Saturday, March 17, 2012

Reflections on Week 7 (more new ideas!)
Week 7 of the Spring Semester is now over.  I implemented several new ideas this week that I am really liking, and have thought of several more to implement next week.  

Whenever I think of a new idea, my thought process follows this pattern: "Will this change help my students to learn more/better/deeper?" "Will this change transfer more responsibility of learning to the students?" "Will this change help to motivate my students to keep working towards mastery?"

All Reflections from This Year can be Found Here. 

*Each week, I spend some time personally reflecting on the week - what I did, what worked, what didn't, what I liked, what I didn't, etc.  I try to organize my reflections in a similar manner each week, since they do get pretty long: (1) Math Analysis; (2) Algebra; (3) Sharing and Collaboration; (4) Other Thoughts; (5) Running lists (Things I've heard this week that I love; Characteristics and qualities of my flipped classroom that I want to keep; Changes I've made this week that I like; Ideas I'm still contemplating and experimenting with).  I hope these reflections give you insight into my classroom and give you some ideas to try in your own flipped classroom.  I appreciate any comments, feedback, ideas, and follow-ups that you provide, so please comment and join in on the conversation! 

Math Analysis
This segment includes: 
(1) Daily Goals with Weekly Deadlines
(2) "5 Minute WSQ"
(3) Student Created Videos
(4) Student Concerns on the "harder" lessons

This week I started a new way to "check" the student WSQ charts.  For those of you who are new to reading, the WSQ chart is how I keep track of student homework, including (1) Watching the video, (2) Writing the summary/guided summary, (3) Asking/Answering a question, and (4) Completing the assignment or showing mastery on the quiz for that concept.  Before I started it, I asked my students what they thought about trying it out.  That post is here.

All semester thus far, students have received a homework consequence if they had done too many assignments marked as "late" or "not at all".  "Late" and "not at all" received the same consequence at the end of the week, although "late" did receive 1/2 credit and "not at all" received 0 points. (they would get a RED signature for late instead of a BLUE signature for on time).  What I noticed is that if a student missed an assignment, instead of completing it to get the RED signature, they would just skip it and finish something else on time since they already would receive the consequence for the first assignment being late.

This week, (for Math Analysis only), the students have new goals: complete EVERY assignment within the week.  So we went from Daily Deadlines to Daily Goals with Weekly Deadlines.  What I am seeing already is a much better completion of the assignments as a whole because it doesn't matter so much when they complete it as long as they get it done by the end of the week.  There is still a consequence if they don't stay on target all week (meaning everything/majority being signed in RED), but that really shouldn't be an issue.

STUDENT COMMENT after week 1:
The change in the WSQ chart and how they are graded i think has made everyone work a little bit harder to get their homework complete. it only gives them one chance this time, and with the other way i feel some "distributed" the missing homework. 

I also started something new that I call "5 minute WSQ".  We used to "WSQ" in class in groups, but there wasn't a way to monitor them except me walking around and listening, helping, etc.  I want these "WSQ" times to be helpful but also FOCUSED.  My students can get off track very easily.

So, here's what I did:
1. Set for 5 minutes on the projector screen.
2. Make sure all students are ready with their notebooks (where summary/question is written), SSS (where video notes are taken), and WSQ charts are out.
3. Start the timer.  They start talking, I start walking and listening.  I join in as needed, I probe and listen in.
4. If I notice any groups "off task" or not focused. The timer resets to 5 minutes. I only had to do this once all week in Math Analysis because they did pretty well.  Their challenge is to stay focused and engaged (leaning in, involved in conversation, etc) for the WHOLE five minutes.

I was VERY happy with what I saw.  Students were all involved, leaning in, talking, pointing, asking questions, clarifying, discussing - everything that I am looking for!  When the timer went off, students could continue the conversation or move on to the next activity if they were finished discussing.

Things that I think the "5 Minute WSQ" will help build:
1. Students feeling more comfortable talking about math
2. Students feeling more comfortable sharing with their groups
3. Students learning what it feels like to stay engaged and focused for a (relatively) long period of time.

