter kindergarten.

“Children develop a life-long love of reading and bond with parents who share their love of reading,” Durant said.

Tim Holt, executive director of Blended Learning, also spoke at the kick off and commended students for reading more than previous generations – but not in the traditional way their parents and grandparents read. He explained that research shows it takes more skills to decode text than words on a printed page.

“Older folks say kids aren’t reading – all they do is sit around in front of a screen all day,” Holt said. “Well I want to put that myth to rest. Kids aren’t reading what we were – not on a printed page but they are reading all day long.”

Other RAD activities included reading contests at high schools and pajama day reading. Austin High School challenged students to see if they could collectively read one million words in 30 minutes.

Check out tweets about RAD at #episdrad. And for pictures of the RAD kickoff, visit the EPISD Gallery at

Author: EPISD

Bordertown Undergroun Show 728