Follow by Email

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Changing Colors of Education!

The other day one of my friends told me about an experience with his son.  They were out in the woods hiking.  As the sun rose and lit the trees with its rays, his son mentioned how the leaves were beginning to change, “This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in nature.”  This ten-year-old was focused on the incredible beautiful ever changing colors of the leaves. 


 As I rush out the door every morning, I take a minute to focus on the changing colors of the leaves and the rays of the warming sun.  Recently as I gazed up at the bright oranges, yellows, reds and greens of the trees, it made me think about how education has changed over the past several years. 

Technology is one of the most brightest and colorful ever changing areas of education, much like the changing colors of the leaves on the trees.  These days we hear a lot of changing ideas about educating our children.  One phrase we have heard a lot about is “Blended Learning.”  What exactly is blended learning and does it have positive results for our students? 

Blended learning uses both digital learning strategies through online media and traditional classroom instruction.  Students are able to complete the online portion of the learning, decide on the place they access the online content and set an appropriate pace.  Columbia Central High School students use blended learning strategies in quite a few of their classrooms.  Some of our teachers use blended learning techniques to enhance the time the students have in their classroom.  They use a strategy called “Flipped Classroom.”  In this strategy students choose the time and place that they review the material in the lesson before coming to class.  This material may include research, specific online sites or a Podcast.  Once the students arrive in class they begin with activities based upon the material they covered online and may follow up with an assessment covering their assignment and activities.

Blended learning activities also are taking place at Columbia Upper Elementary School.  Many teachers are using strategies that integrate technology both at home and during school.  Recently I spoke to several students who were working on a blended learning technique that included doing online research, creating a graphic organizer and translating that into a multi-page website.  This strategy gave the students an opportunity to work in their own time, at their own pace, using a learning-path they chose and a place that worked for them. 

In some of our Columbia Elementary School classrooms teachers are having students write in their blogs online and then classmates, parents, and other relatives, in addition to the teacher, read and write reviews.  This partnership between parents, students and the teacher is made possible through the online techniques of blended learning.

At Columbia Options High School students use online applications during their traditional classes as well as during their virtual classes.  We support students as they complete their virtual classes with a drop-in center and a resource teacher.  Many students find the virtual portion to be better suited to their learning needs, but they also find the resource teacher very important to assist them with questions.

By integrating technology and blended learning into the curriculum teachers must reinvent their teaching techniques.  To adapt the learning activities into this innovative way of teaching and learning, teachers collaborate together and experience a sustainable, transformation that results in meaningful student growth.


At Columbia as we have worked to integrate technology into the curriculum and use blended learning strategies to enhance students’ ability to acquire new knowledge, we have seen a progressive improvement of student retention by using these techniques.  Students enjoy completing online research activities and seem to experience a greater level of retention.  As we continue to use blended learning activities, strategies and techniques with our students we anticipate that they will increase their performance on post activity assessments.  When you look up at the beautiful changing fall leaves, remember to think about the changing look of technology in education. If you would like to learn more about Columbia School District or our programs, call me at 5175926641 or email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org .

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Learning Today at Columbia!

Education at Columbia School District is better than in the Movies!  Over the years we have seen television shows or movies that focus on school life.  While story lines about schools take risks and exploit academic opportunities, at Columbia Schools the teachers, parents and students have partnered to give students the best opportunity for academic success

When you watch a movie you only see just what is on the screen, at Columbia there is a well-rounded philosophy that keeps all of our students in view of the teachers and administrators.  Columbia School District teachers work together to help our student learn today so they may become leaders tomorrow.  At Columbia Upper Elementary students are experiencing STEM in two unique ways; The Lego Robotics Program and The Michigan League of Academic Games.  The students participating in these programs only need to have enthusiasm to learn more by experiencing hands-on strategies.  These programs use collaboration, camaraderie and problem solving to extend learning opportunities in a practical futuristic way.

On the big screen the focus is on exceptions rather than reality.  For example, the Hogwarts School in Harry Potter housed children who had magical abilities.  At Columbia the magic is not in our students, but in the way our teachers inspire students in their academic endeavors.  Our teachers are positive, creative and hardworking individuals who work to be inclusive of all students.  Unlike Hogwarts School our students do not have to fly, become invisible or use their telepathic powers to get good grades.

One television program that focused on school life was “Welcome Back Kotter.”  This comedy was popular, but regularly featured students who were poorly behaved and often ridiculed each other.  At Columbia, our students not only care about each other, but maintain a focus on positive classroom behavior.  Later this fall forty of our high school students will attend a three day-two night event called “Communication Camp.”  This event gives students the ability to make connections on a deeper level and learn about others.  Activities like Communication Camp, Leadership Forum and other leadership opportunities, give our students an opportunity to excel while moving past the cliché school experience.


Columbia School District’s positive programs and activities both during the day and afterschool help to make our students’ experience better in the movies!  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District, email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org or call 5175926641.