All three of these skills are very important in my flipped class and hopefully they will translate to the post-"5 minute WSQ" class time when they are working on other activities.

Student: I like the 5 minute WSQ conversations because my group can help me understand a concept better than you might have in the video, because they might have had that confusion as well. i also feel its easier to understand something coming from someone who is your own age because they have a way of describing things that make sense to you. 
Me: Has having the "5 minutes" on the board helped your group to focus their conversation more than in the past?
Student: Yes it has, because i can see the time that is left, unlike the past, when groups would not take it seriously because there was no "guidance", i guess you could say. Now the timer is on the board and it shows for how long you have to discuss. 

Next Week starts Student-Created Videos!!!  When I first mentioned it, here are some comments I heard:

Conversation 1 on Edmodo:
Student: I personally do not like the idea, i feel that it is awkward and a little odd. I think we should just stick to doing our WPP's. For me it is the same thing. 
Me: I'm not sure I've explained the videos enough to you guys. They will be done in class in replacement of taking quizzes for the next 3 units because we don't take quizzes on trigonometric identity proofs (doesn't go well together). They will be done in partners and you will be able to use a variety of media and tools to make them, so you can make them in a way that is comfortable for you. I'm excited to see how they turn out; I think once I explain it better you guys will agree.
What exactly do you feel is awkward and odd about it?
They are not on Word Problems, so you could not do WPP's for them.
Student: Ohhhh! I thought we were going to set up a camera at home and work out problems, just like how you do when we watch our videos for homework. I wasn't clear with having help from our group members, that sounds like fun now, learning in a different way :) 

Conversation 2 on Edmodo:
Student: Making our own videos sound fun! I don't feel all that comfortable having my camera with me at school every day, but once in a while sounds exciting. Will the videos be about our WSQs? 
Me: We won't be doing quizzes for our trigonometric identity units (Q,R,S) because the quizzes don't lend themselves well to that content. So, you and your partner(s) will be creating short 2-3 minute videos explaining and working out the problems from those units.
Student: Ohh, sounds fun :D Thank you Mrs. Kirch!
Me: I'm excited; I hope it goes well. All the filming should be in class time (in replacement of quiz time), so hopefully others will enjoy as well :)   

Here are the sample videos from the first few kids who were able to try them on Friday.

Week 7 Concerns for Math Analysis: 
I still have had a few complaints from students wishing that the "harder" lessons were taught in class in the traditional manner (lecture in class, practice on own at home).  It is not a majority (just 3-4 kids total). Personally, I just don't see how going back to that would be beneficial. The students with whom I have discussed this with feel that way because they want to be able to ask questions immediately regarding the content.   They are also the same students who have NEVER utilized Edmodo or the comment system on YouTube to ask questions in the evenings.  I think the harder lessons are BEST taught using the Flipped Classroom.  That way, they can at least be "pre-taught" and come to class with specific questions.  We can get those questions answered and they can try the hard practice problems in class with my support, rather than the reverse.  Thinking of this chapter in particular (Unit Q - Trigonometric Identities) If I were to teach it in class, we would probably get through 3-4 examples in class with the speed of having to stop and answer different questions from different students.  They would have no time to practice in class and then would have to go home and try to work out 5-8 of them on their own.  Currently, (for the first day), they got the introductory explanation + 6 examples on video (and the opportunity for extra videos that included 10 more examples I believe - they can go back and watch those extra videos at any point as needed).  Then, they came to class and we discussed questions and misconceptions and they were assigned to complete at least 6 in class, if not all 14 on the assignment. I just feel the Flipped setup is so much more beneficial.  

If you are a math teacher:
What is your opinion on teaching the "harder" lessons traditionally?
How would you respond to those student concerns?

Algebra 1
This segment includes:
(1) CP class frustrations
(2) Changing seating arrangements
(3) "2 minute WSQ"
(4) Student Created Videos
(5) Teaching students HOW to watch a video 

I had some pretty big struggles this week with using the Flipped Classroom in my CP Algebra 1 class.  If you haven't read that post, please check it out here and join in the conversation. To update further from this post on Monday, I really feel like I have tried to find some solutions this week.  The seating change I'll discuss below is one solution I think that will help to alleviate some of the problems.

