Blended Learning In Middle School Classrooms

Blended Learning is becoming a classroom pedagogy that allows for differentation and for providing learners with a “right time and place” strategy for many learning objectives. Technology provides numerous opportunities to incorporate blended learning in your teaching. Please join us to learn how some of these tools can be used in the content classroom. You will leave with strategies to use the next day!

Sessions and Presenters:

During this session, we will experience and explore Google Earth, Hangouts, Tour Creator, Arts & Culture, and FlipGrid to connect with other classrooms and create virtual experiences for our students. Many of these sites have pre-made experiences ready to go as well as the ability to customize experiences to your classroom objectives. When you turn these tools over to your students, they can create unique digital experiences to demonstrate & share their learning as well as connect with other classrooms across the globe.

Speaker: Julie Powell, Lincoln Middle School, Park Ridge-Niles CCSD64

Julie Powell is an Instructional Technology Coach at Lincoln Middle School in Park Ridge-Niles CCSD64. She has taught middle school STEM, Mathematics, and Social Studies and is in her 10th year in Education. Julie is a Google Certified Educator Level 1 & 2, and an Apple Education Trainer passionate about using technology to transform teaching & learning.

Students will create an artifact using an online resource and gather information via research about facts about a subject. (Mesopotamian).

Students will create an interactive artifact (cube) which will be printed and build into a 3D cube. This will be use as a dice to learn and recall facts or as a study guide for the test.

Speaker: Kiran Sidhpura, Stevenson Middle School, Maywood 89

I have been teaching technology since 2007 to k-12 grade. My career took a turn when I joined the high school teaching computer science and stem programs. The technology integration and pedagogy changed dramatically over the years.

At D89, as Instructional Technology Coach, I am always looking to bring new ideas and ways to integrate technology in curriculum in every way. I bring Robotics, Virtual and Augmented reality and drones to classroom to teach and learn.

This session will showcase how Nearpod can be one vehicle for building student engagement during whole class mini-lessons, collaborative small group learning, and self-paced instruction. This instructional tool enhances learning by allowing teachers to gather formative data, use student responses to drive discussion and provides an avenue for immediate feedback to students. Learn how using this tool in a blended learning model can move you from being the owner of information to a facilitator of learning.

Speaker: Mary Stec & Meagan MacDonald, Barrington Middle School Prairie Campus, Barrington 220

Mary Stec and Meagan MacDonald are middle school Instructional Digital Age Learning Coaches at Barrington Middle School Prairie Campus. They serve as part of the school’s leadership team providing “just in time”, job-embedded, and ongoing professional development for teachers. In addition, Stec and MacDonald have presented at national conferences and provide districtwide professional learning in Barrington 220. In their current position, Stec and MacDonald partner with teachers in implementing high impact, research-based instructional strategies including technology integration when it enhances student learning.

The goal with this session is to provide ideas and resources on how to weave technology into the sometimes difficult math classroom. We will look at multiple ways to include technology including The Grid Method. Please bring a growth mindset and your laptop or other device to access the tools.

Speaker: Sarah Linden, Taylor Lehmann, Charri Trembley,  Kaneland Harter Middle School, Kaneland Dist #302

We are a group of passionate math teachers with a mix of how to incorporate tech in the math class. Sarah is a seasoned teacher that has used tech. Taylor is a new to us SPED teacher that brings youth & savvy to the trio. Charri has taught for “a-hemmm” years and has been in the role of Instruction Coach for the last six.

This session will share with you the tools and methods used to run a completely Self-Paced 8th Grade Computer Science Class. I will give you an overview of how I use tools like Screencast-O-Matic, Edpuzzle, Google Forms and Google Sheets to support teaching and learning in my class. This session will be useful to any teacher, in any subject, looking to implement self-paced learning whether it is for a full year, a full unit, or to just add enrichment opportunities. Bring your computer so we can connect and share throughout the session using some of my other favorite classroom technology tools.

Speaker: John Alesch, Plano Middle School

I have been teaching Computer Science to both Middle and High School students for 15 years. I have Masters Degrees in Educational Technology and K-12 Online Teaching from Concordia University Chicago. I have spent time in a variety of Schools and have worked with a wide range of students. To connect with me and learn more, visit my website at:

In this session, educators will learn how to use digital tools to help facilitate their lessons with the ultimate goal of including every child in instruction. Instructional tools discussed will be digitizing notes, digitizing anchor charts, creating resources for homework. Assessment tools discussed will be plickers and google forms. To take full advantage of this session participants should have access to an instructional tool similar to an iPad. You do not have to bring the device to the session.

Speaker: Matt Bruns, Hadley Junior High, Glen Ellyn #41

Matt Bruns is a special education teacher who loves to leverage technology. He continually strives to improve teaching and learning through innovation to benefit not only his special education students, but for all learners. Matt looks to technology not to simply substitute the old with the new, but really examines how technology can redefine learning environments.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the “monthly newsletter” or encouragement to open communication lines with parents, students and colleagues? Work smarter, not harder, and use easily editable free graphic tools such as Google Drawings, Canva, Smore to make beautiful and eye-catching visuals toengage your readers. Be fun! Use customizable memes to generate interest. Dip your toe into sharing communication through social media, and get out there and be seen!

Speaker: Beth Rihtar, Emerson Middle SChool, Niles District 64

Beth Rihtar is in her 6th year as an Instructional Technology Coach with District 64. Beth is passionate about providing relevant professional development and likes editing media and creating new things.

She’s a certified music teacher, and you can follow her on Twitter @bethrihtar.