Saturday, February 25, 2012

What WSQing actually looks like...

A "WSQ" [wisk] is what we call 
"homework" in my Flipped Class.  
 *The purpose of this page is to have a place to continually update new strategies and ideas regarding using the WSQ in class.*
It is a way I have found to help my students TWRLS in math class in a way I've never seen before.

My previous posts on WSQs (read these if you don't know what a WSQ is!)

My Favorite WSQ (Jan 23, 2012)

Using the WSQ to deepen student understanding and academic conversations in my Flipped Classroom (Feb 21, 2012)


I don't believe a "flipped classroom" should become something where students receive direct instruction at home and then work on worksheets in class.  Class time must be made meaningful and purposeful, where students have the opportunity to (1) make meaning of the material and make connections to other content in an environment with the support of the teacher and other classmates, (2) understand the concepts at a deeper level through practice, answering and posing questions, or explaining problems/solutions to others, and (3)  receive one-on-one support and explanation from the teacher or other student "experts" when needed.  Using the WSQ has enabled me to provide this type of environment for my students in my Flipped Class in a way that is somewhat structured and holds students accountable for their work and learning.


Ways to "WSQ" in class:

*It is important to me that the following things happen in my Flipped Classroom every day:
  1. Students come prepared with the video watched and WSQ completed.  If not, they must use a classroom computer to do it at the beginning of class.
  2. Students are given opportunities to discuss their summaries and the key points of the lesson, practicing expressing math content in their own words and using math vocabulary in context.
  3. Students are given opportunities to ask questions about the lesson and get them answered in detail during class.
  4. Students are given opportunities to think critically about the lesson and pose questions to their classmates that will require deep thinking and making connections to other material.
  5. Students are given opportunities to practice working out problems with the support of their classmates and myself to guide them when questions or problems arise.
  6. Students are given opportunities to prove their mastery of concepts via concept quizzes that are taken when they feel they are ready.
The following is a list of ways to make sure #2,3,4 on the list above happen.  It is nice (and necessary) to provide variety for the students so the task of WSQing does not become monotonous.
 1. Whole Class

  •  Pick a WSQ to put on the screen.  Read it as a class, discuss it as a class.  Ask questions about it and have students turn to their groups to answer, and then share out as a class.  "Score" it as a class.  Have students look at their own WSQs and give it a score as well.  Answer the question on the WSQ as a whole class (again, have small groups discuss it and then share out)
  • Have all students get out their WSQs and SSS packets.  Together as a class, construct a summary of key points from the lesson, with each student giving one sentence or key point at a time.  Have a student up front writing the sentences either on the document camera or on the laptop for everyone to follow along.  At the end,  students add anything to their WSQ that is important and left out.  Students can ask their question to the whole class if they want to volunteer; otherwise students turn and ask their questions to their groups.
2. Small Group
  •  Choose one, two, three, or all four students to read their summaries out loud with group members looking on.   Group members stop the reader, question the reader, and add to what the reader is saying as they read through their summary.  Then, reader goes over their question and the group discusses it before an answer is written down.
  • Choose one student from each group to use as the base for a "perfect" summary.  The group members all look on to the one summary and break it down and tear it apart.  They cross things off, add sentences, clarify sentences, etc to make it a truly "perfect" summary of the lesson.  They are encouraged to look for places to include specific math vocabulary words in context.  Once the summary is perfect, group members look at all four questions and do the same thing - make the questions better by phrasing them more clearly, having math vocabulary in the question, and then making sure the answers are complete, detailed, and include proper explanations and vocabulary. After groups are given time to discuss, I come around and have an interview/interrogation with each group about the lesson, prompted and guided by the math vocabulary words they have written in their summaries.  See my post on the first time I did "Perfect Summary" in Math Analysis here.
  • Instead of working in their groups of 4, have students switch summaries with their partners. Partners will individually read the summary and decide "if I didn't watch the video lesson last night, would this summary help me in starting the practice problems today?"   If the answer is no, the partner writes down anything that needs to be added or clarified to make the answer be "yes" and then explains to their partner what was missing.
  • Students work in their small groups and go straight to their questions.  They answer the questions together with the help of their summaries, and then choose which question is "Their Best Question" to pose to the class.  This may be the question they feel is the "HOTtest", the toughest to answer, or one that they couldn't even answer themselves.  Questions are put on the board (put on sticky notes on the whiteboard, written down to project from the DocCam or Laptop, etc).  At some point in the period we discuss the questions - either as a whole class, or I assign each group to a different question to answer from the one they put on the board.
3. Individual
  • Students read thru their summary individually and critique it.  They look for ways to revise it and make it better.  This would best be done near the end of a period after they have had a chance to discuss the concept and probably would have more to add to their original summary.
  • Students read through their WSQ with me.  I provide the guidance, questioning, probing, and follow-up explanations that are needed to improve their summary and answer their question.
 *In any of these "methods", the questions can also be answered in a variety of ways.  The students themselves can write down the answers to their own questions once they find the answers, or the students can trade notebooks and "quiz" each other by making their groupmates write the answer to the question they posed.

Guidelines for questions:
1. Answers must  be written down.
2. Questions cannot have just a yes or no answer.  If so, the student must come up with a follow up question or an explanation beyond the yes/no.
3. Students are encouraged to make connections when answering their question and be detailed and descriptive.
4. Students should be able to discuss all questions posed in the group in detail, using correct math vocabulary and explaining the material clearly and concisely.

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