Hybrid Class

13 Days to Creating a Successful Hybrid Class, Day 10


Today, is day 10 of this series on How to Create a Successful College Hybrid Class.  My goal is to create a successful hybrid college class which I can teach many times over the next few years.

You know the song, “It’s all about the Bass”?  I would call this post “It’s all about Working Together”.

Can you envision five college kids huddled in their overcoats checking their cell phones rather than speaking to one another.

The students are assigned to create a group presentation speech.  It started off well.

However, when the students don’t communicate in person I begin to think nothing is occurring.

Somewhat I’m correct about this.

Our hybrid class hasn’t met since last Friday. the students were given all weekend to work on their section of the group speech.

It is Wednesday.

Today, the students were given the entire class period to work on their speech together.

Notecards were to be ready, a bibliography, outline, a visual aid and manuscript of the speech were to be finished up.

We are twenty minutes into class and three of the five students are ready to go.

Two others looked perplexed.  Oh, we had to have everything ready today?

Those two pulled out note cards and jotted down their notes.


The group leader has emailed me several times expressing her frustration with the quality of the speech.  I assured her she wouldn’t be penalized because of this. Mind you, everyone in this group is plenty capable of “A” work if they so choose.

It is very quiet in here.  I guess the three finished are waiting for the other two.

I broke this project into five parts:

Introduction (one person)

Body (three people)

Conclusion (one person)

Each person in the project had other responsibilities as well:

  • the one who introduces leads the group
  • the one who concludes creates the visual aid slides
  • the three who have written the body of the speech–time, create the bibliography and the speech outline

This hybrid class is being developed to answer the need for those seeking classes over a short time.

Since this is a commuter college, it is difficult for the students to get together.  I gave them this class period to practice the speech.

I’ve moved to a computer lab.  If I’m in the room, it’s too easy for me to step in and correct or suggest anything.

I want their speech to feel like one of other students’ group projects in a regular classroom.


Today, I learned communicating is one of this generation’s biggest challenges.  They simply don’t talk to one another.  It has become so second nature to them, it’s a cop out now.  Why speak to the kid in your group when something is lacking in their speech if you can just email them?

Except they were to include me in all email.

Yeah, that hasn’t happened.

My goal is still the same–to create a hybrid class. 

I’ll have to think about how to fix this problem.  I think there is a way to create a group for them to speak on line which includes me.  Not a forum, but a different sort of configuration.  Hmmm.


Contact me at Dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net


hybrid college class

13 Days to Creating a Successful Hybrid College Class, Day 7


Oops!  I bet you are wondering where the Thirteen Days to Creating a Hybrid College Class, Day 6’s blog post is.

During our winter break, I emailed, graded and created lessons for the students.

I never stopped “hybrid teaching” for more than a day.  We visited friends and it was pretty convenient to take a little time each day to keep up with the grading as it was posted by the students and still have time to enjoy with them.

But uhm…..while driving home from Ohio and seeing these wonderful friends, I totally forgot we were to have class on Day 6.  Totally. forgot!


Once I realized it, we were too far away from home for us to get there in time for me to teach class the next day.

I think it was Freudian…I planned for day 6 in the syllabus supplement, so at least at some point the day was on my mind.

Somewhere in there it slipped my mind.

No matter–the wonders of the internet saved the day and everyone was notified by email before the class.  I didn’t want anyone to show up at 8:10 a.m. and my smiling face wouldn’t be there.

Today is Day 7 of teaching a hybrid class.


Speaking of the wonders of internet, let’s talk about email…..or maybe it’s a headache.  I suppose it all depends upon who you are communicating with and its importance.

Since this hybrid class is studied both in class and at home, students have two ways for emailing me.  One is through the college’s email and one is through my personal email.

The professors are encouraged to only use our college email, but in a case like this hybrid I thought it was more important for the students to be able to have quick access to me than going through the school email.

Sometimes we have success, sometimes we don’t.

Primarily, the tricky part is turning in homework assignments in a timely manner.  Since I am checking both email accounts as well as the coursework upload files, it is difficult to keep everything organized.

Next time, I will A. show the students how to access their student accounts and how to use them and  B. we will only use the upload file and file assignment feature and C. I’ll keep a check list (or at least use my gradebook, duh…) to track completed assignments and those which are late.

