Monday, April 30, 2012

#flipclass chat - a ton of thoughts

Excuse the craziness of this post.  I just needed to get my thoughts out before heading to bed and I will hopefully make sense of them later.  These are just some things that I want to think more about after the #flipclass chat tonight.

And, I have about 20 tabs open on my browser and I want to close them :)

I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback on my ramblings based on your experiences!

1. To look at more deeply - based on Inquiry Learning
Still a little stuck on the inquiry learning in a math class (vs. science, where I think it is easier), but I would like to do a little more "why does this matter" and "where would I see this" sort of stuff to help with student engagement.

2. To look at more deeply - Standards-Based Grading
3. To continue to look for - ways to "flip" without necessarily using video. Using articles, pictures, ??? what else in math?  How can I encourage students to make their own meaning of the content and to find their own ways to learn it/master it... with my videos just being ONE tool instead of THE tool?

4.  Student self-pacing. How much do I want it? Now that I will have the videos all made, students can work ahead as far as they want.  How will this affect the "5 minute WSQ" discussions and questioning that I do every day in class when everyone is on the same page?  Do I want to have a place where everyone has to be for that day's discussion, but they can be working ahead (or behind???) for the application/practice part of the day?

Do I want to have "testing" days in class, or do I want students to take the unit tests when they are ready?  What would this require of me in terms of coming up with different versions of the test?  Grading time?  Making all those answer keys?  Student cheating?

Right now I have students self-pacing the mini-quizzes, and some are doing great while others are sucking... they can't manage their time without me telling them exactly what to do and when, so they just don't take the quizzes at all.  It's too much freedom for them.  How do I balance between the kids that can handle the freedom of self-pacing and those that can't?  I need some sort of organization/system to help with this.

Also, I would need them to meet certain checkpoints before they could move on.  Maybe that's what the quizzes could be?  You can't move on until you master this quizzes/set of mini-quizzes.  Then, that would lead towards mastering the unit test...

If I did set up "checkpoints" along the way in a self-paced class... what would those checkpoints look like and what would I do if students DIDN'T meet the checkpoints.  Right now, since they have their weekly "deadlines" with the WSQ charts, they have to finish the assignments.  That may mean that some of the students "finish" the assignments but don't really get much out of it because it was rushed to get done and avoid the "homework cards" we give at our school. 

5. Learning "Activities" in class. My students are mostly working on practice problem sets - that is their "assignment" and that is all they do, even when offered other activities - different matching games, card sort games, making vids on iPads, etc.  They would rather just do the work and get it done than do something "fun" with it.  I saw an example tonight (link) about a 5th grade math teacher who does a "tic-tac-toe" board of different assignments and the kids have to pick three to do.  I kind of like that idea in the fact that I could provide a few different ways for the students to practice/master the concepts and they could have more choice in the matter.  Lots more planning on my part, though...

With this - how would I monitor student completion of assignments (especially with the homework policies at our school)... would the assignment itself be "complete 2 of the following 5 tasks", or what?  And would I set deadlines to those tasks, or just to watching the videos on time?  With the management my "WSQ chart" helps provide (I finally feel SANE and like I'm not always overwhelmed with assignment checking/completion), how would this change/transition if I went towards that path?

6. Technology.  There is so much out there. I need to remember to not get overwhelmed by all the tech and just choose what is going to suit my needs.  I am currently still fighting with myself over continuing with Edmodo, a class blog, where/how to host videos, using GoogleSites/Docs/Apps for everything... I just need to decide and figure out how to give students a "one-stop shop" for everything they need.

New tools will always come up and I can "pilot" them to see how they go and if they flow.

Great quotes about flipping:
  Point is to shift some cognitive load off of class to free up time for discussion/help/lab 


  1. Great post! I always enjoy your thoughts. I go back and forth on the "one-stop shop". On one hand, it's convenient and helpful. On the other, t
    I think there is something authentic about making students search out information. Just more food for thought. :-)

    1. Thanks for reading, especially these crazy ramblings! :) I have gone back and forth all semester with the "one-stop shop" thing. I agree with you about there being something good about having students search out information. Sometimes I think they expect us to just hand everything to them on a silver platter, and don't want to have to work for anything.
      I've got until August to figure this out, so we'll see where the next few months take me! :)

  2. I am with you in how you are wanting to manage the class. I am hopeful tht if I allow my students to work at thieir pace with checkpoints, it will encourage and allow for more individualized education. I like the thoughts on changing up the presentation model from that of just videos. I am concerned that that this is how flipping is being presented. I would encourage you to keep edmodo as it serves a function of communication, quizzing, and an additional PLN, plus the ability to give badges for meeting goals. Just my thoughts.
    Jim Rowley

    1. Hi Jim,
      Thanks for reading/commenting!
      I don't think I will ever completely do away with edmodo. The value of the PLN I've found there, as well as such an easy way to send text messages/emails (via alerts) to students and parents is well worth it. I'm just thinking of doing most of my uploading and organization of content somewhere else. I'm not too happy with the library organization right now.


  3. Since you're already looking at GVSU, have you seen Robert Talbert's blog on CHE? Here's a post on "making math fun":

    Some good discussion in the article and comments on inquiry-based learning, among other things.

    1. Thanks for the link! I have it open in my "to-read" list for later this week :)

  4. I allowed students to work self-paced for our last unit. As to be expected some students thrived and some just couldn't handle that much freedom. I had given out a calendar of "checkpoints" with suggested dates, my one change this unit is that those dates are no longer suggested but required. Students may work ahead but may not fall behind. In terms of the different tests, I will admit it is a huge pain in terms of creating them, but I find grading them as they come in far less daunting than grading 90 at once. I guess its a trade off. This term I am offering online options of the tests and almost all the students have chosen that option- because they are essay and open response questions cheating isn't really a factor, but I don't think that would work with math.

    One of my goals for this summer is to post all of my "hand-outs" and such on my blog, once I get my checklist up I can send you a link, it’s worked for my class but may not work for yours.

    Thanks for posting your thoughts, your stream of conscience posts help me to think through my own brain ramblings!

    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      Thanks for your comment and sorry for my delayed response - for some reason your comment got marked as spam and I just found it! :(

      I like your idea that students can "work ahead but not fall behind". I think that is needed for a lot of my students as they are not the best at fully self-monitoring. I think I will start of next year very strict with those deadlines and as students show me they can be responsible for keeping up, I might loosen a little.

      I am trying to figure out a few ways to do the multi-day test option, and with our math test generators (just change the numbers but keep the problem difficulty), that may be possible. It would definitely save me time (I hope!) in grading C,D, and F tests. It's a lot easier to grade math tests where the work is right than trying to figure out where they went wrong :)

      I'd love to see your blog for your class when you get it up - be sure to send me the link :)

      Have a great day!

  5. I liked this post, Crystal, probably because my brain rambles similarly on like it was colorful! I can especially relate to your thoughts on some shared moments in class. Self-pacing is great, but I think it's necessary to slow it to a) have shared experience and b) allow for deep exploration and application. It's true that motivated students would often prefer to do the work rather than apply the concepts, as you pointed out, but that is one example that speaks to the still very valuable role of the teacher. Thanks for the thoughts!

    1. Hi Tiffany,
      Thanks for the comment and for reading! I agree with everything you wrote. The shared experience, exploration, and application happen best (I think) in groups where several minds can work together. If it's not somewhat structured, I feel like a lot of our students would be lost in reaching that level we are looking for. They would be easily satisfied with learning the rote skills and not understanding the meaning.


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