I made some changes to our seating arrangement in class this week.  I found myself (and many students) getting frustrated with those students who consistently came unprepared for class.  So, I separated the students into  “Prepared” and “Not Prepared”.  The first day, I made the decisions based on how the last few weeks have gone.  Students have the opportunity to move from one side to the other in both directions.  The students on the “Prepared” side are in partners/groups and can move anywhere they want to work with whomever they choose throughout the period.  The students on the “Not Prepared” side are in rows.  While I don’t think this is the absolutely ideal set-up, something had to be done to separate the students who are coming prepared for class and those who aren’t.  The students on the “Prepared” side have been very productive this week.  They have been having great conversations and asking good questions and helping each other.  If one of them comes up to me with a question, I have just been pointing them back to one of their peers who I helped with the same question earlier.  Several of the students on the “Not Prepared” side really want to move sides.   They are jealous of what is going on over there and want to join in.  They have the opportunity to move over, but they have to show up to class prepared, work in class and stay focused, and basically show me that they are capable of staying on task without having to be constantly monitored. 

Student comments on the seating change:
"Not Prepared" side - The seating change has affected me because it made me realize that I should be on task all the time and get my work done when it is assigned. Looking over on the other side of the class makes me want to be over there so bad with all the other students. I feel that where i am now, i focus more but i want the ability to sit where ever i want. 

"Prepared" side - I like the seating chart! It's a great way to interact with people who actually do their work. For the people who do not do their work, they can see that we have the privilege to move around and be seated with the people that we want to. They will see that if they do the work that they are supposed to, they will get moved over and be on the side that is responsible.

Similarly to the Math Analysis "5 Minute WSQ", I started the "2 minute WSQ" with my Algebra 1 classes.  See that post here.
Student 1: The 2 minute WSQ from today helped me learn how other people do their homework. It enabled me to talk and discuss different ideas with other people.
Student 2: The 2 minute wsq allowed me to only talk about math. I like that idea because I can talk about the concept that we did and ask questions. If someone from another wasn't talking about it, we had to start the 2 minute wsq again until everyone was talking about it. I was able to work out problems that i didn't get. Also, I can ask my classmates for help and they would explain
My students started creating their own videos today!  I had them use the iPad app EduCreations (it’s the simplest one I’ve found that doesn’t require much teaching).  While students were very apprehensive at first, a few of them jumped at the opportunity and I think their excitement will transfer to the other students.  I’ve posted the sample videos from Algebra 1 today here.  I will be posting the videos for all students to view and use on Edmodo.

Initial student comments (before we tried it on Friday in class)
Student 1: I don't really know how I feel about making videos. I would rather like to get ahead and take quizzes, do my classwork, or watch that night's video. It is a good idea, but my opinion wold rather be to use our time wisely by doing our regular tasks. 
Student 2: I'm scared an excited at the same time. Making your own videos and showing to the class is a great way to help you with your speaking and your math! We get the chance to explain the problem to others. They can go on youtube and watch that problem that they needed help on. Also, we get the chance to use the ipad!!(:
As I’ve mentioned before, I really think that students need to be taught HOW to watch a video.  I was working with one of my students after school on Tuesday and he had just finished re-watching a video and wanted to retake a quiz on that concept.  After he was done watching the video, he came to take the quiz and couldn’t solve any of the problems on his own.  It was another reminder that students are so used to just being “fed” information, and if they don’t make the intentional effort to process and challenge themselves to try it themselves, they won’t make very much progress.  So, I went back to the computer and sat down with this student with the purpose of teaching him HOW to watch a video.  We went to the beginning of an example I was working out.  I asked him if he knew what the first step was, and he did.  So, I told him to try the problem as far as he could.  When he got stuck, we pushed “play” and watched the correct steps worked out on video to verify he had done it correctly.  Then, we watched ONE MORE STEP past where he got stuck to help him along and I had him pause it again and continue.  He was able to finish the problem completely from there on his own, so we pushed play and fast-forwarded to the end of the problem to make sure he was correct.  We did that process through two more problems and then chatted.  I think it was a lightbulb moment for him.  HE was the one doing the math, and the video was used as a support and guide. 

