Friday, April 13, 2012

Reflections on Week 10 (great stuff leading into Crazy-ville!)

We have survived week 10 of the Spring Semester- and it is now time for "crazy-ville" to start!  Let me describe:
-2 weeks of prepping/finishing content for state testing
-2 weeks of actually taking state tests
-2 weeks of AP testing
-2 weeks to finish up the year with crazy senior/end of year activities mixed in 
-1 week for final exams

I have a feeling the next two months are going to fly by.  I've only got 3 units in Math Analysis left and 2 in Algebra 1.  Every year seems to go by so much faster!

I feel like I have learned so much about how to "run" an effective flipped classroom in the last three months and am excited to see how the last two months go so I can best prepare to start flipping from the beginning of the school year.

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! 

For those of you who read my weekly reflections consistently, you will notice a change this week compared to the past.  These posts will be shorter with links to more detailed external posts on specific topics.  I was finding (for myself) that it was hard for me to go back and find a previous post on a specific topic because it was hidden among a huge weekly reflection.  So, hopefully this will alleviate that problem.

Other posts from this week:
1. Great student quote from Math Analysis on Monday (post here)
2. My Adventures with NOT flipping for a day (Monday), and then the two days of going back to the flipped class (Tuesday and Wednesday)

Math Analysis

Stuff that I've been doing that I continued...

  • Giving more "short" videos rather than one "long" video.  I like that it breaks the video into smaller chunks and gives the students definitive times to stop and think before clicking on the next video.
    • I think this is a better idea because I can look at one video which explains one problem and when im done with that video and understood how to solve it then i can solve the other problems in the sss before watching the other 2 videos. once im done I'm able to compare my answers with yours.
    • Um I am not really sure... I like having it all in one video because its a hassle to be clicking video after video but, when they are in separate videos I get a little break in between. So I guess either way is fine.
    • I think this doesn't really change anything besides clicking pause or clicking the next video. I'm fine with either.
    • Right now I like this method because I learned to open all the videos to let them load before I begin. This way I'm not waiting on just one video before I can start my math homework. Also, it's a lot easier to navigate with MentorMob and it's easier to find a piece of information if I need to refer back to the videos.

  • Having students continue to make their own videos for Unit S.  I am using this as an "assessment" rather than having them take a quiz on the concept. I like that they have to work in partners and they have to explain step by step.  I also like that they are learning to use and manipulate technology (oddly enough, I do still have students who don't really know how to work with technology - how to upload a video, attach a file, etc!)
    • See all student-created videos (updated as they do more!) here.

New stuff I played with this week...

  • Online WSQ with some handwritten parts.  Students still submitted it online after watching via a MentorMob playlist, but they had to bring in hard copies of certain questions so they could participate in the discussion in class.  Student have access to all of the submitted answers on a spreadsheet as soon as they finish the survey, so they can see their answers compared to their classmates (it's not editable) and check if they got the "Secret Questions" correct.  My students said:
    • I thought seeing other people's answers and comparing to mines shows me what i understood about the concept and what i didn't.
    • I love having the excel sheet with our online WSQ especially because I can get feedback from you right away. For example, if I have a hot question which won't let me sleep all night, I could have an answer from you right away so I don't come to class discouraged. It's nice knowing I can get reliable answers to my questions right away.
    • The BEST part was when we had the whole document at our fingertips when we submitted(: It was Awesome!
    • I really did like being able to see the document after we submitted the answers to the online wsq. And having the half written part gave me something to talk about with my group.
Reflections on Week overall:
I thought this week was really good.  I liked having the students submit the WSQ online because I knew before class started what they would need some help with and if I needed to do a small group lesson or even a whole class lesson to discuss a misconception.  This gave me time to prepare as needed.  I also liked having them handwrite some portions of the WSQ because then they could discuss their answers in groups.  I still am going back and forth on how to make this the best - I don't think the way I have it set up right now is the most ideal, but I will keep tweaking it.