At present, I find myself clicking back and forth from the coursework page to the email to see if the students have turned in their assignments by the due date and time.

Oh gosh, it’s crazy!

student computer

Plus, since the students are working from home there have been several times where they have sent to two assignments in one file upload and not told me.  It becomes a case of:

ME:  Student X, I don’t have your Youtube critique.

STUDENT X:  You don’t?  I sent it in with the chapter homework. The assignment due date window was going to close and I thought it would be better to send them together than not get it in one time.

ME:  Good thought!  Unfortunately, I didn’t know that.  I wonder where it is?

STUDENT X:  I’ll email it to you again.  Which account?

ME:  My college email address is fine.

STUDENT X:  I forgot.  I typed it on my dad’s computer and I don’t have it here.  I’ll send it once I get home.

And so forth and so on……

Another headache?  One student doesn’t receive my emails until five hours later.  His network is crazy slow.  What’s that about?

I’d say one big challenge of creating a hybrid class is the internet. If it’s unreliable, you are in for some real headaches.

student computer

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

hybrid college class

Thirteen Days to Creating a Successful Hybrid College Class, Day Five

The flipped classroom:  Kindness through Christmas cookies.

christmas cookies

If you’ve been following the blog this week, you have taken my journey right along with me as I navigate the “flipped classroom” waters.

Today, something interesting occurred.  The students talked to me!

Could it be the decorated sugar cookies I brought to class did the trick?  I wanted to reward all of us for a job well done this week.  None of us are used to having a 8:10 class five days consecutively.


The kids took one look at the cookies and grabbed them.  My international students don’t even get to travel home for the holidays.  They seemed especially grateful.

All I know is something changed. We’ve  become accustomed to one another. Yeay!

christmas cookies

I think it’s fair to say taking the time to extend kindness is important.  It’s easy in an intensive situation such as this to lose sight of the human quotient.  We are working at such a hectic pace– reading, grading, writing, discussing through forums and viewing video clips we forget we are first human beings.

Humans need one on one time with each other.

The cookies reminded all of us that is was the holiday season and we needed to have fun even though we are madly working at this fundamentals-of -speech thing.

Giving your students a little gift works wonders, too.

I purchased highlighters and handed them out at the end of class for the students to use on their next assignment rubric (persuasive speech).  Although I hadn’t planned for the kids to keep them, they seemed to want them.  Suddenly, I had a gift.

Sugar cookies and highlighters.  Who knew?

christmas cookies

Keep a look out for my next post.  It won’t be for several days, because I am blogging in real time about the experience, but I’ll be back with stories about what occurs while we aren’t in class these next twelve days.

The flipped classroom will do the work for me. I’ll merely step in and out several times to check my email for homework assignments, and replies to the next forum discussion.

Until then, please enjoy your holiday as well.  Merry Christmas and have a happy new year!

contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com  or DeborahBaldwin.net

hybrid college class

Thirteen Days to Creating a Successful Hybrid College Class, Day Four


Let’s talk about the value of Tedtalks to a flipped classroom.

Baby, they are awesome!

Please know I’m not expert about teaching at the college level, although I have taught college aged students for many years.

This is much more formal instruction.


tedtalk 2 (2)

I viewed my first one several years ago, but many of my students are not familiar with them.

They are a tremendous help to most any teacher on most any subject. I think they are catching on, because Tedtalks are just too good not to be mentioned by someone. Some are shared on Facebook many times.

They are very useful.

In my case, my students can view an expert who speaks eloquently.  Their speech is succinct because it’s been rehearsed.  It’s entertaining and usually educational.

Many are humorous.  Here is one my students and I enjoy:

“Inside the Mind of a Procrastinator” by Tim Urban

This particular talk is great for high school and college students.  Tim speaks about his procrastination tendencies and boy, does he have them. Procrastination is familiar to all us, universal.

Another one which is terrific  for  a speech class is Caroline Goyd’s

“The Surprising Secret to Speaking with Confidence”

These two Ted talks are completely different in style and tone.  Tim’s is laid back and funny.  Carol’s is professional and thoughtful.

I enjoy both.

In a flipped classroom, Ted Talks can take your place or they can compliment your teaching.

I’d suggest you peruse their topics and see if any will work for you.  Also, I  advise you to check on Youtube for them.  For some reason, not all talks are stored on the Tedtalk website.

Did you know there are students who give Tedtalks now?

