“A thousand teachers, a thousand methods.” Chinese proverb

Blended Learning Instructional Strategies (BLIS), is combining the concepts of 'blended learning' and 'transliteracy' to articulate 21st century instructional strategies using both analog and digital media with respective tools, resources and networks. 

What can be taken from the above Chinese proverb is that teaching is not a 'paint by the numbers' endeavor. Within the K-12 educational world of curriculum standards is the rather large palette of teacher individuality, creativity and flexibility in how instruction occurs. Teachers using and combining concepts like Blended Learning and Transliteracy are simply providing agency for students living and working in this century.
The Concept of Blended Learning

"Blended learning is an education program (formal or non-formal) that combines online digital media with traditional classroom methods. It requires the physical presence of both teacher and student, with some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace. While students still attend "brick-and-mortar" schools with a teacher present, face-to-face classroom practices are combined with computer-mediated activities regarding content and delivery" (Wikipedia, 2017).

The Concept of Transliteracy 

..."we are going to tear literacy away from its original association with the medium of written text and apply it as a term that can refer to any kind of medium. And then we’re going to go across and beyond literacy to transliteracy." (Thomas, 2007)

"Transliteracy is an ability to use diverse analogue and digital technologies, techniques, modes and protocols;

  • to search for and work with a variety of resources
  • to collaborate and participate in social networks
  • to communicate meanings and new knowledge by using different tones, genres, modalities and media.

Transliteracy consists of skills, knowledge, thinking and acting, which enable a fluid ‘movement across’ in a way that is defined by situational, social, cultural and technological contexts" (Sukovic, 2017).

"The essential idea here is that transliteracy is concerned with mapping meaning across different media and not with developing particular literacies about various media. It is not about learning text literacy and visual literacy and digital literacy in isolation from one another but about the interaction among all these literacies" (Ipri,2010).

A little History

In the 20th century many forms of literacy (Garcia, 2013) emerged. By the early 1980's as the world began to go digital, this accelerated with various digital literacies to cover:
  1. media content; 
  2. the devices that held the content, and;
  3. the appropriate use and critical evaluation of both content and devices by individuals.
During this time, two central terms emerged- “digital literacy” pertaining to hardware/software, and “media literacy” (including information literacy) pertaining to the use, engagement and understanding of media in digital forms. As we moved into the mid-90's we started by 'reading' the Internet, and into the 21st century by 'reading and writing' with social media and cloud-based apps. Today, both digital and media literacies have become blurred together in the use of devices, applications, services and networks with the consumption and creation of digital content and the social and ethical practices that lie within. 

Now, with the inclusive concept of transliteracy, we need to move from the comparisons of traditional text literacy for reading and writing versus media in digital forms. In transliteracy all means all, as both analog or digital media moves across materials, devices, applications, services and networks.

As for instructional practices, it's a matter of using effective traditional and newer learning methods in the context of a student's home, school and community environments. The aspiration here is to develop children into young transliterate people that explore and reflect upon the world they live in. With that said, any category headings below are for simple identification and curation of content with a longer-range plan of blurring those lines over time in a trans-media society. 

As a never ending teacher, I evolved into a practicing constructivist, still on my journey. Over time, I became an organization nut (or squirrel) with the need to 'gather, sort and sift' by following people like Jamie Mackenzie and his marvelous work - The Research Cycle, 2000. 

Here, my BLIS is simply an organizational effort to create an open-ended instructional strategies palette in a project-based integrated studies context.

The BLIS (Blended Learning Instructional Strategies) Directory

In 2012, I began curating instructional strategy resources to function as a bridge between media content and instructional methods within students' face-to-face and asynchronous learning environments. It is my ongoing endeavor to embed these strategies within a teacher's integrated studies unit planning - (see Chapter 2).

Nonlinguistic Representations (Marzano Research)

  • Model Building 
  • Drawing  
  • Kinesthetic  
    • Manipulatives 

Rotation Schedule w/ School Learning Spaces
  • Makerspace/Labs
  • Learning Commons/Library
  • VAPA Studios
  • Physical Education

Setting Objectives  (Marzano Research)

  • Personalizing Objectives - Agenda or personalized list of assignments student created 
  • Learning Contracts 

Reinforcing Effort & Providing Feedback 
(Marzano Research)

  • Providing Recognition 
  • Reinforcing Effort 

Activating Prior Knowledge

  • Making Personal Connections 
  • Seating Arrangement of Students 
  • Visual Supports- Charts, Graphs, Illustrations, Photos 
  • Warm-Up Activity 


  • Focus on Key Vocabulary Terms 
  • Read Aloud 
  • Shared Reading 
  • Guided Reading 
  • Critical Literacy 
  • Thinking and talking among text in a variety of media forms 
  • Independent reading 
  • Partnership reading 
  • Reader's Workshop - Literature Circles

Structured Inquiry Models 

  • Topic Hotlist 
  • WebQuest 


  • Framing a lesson theme as a question 
  • Explicit Cues 
  • Cloze Procedure 
  • Questioning 
  • Inferential Questions 
  • Analytic Questions  
Research Cycle
  • Determining the Topic 
  • Information Searching & Gathering 
  • Information Organizing 
  • Synthesizing 
    • Oral Report 
    • Written Report 
    • Research Report 
    • Multimedia Report 
    • Extended Essay 
  • Presentation 
    • Individual 
    • Group/Team 
  • Evaluation and  Self-Management  

Interactive Instruction 

  • Brainstorming 
  • Debate 
  • Role Playing 
  • Panels 
  • Structured Controversy 
  • Interviewing 
  • Games 
  • Simulation 
Homework and Practice (Marzano Research)
  • No Homework as a strategy for elementary students 
  • Extended Learning Opportunities 
Community-based Learning

  • Field Observation 
  • Field Trip 
  • Service Learning 
Digital Devices
Classroom Learning Management System (LMS)
Formative Assessment
Summative Assessment
Differentiated Instruction
Flipped Learning
Direct Instruction

  • Structured Overview 
  • Explaining 
  • Demonstrations 


  • Author's Chair
  • Blog
  • Collaborative Writing 
  • Descriptive
  • Expository 
  • Modeled writing 
  • Narrative
  • Persuasive  
  • Summarizing 
  • Use of Mentor Text
  • Writer's Workshop
Writing and Organization of Thought

Group Work

  • Collaboration (pdf) - Pearson and P21
  • Heterogeneous Groups 
  • Homogeneous Groups 
  •  Informal Groups 
    • Peer Partners 
    • Think, Pair, Share 
    • Turn to  neighbor 
  • Formal Groups 
  • Using Analog Tools
    (3D objects- not software or computer-based)
  • Building with 3D Objects
    (not software or computer-based)
  • The Engineering Design Process
  • Robotics

Identifying Similarities & Differences 
(Marzano Research)

  • Compare and Contrast 
  • ClassifyingCategorizing 
  • Creating Metaphors 
  • Creating Analogies 

Generating & Testing Hypotheses 
(Marzano Research)

  • Systems Analysis 
  • Case Studies 
  • Problem Solving 
  • Decision Making 
  • Historical Investigation 
  • Invention 
  • Experimental  Inquiry 
    • Observe a process or event 
    • Interpret data 
    • Explain what you have observed 
    • Generate a hypotheses 
    • Set up an experiment 
    • Explain the results of the experiment 


Image Source: Paint Palette

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