Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Flipping over my flipped class this week :)

I can't get over the fact this week that even after ONE DAY of "traditional", I have loved my flipped class so much more.

I mentioned on Monday that I really do enjoy being up front lecturing.  I'm good at it.  I feel "in control". I also mentioned that just because I like it doesn't mean it's best for my kids.

Yesterday I noticed such a huge difference in my interactions with the kids.  I truly was able to talk with every kid every day.  There was no "hiding in the corner", I spoke with all of them and asked them questions.

Today was just as good, if not better.

For our "WSQ" time today, I decided to have the timer count UP instead of DOWN.  The most awesome thing is that NO STUDENT all day realized when the timer hit 3 minutes (Alg1) or 5 minutes (Math Analysis).  They were still talking about the math!  I had to almost call their attention to the fact that they had been going for 6 or 10 minutes and should probably start trying some of the problems and move past the discussion.  This was awesome!

In Algebra 1, I continued the group "interviews" with this "warning/suggestion" at the beginning of class:
1. Mrs. Kirch cannot be everywhere at once.
2. If you need help, you can raise your hand.  But Mrs. Kirch may be busy with another group.  Did you ask your group members first?
3. If you need help and Mrs. Kirch is not available, and your group members don't know, then GET UP out of your seat and go ask someone else in the class.  No excuse to just sit there and wait around for me to come to you.  Go take charge and find an answer!

One thing I love about the "group interviews" is it basically "schedules" time with me to talk with every kid.  I ask them questions and everyone has to participate - it's much easier to get 2-6 kids to participate than it is 40!  Sometimes I will ask a question and one student will answer, and then I will ask the same question to the next group member for them to explain in their own words.  Sometimes I will have the group "round table" and they each have to add to the previous answer.  Regardless, it is so much easier to do in small groups and I feel like the kids feel successful!!  So important!

I have seen improvement with this and in the group collaboration.  I love seeing 6-8 kids gathered around a set of desks all working together - sometimes still in pairs, but sometimes the whole group will be "arguing" over a problem.  I love when I overhear "math fights" about what is right and what is wrong.  I love it when I see some of my struggling students actually getting up and asking for help, and their classmates being more than willing to help!

In Math Analysis, my students are starting to make a new chapter's worth of student-created videos I can't tell you how great/cool/amazing/informative it is to hear them explain problems in their own words and to use math vocabulary in the right context.  We don't always get that, even when we walk around and ask them to explain it live.  They sound so confident and I am literally impressed every time I watch the 1-2 minute video clips they make!

I can't emphasize enough how much more beneficial I think a class period is 
1) when students get to ask questions on what they need help with, 
2) when students get to work with other students to talk through and "fight" over problems in some instances, and 
3) when students get to work through misconceptions and strengthen their skills with the full support of their classmates and me.  

With that said,
As much as I enjoyed Monday, "teaching from the past" - I can't ever go back to traditional.

If you have never tried a flipped lesson or a flipped unit, try it. It won't be perfect (just read my blog!  I am in month 4 and still figuring out new things every week/every day!).  But it is so worth it.

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