Here is one by Jack Andraka, “A Promising Test for Pancreatic Cancer from a Teenager”

Just think how a teen Tedtalk can inspire your students. Visual learning is paramount to a student’s intellectual growth.

It’s worked with mine.  Try it.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net


hybrid college class

Thirteen Days to Creating a Successful Hybrid College Class, Day Three

Day Three

Today, the Christmas cookies hit the fan so to speak…..


Picture this:

It is a cold, grey December day. There’s chill in the air, the kind that nearly freezes you to the bone.

Typical mid western weather in December.

Oh joy.

It’s early–only 8:10 a.m.  In comes my little flock who look half asleep. The students aren’t chatting with each other and certainly not with me.  I ask how everyone’s evening went and no one answers.

No feedback to me that’s for sure.

(Pause)  I have a theory about this–if I don’t speak to the teacher it is as if the class isn’t occurring.  I can stay “checked out.”

Mwwaahhaaaa….they don’t know me, though.


I go through the day’s list of activities and I must say, it is a long one.

The first thing I mention is forums.  One of the high school kids looks bewildered, but the girl beside him restates it for him.  (I have no idea why she feels she must restate what I say when I am standing right there and can do it for him myself, but hey she is 17 and doesn’t everyone know EVERYTHING when they are 17?)

Sorry, I digress…

I’ve never had the opportunity to use a forum with a class.  I was hesitant at first, only because I didn’t understand how the students post and reply.

I now understanding why forums are crucial to a flipped class.

Checked forums off my list! Forums give you the feedback a teacher is seeking.


When I was a student, we spoke to our professors out of respect.  My parents made it clear to me to respect my elders and even as an adult, I am aware of any adults who are older than I who should be treated with the utmost respect for their wisdom and age.

I wasn’t raised with a cell phone in my hand.

Telephone calls were kept to a minimum and calling long distance was an extravagance.  My father was a doctor so we could afford those state-to-state telephone calls, but regardless I wrote letters.

We learned how to write a letter when we were in elementary school.

Is letter writing even taught any more?

No texting, either.

As we all know, the technological world has changed tremendously over the last fifty years.

In all defense of these students, the art of conversation isn’t something they are used to practicing.  (We’ll practice conversing the last day of the semester. )

I can all ready see how a forum is a fantastic method of communication.  For those of you unfamiliar with them, it is truly brilliant.  The teacher poses an article, video clip and/or questions he wants the students to ponder.  The student is required to make one post regarding the teacher’s post and replies to other students’ replies as well.

Ladies and gentlemen–we have conversation!!!

Forums are essential to a flipped class.



Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net


hybrid college class

Thirteen Days to Creating a Successful Hybrid College Class, Day Two

Day 2


Flipping a class isn’t easy.

Today, I spent about two and a half hours organizing everything for tomorrow–power point for chapters’ answers, college level speech example and outline of the speech, creating another power point with examples of notecards to coincide today’s speech and tweak a forum post.  I graded the pre test and their homework from last night and entered all of this in the gradebook.

If you think that’s a lot of time for a one hour class, you don’t know teaching.  It’s time consuming.

I’ve used video clips to explain certain concepts.  I knew it was a great tool.


Enter Youtube.

I jumped on Youtube and spent only thirty minutes searching for clips of teachers teaching the next two chapters’ information–delivery and language. Just thirty minutes! In the grand scheme of things, that is a pittance compared to all the other time I spend.

I  planned for the students to read two chapters from the textbook for Thursday (some thirty pages). I decided it would be better for them if they viewed video clips to attain some of the same information.

In addition, they must write half of the first draft of their informative speech due to me on Thursday, too. I will peruse all the speeches and give individual feedback to them.

Viewing the clips will save them time even though they’ll still have to answer the chapter questions.

Flipped learning–It’s all about independent learning, saving time, differentiated instruction and individual guidance from the teacher.

Today, I learned about using video clips and the true value of them for a teacher–saving time!

Thank goodness for Youtube.


Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

hybrid college class

13 Steps to Creating a Successful Hybrid College Class Day One

Day One

A bit earlier this semester, I was asked to create an intensive hybrid speech class.  It sounded fun to me.  (I know not everyone would enjoy creating curriculum, but there you go…)


Since we are just sitting around here sort of waiting for Christmas festivities with our family (does everyone else feel that way?), I had the time to create it.  So, although I say “gulp”, I am also metaphorically standing here like Wonder Woman.  I. can. do. it.

wonder woman


Honestly, I had no idea what I got myself into, but that isn’t unusual for me.  I’ve taught drama and speech classes for nearly forty years–I mean, how difficult can it be?


