Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Back to the Flip

After my one day off, it was so nice to get back to the "flipped classroom". Seriously.

I actually got to talk with all my kids today - every single one. 

I was able to have discussions about important concepts with my students and have them doing the talking and thinking.  

And, most importantly, all of these discussions happened with individuals or small groups where everyone was involved, engaged, and held accountable for their participation.

Here are couple reflections from the day:
Algebra 1
I tried something a little new today with the "3 minute WSQ" I have my kids doing.  I set the timer on the screen, but turned OFF the sound.  What I noticed was happening is the kids would be having these great conversations, but as soon as they heard the timer go off, they would stop completely and think they were "done".  So, I still put the timer up to make sure they talked for at least 3 minutes, but since they didn't hear the buzzer they didn't really pay attention to how long they had spent until they were done with their conversation.

I've been giving my Algebra 1 kids "guided summary questions" to answer from the video the last week or so.  They discussed those as well as their own questions in their groups during the "3 minute WSQ".  Then, I started "making my rounds". I sat with small groups of 3-7 students (since most of them are not necessarily in their desks anymore! I have chairs pulled up here,  stools pulled up there, etc) and had them first recite our "chant" for the chapter in their small group.  Then, I asked each group ONE of the four "guided summary" questions from the video and had them talk about it to me (a little more accountability here!).  Oddly enough, with many groups, just asking them one question turned into them answering all four questions because they all went together.  Lastly, I asked one of the group members to share their personal question and have the group answer it in front of me.  I really like the accountability this model set up for my students.  It also helped to set up some good conversations and get them thinking a little more about the math.

Math Analysis
One of the true "beauties" of doing the "online WSQ" (see Form here, Results here) is that I already have feedback before my students came to class.  They  had 4 "secret questions" answer and submit online last night after they watched the video.  So, I knew EXACTLY what I need to cover at the beginning of class.  Both classes pretty much sucked on 2 of the 4 questions (only 5 of 72 students got one right, about 10-12 of 72 got the other right), so I was able to do whole-class instruction on those two problems before letting them get started in their groups on the problems. 

I am continuing to have my students make their own videos (will continue to post as they get uploaded), but this chapter I am making them not only create videos, but create the problems that they teach in those videos!  This means they have to think a little more critically about what makes a good problem and what values will make the problem work out vs. getting crazy and not being able to solve it.  Should be interesting, but I'm excited!

On a side note, we are starting to prep for state exams with after school workshops.  For Day 1, I had 22 Algebra 1 students in after school reviewing some material.  This moment made me smile and makes me think that my students are learning some skills in the flipped classroom that they didn't have before:

Student 1: (looking at a long word problem) "Mrs. Kirch, I don't get it"
before I am even able to come over to her, her partner jumps in
Student 2: "Come on, you have even read the problem yet! Let's look at it together!"

It is that sort of collaboration and willingness to help each other and to try something that even looks "hard" at first that I don't think my students really had before I started "flipping".  They are just so used to working together, collaborating, and asking questions that now it is becoming second nature.

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