Sharing and Collaboration

My Professional Learning Network (PLN) has grown immensely as I have put myself out there and shared my thoughts, ideas, reflections, and practices with others.  I have found the last two months incredibly valuable to me personally and professionally.  Who knew that  social media (blogging, Twitter, and Edmodo in particular) could provide such amazing Professional Development.  Here is my post from earlier in the week.

I am still working on getting all the data collected from my Flipping Teachers Survey... It's been a crazy week (or two, or three) and haven't had time to look through it all and decide how I am going to share it all. I am going to spend time looking at it and sharing during my Spring Break the first week of you have until then :)

If you haven't checked out my Blogroll on the right hand side of other flipping teachers, do so! It is only through sharing and community that we learn and grow!  Also, be sure to use #flipclass on twitter to join in the conversation.  If you are a "flipper" and  a "blogger" and don't see your blog on the right, please let me know. I would love to follow you and read up on your experiences!

Every Monday there is a #flipclass chat on Twitter (8pm EST).  Check it out and join in.  Connect with @bennettscience to find out more.

Other Thoughts

I was reading a book about John Wooden (written by one of his former players) called "You haven't taught until they have learned".  I came across a quote that really stuck out me about the flipped classroom and the purpose behind every "method" we use as educators.  If you haven't checked out that post, you can find it here.

I have had three different teachers (2 math, 1 science) talk to me this week about wanting to start flipping their classes next year.   Can't wait to continue to share and see this grow!

1. Students MUST ALWAYS have a written answer to the question part of their WSQ.  This can be written by them individually or answered with the help of a group member or myself.  The questions must require more than just a Yes or No answer.   This ensures that their question does get answered, and it forces students to practice using academic language in writing.  Answers to questions must show deep thought and connections as much as possible.

2. Every so often, just pick a place in the classroom next to a group and sit on my stool for a while, helping if needed, but listening in and guiding the group along. This includes sitting down to work with them if they have problems, but also sitting down and just questioning them, probing them, and getting them to think, speak, and make connections.  It's awesome the conversations you can have in a flipped class if you really pursue them and try to stretch your students' minds past the procedural.

3. In the videos, always have at least an example or two that students need to work out on their own.  Two ways to do this - #1 - in the middle of the video, tell them to pause it and try it on their own.  Then they can follow along with me once they get stuck, and then pause me again and try from there. #2 - at the end of the video, assign 1-2 problems for the students to complete on their own before class.  Work out these problems in a "part 2" of the video for students to reference if they still get stuck. 

4. Every so often, make the classwork due at the end of class to keep students on their toes and to keep them on task during class.

5. Students can receive a "Waiver" for assignments once they have shown mastery on a quiz- They are just going to be waived from the practice quizzes, but they still need to watch future videos.  There is information presented in the videos that they need to hear, even if they don't need to do all the extra practice.

6. After the initial group WSQing, students can work with whoever they want (unless problems arise), or they can choose to work by themselves.  The ultimate goal is that the students are learning, making connections, and making sense of the content. 

7.  The "Summary" part of the WSQ can be several different things - a real, student-developed summary; a written summary response to questions I've posed (guided summary), etc.

1.  Daily Goals with Weekly Deadlines for Math Analysis (see Math Analysis section above)
2.  5 minute WSQ (see Math Analysis section above) and 2 minute WSQ (see Alg 1 section above)

IDEAS I'M STILL CONTEMPLATING & EXPERIMENTING WITH (running list each week with updates):

1. Coming up with a list of "key questions" myself for each concept to have handy to ask students, to have students discuss in groups, and to show students what "good, HOT questions" look like and sound like (modeling)... This will be tied in with the "Guided Summary" I will be starting to try out.  I think this is going to be put off in its entirety until this summer.

2. Begin coming up with activities students can do to apply their knowledge or practice their knowledge in different ways once they get the basics.  Again, this is something I think may just start to happen over the summer or next year since right now it's just crazy.

Thoughts, comments, ideas, your own experiences? Please share!!!

All Reflections from This Year can be Found Here. 

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