I looked around on the web and found several sites and Pinterest pins concerning the subject, so that persuaded me I could put the hybrid together.

However, if I’m going to learn from all of this, I need to analyze what I am doing right and wrong during these thirteen days when I teach one for the first timeflip


First, I had to get the lingo straight.  I was calling it an “a cross between an online and traditional class”.  Duh.  This is completely incorrect!

On line classes occur only on line.  Hybrid classes use textbooks and can have one on one teaching time with students or time in a classroom.  Hybrid’s use various modalities to teach–on line learning from various sources (websites, video clips, on line documents, etc. )Hybrid classes are usually only offered for lower level classes.

That’s the first thing I learned.  

In thirteen days, I must teach an entire textbook’s worth of material.

No problem….(gulpIn theory this should work.  Here’s why:

The students are reading, writing speeches, viewing a lot of information on line, answering forum posts, creating notecards, outlines, bibliographies, etc. and attending class with me for 70 minutes each of the thirteen days.  During the interim for Christmas and New Year’s the students have assignments to do as well.

How intensive is this?  Well, their first speech, an informative one, is due on Friday.  Tomorrow, they are presenting a little self introduction for us.

Two speeches down, two to go.

I thought this would be difficult for the students to complete.   A faculty member asked, “Once they saw all they had to do, did they run out the door?”

The answer is no. It didn’t seem to faze them.


These days, students are used to online assignments and many have taken hybrid classes in the past.   Gone are the days of sitting in a lecture hall, or if not gone maybe there are a few less of them.

I am going to work just as hard as the students.  And, I have to stay ahead of them!

For instance, thus far I have spent about three hours today just getting everything ready for tomorrow.

Today I created hand outs for: writing notecards, informative speech topics, and rubrics for an informative speech and forum discussion.

Prior to the first class, I probably spent about six hours planning the class.  Why so long?  Because I planned the entire intensive so the students would have every assignment and due date at their finger tips.

I figure that’s the least I can do for them.

Truthfully, that’s ok with me.  I am more valuable and employable with everything I learn to do as far as higher education is concerned.  I’m interested in teaching additional classes on line in the future.

It sounds like more and more people are taking to learning in this manner.  I want to be one of the teachers who can provide the instruction for them.


For instance, I’d never had to make power point for a class because in the past, I taught drama classes.  Most of the time my classes were hands-on, not lecture.

So, I can check off “creating a power point” from my list.


However, I am all ready seeing the value of on line learning.  Because of the net the world is truly our oyster.

My favorite example of web gold is Ted Talks.  They are a dream for a speech teacher.  My first semester students, mostly high school kids, hadn’t been introduced to Tedtalks. They enjoyed them a lot and shared with me they had viewed others in. their. free. time.  What?

Ironically, I first learned about Tedtalk on Facebook.  Facebook, who knew?

A wonderful by-product of  Tedtalks is they are tremendously interesting and thought provoking.

I use one on procrastination, ten tips to becoming a better conversationalist and several others.  I’ve also used them for extra credit.

Today, I learned how to put a forum together thanks to my daughter.

She’s studying for her masters in education so she can teach drama.  (Talk about the apple not falling far from the tree….) She filled me in on how her professors use forums as a way to enrich the lessons.  I was interested in hearing what she thought were the positive and drawbacks from forums.  She had no complaints.

We’ll see how this goes.  Who knows what tomorrow holds?  

How Successful Teachers Avoid Common Pitfalls

persuasion speech rubric

A common pitfall most teachers experience is thinking they must create everything for their classes all by themselves. Au Contraire!

So here’s the deal.  If you are a teacher and you haven’t discovered Rubistar4.com, you need to do so pronto!

Like most people, we do our best work when we help each other.  Many years ago when I first began in my teaching career, other teachers were not so keen to help you.

Now we know helping one another is the key to success. I really enjoy sharing with other teachers and having them share with me.  We’re all in this together, right?

Rubistar4.com is a wonderful site with templates for various assignments.  Trust me–this site will save you loads of time and time needs to be on your side not against you.