I really am liking seeing the students collaborate and work with their classmates to discuss the math.  I feel like that is improving every week as they are getting more comfortable working with each other.  I have several students in my mind right now who I am thinking of that I have seen improvement in collaboration in the last few days.

Algebra 1

I feel like this was a monumental week in my flipped class for my Algebra 1 kiddos.  The "group interviews" I tried out on Tuesday and Wednesday were really great.  I can see them taking more responsibility for themselves and working with each other better.

One of the biggest things I tried to emphasize to my students this week was
(1) Think about it yourself, look at your notes, etc
(2) Ask your partner
(3) Ask someone else in the class
(4) Ask me

Some of them were not very happy with that.  I got some "rolled eyes" and some sighs of frustration when I told them to ask someone else first.  It's much easier for me to just give them the answer.  However, I think it is good for them and they will get better at it as they get used to it.

Here are some student quotes from the week:

  • This week is going great! The best part of the flipped class is when we were asked questions by the teacher. It shows that we have answers for the questions and know how to respond. I didn't like learning the concept at school. It took a lot of time.
  • This week went okay for me, because I did not understand the concepts as much as I thought I would. Some parts are difficult for me but working with groups helps me alot if i need help. The best part of flipped classrom was working with everyone around me.
  • I liked it because we get to work with the teacher and ask questions. It's a good thing because sometimes, people just write random things for the answer just to get their wsq signed off.
  • I liked it because that way it's easier for us to remember the chants and songs easier and it will stay in our head for us to remember it.

My Algebra 1 students had the non-flipped lesson on Monday as well.  Here are their thoughts:

  • Well it was fun to learn a lesson in class again after a long time but I like the videos better because i learn at my own speed
  • I didn't like the non flipped classroom because I wasn't used to going back to the old method.  It took a lot of time just to learn the lesson. At home, it takes less than 20 minutes. At school, it took about the whole period just to learn one concept.
  • On Monday, class was a lot different from what we usually do.  I did not like Non flipped classroom because it's hard for me to pay attention in class and I love watching videos on my own time.  

Lastly, I started giving my Algebra 1 students "Guided Questions" to answer for their summary rather than just telling them to "write a summary".  I was getting a little frustrated with the quality of the summary I was getting and that it was not always focused on what they key parts of the concept were.  Giving them questions to answer still requires them to write, and they actually are still writing a complete summary - it is just broken into pieces and guides them along. See a sample WSQ chart with "Guided Summary" questions included.

Student Quote: I like having questions rather than a summary.  When I do a summary, I get frustated because it is really long and it takes time just to make a good summary.  I like having questions than summaries.

I am at a crossroads with what to do with my "low-low" students.  The ones who gave up way back in September.  The ones who don't watch videos and don't do anything in class despite all interventions. At this point, I pretty much put them on the side of the classroom and focus on the rest of the students.  However, these students are going to have to take Algebra 1 (for some, a third or fourth time!) next year.  What can I do differently with these kids so they at least benefit a little from the next 8 weeks.  No matter how much you tell a kid "You still have the hope of passing", some of these kids just don't.  I want to have a differentiated portion of class and have them go back and work on 1st semester stuff so they are more confident next year.  I guess I'm just concerned about 2 things: (1) The time to get that organized with everything else on my plate as well as the management of the completely different lesson within class and (2) the motivation of those students to actually try and not just continue to give up, making me feel like any time and effort put into this is a waste.  I will keep thinking about it. I want to do something else for them to help support their learning and keeping them at the pace of the regular class just isn't cutting it right now.

Sharing and Collaboration

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 found out for sure that I get to go to the ISTE conference this summer with a small group of teachers from my school! I am so excited!!!!

"this class is one of my favorite classes and one of my best classes I'm glad I'm doing great and it's all thanks to mrs. kirch"

CHARACTERISTICS AND QUALITIES OF MY FLIPPED CLASSROOM THAT I WANT TO KEEP (this list is now kept on a separate page here and is updated weekly)

1.  Online WSQ/partially handwritten for whole class for Math Analysis
2.  Daily Goals with Weekly Deadlines for Algebra 1

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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