Here is my persuasion speech rubric, FREE.

Note:  This particular rubric was created at Rubistar4.com and then I downloaded to my document folders.

I created it for college level students in a Fundamental of Speech class.  It could easily be adapted for younger students.

Click here: Oral Presentation Rubric – Persuasion Speech

Keep checking back for other rubrics.

I’d love to know how it works out for you.

Remember, we teachers are all in this together.  Until next time.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

persuasion speech rubric


Super Charge Your Classroom Warm Up Exercise


Are you looking an exercise to super charge your classroom?  A  FREE product to try with your classroom from a veteran teacher? Something fun but useful to teach with these weeks right before a holiday break?

Super Hero Cover 6 Ad

Simply put, this warm up exercise is loads of fun because YOU are the hero!  Students love creating the story around you.

Your materials list is easy:  a box of photographs of all kinds and a copy of a postcard story of your own or another student group from another time. In the lesson, I  have included a copy of one my students’ stories just to give you an idea of what to expect.

Sometimes my students dramatize their story (it’s always very short) or merely share the story with the class. When they dramatize their story, I ask them to use chanting (repeated words or phrases for an effect), a sound effect or two and some movement.  They even create a title for their story. My students LOVE this exercise!

I’d love to hear how this exercise works for you.

If you enjoy this one, please check out my store at Teacherspayteachers.com.  I’m always adding new products.  Maybe something else will help you.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net


Dramamommaspeaks.com Youth Theatre

The Impact of Youth Theatre on the World


You know I am all about this. Theatre has saved many a child, including me. I have never known it not to impact someone’s life.

I am hoping this post will be helpful to parents.

Read this post if you’d like to know about my journey. https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/01/17/how-theatre-saved-m%EF%BB%BFy-life/

Those of us who work in youth theatre can give you countless reasons why your child should be involved in theatre.

Read this post from a Litpick.com article I penned for them.


How Theater for Young People Could Save the World

By Loren Gunderson of the Huffington Post

Theatre for Children

March 20th is World Theater for Children and Young People Day.

Some of you might be thinking, “Oh lord, why do we need a day to

celebrate actors being silly, wearing bright colors and singing obnoxiously

at squirming kiddos and bored parents?”

But if you think that’s what Theatre for Young People is,

you’re missing out on truly powerful, hilarious, bold, engaging,

surprising theater that might just save the world.

Around the world artists are creating a new stripe of

Theatre for Young People that combines the elegance of dance,

the innovation of devised theater, the freshness of new plays,

the magnetism of puppetry and the inciting energy of new


Theatre for Youth

Kids have access to more and more mature theatrical

visions premiering from Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center

to Atlanta’s Synchronicity Theatre to San Francisco’s

Handful Players to Ireland to Adelaide to Kosovo to Cape

These plays range from re-imagined fairy tales and adaptations

of favorite books to brand-new plays and electric new musicals

about everything from physics to bullying to the American Civil War.

But how could theater, especially theater for young people,

really matter in a world as fraught and disparity-scattered as ours?

Not to sound overly grand (too late), but so much of the toxicity

in this world comes from a collective draining of empathy.

We don’t understand each other, and we don’t want to.

But theater invites us — no, forces us — to empathize.

As my friend Bill English of San Francisco’s SF Playhouse says,

theater is like a gym for empathy. It’s where we can go to build up

the muscles of compassion, to practice listening and understanding

and engaging with people that are not just like ourselves.

We practice sitting down, paying attention and learning from

other people’s actions. We practice caring.

Kids need this kind of practice even more than adults do.

This is going to be their planet and they’ve got more time to apply

that empathy and make a difference. Buddhist roshi Joan Halifax

challenges us to actively and specifically teach

children (and vote for presidents with) empathy.

Why not take your child to the theater to do just that.

In fact “Take A Child to the Theatre Today” is the campaign theme

of The International Association of Theaters for Young Audiences

for the next three years.

If you take a child to the theater, not only will they practice empathy,

they might also laugh uproariously, or come home singing about science,

or want to know more about history, or tell you what happened at

school today, or spend all dinner discussing music, or learn how to

handle conflict, or start becoming future patrons of the arts.

On March 20th, take a child to the theater. Take them all the time.

And don’t “sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.” Lean forward, engage

and start changing the world for the better.

Theatre for Children– a great place to live.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com