The following are responses to the survey I gave to my Algebra 1 students after approximately 4.5 months of flipping my class. The survey was given via Google Forms. I had 97 of my 104 students complete the survey.
After each question are just a few personal reflections and thoughts that came to mind when I considered the results.
Do you watch the Flipped Classroom videos on time?
The only student who said "never" is actually a girl who is on "independent contract" now and is working back on Chapter 1 material to prepare for retaking Algebra 1 next year. 8 of my 10 students who said "some of the time" currently have F's in my class. (correlation, anyone?!?!). It was great to see 88% of my students say "always" or "most of the time", and I feel with my new policy of calling home when they are unprepared would increase that even more if asked again at a later date.
Do you find the WSQ discussions at the beginning of class helpful?
This was a mixed response. I still don't feel, even after 4.5 months, that my Algebra 1 kids are fully "trained" on having a good discussion, and it's mainly my fault for not teaching them or modeling it well at the beginning of the year. We have tried so many different things and as much as that has helped me to figure out what I like and what I don't, it's definitely confused my kiddos a bit. Next year I will plan to do some better modeling and maybe even have a "rating scale" or "qualities of a great group WSQ" so we can evaluate progress in terms of focused discussion.
The two students who said "never" were (1) a female student who have never actually participated in a group discussion even with prompting (a lot of "I don't know" and one-word answers) and (2) a male student who is generally a day ahead of the class in terms of watching videos and wants to find the easiest way out of any assignment... (and he thinks it's funny when he asks basically "How can I be lazy"; ...I find it annoying).
I feel like the helpfulness of the discussions depends on several factors:
1. Focused questions for students to discuss
2. Appropriate level of questions where students feel confident enough to know the answers but challenged enough to still have some questions for their classmates
3. Group expectations for what a WSQ conversation looks like and sounds like (modeled well at the beginning of the year)
4. Accountability for all group members via a group interview, written reflection, etc at end of discussion time.
How confident do you feel about the material AFTER watching the video but BEFORE coming to class to work on problems?
This is actually where I want my students to be - "Somewhat confident but need more help" - that is where the flipped classroom comes in handy! If I were to ask my students this question about how they felt about a "traditional" lecture, they would probably answer the same thing. And then, guess where they get to go when they "need more help"??? They get to go home to try it by themselves with no support! :/. Not good! So, now, they get the initial exposure to the material at home and are able to come to class and get that extra support and clarification that is needed.
My 5 "not very confident" students are all F's right now. I really need to find a way to reach out to some of those lower students in class. My issue is that so many of them give little effort outside of class and don't come to class with specific questions that it is hard to help them. Part of what I am trying to do with my flipped classroom is put more responsibility in the students' hands and give control of their learning over to them. I don't have an issue with students coming to class "not very confident" - I, as well as their classmates, are here to support them. I do have a problem with the five specific students who clicked this, because they say that and then don't come to class wanting to learn or get their questions answered. How do I get students to realize that it is OK to come to class confused as long as they come in with the goal of understanding better by the time they leave? How do I encourage and motivate students to push past their confusion and to find the joy in learning?
How confident do you feel about the material AFTER watching the video and AFTER coming to class to work on problems with others?
31% more of my students feel "extremely confident" after coming to class to work on problems, which is great. It shows that they feel like class time is helpful for their learning.
I am not 100% confident in my students' ability to self-evaluate at this point. Several of the students who say they are "extremely confident" are ones who can't even get one question right on a a quiz the next day... so they say they are "confident" but it's not true. How can I be teaching my students to properly self-assess and self-evaluate as a part of the flipped classroom? I want my students to "know what they know" and "know what they don't know" so they know where to get help and what to ask questions on.
Random comments - The "No idea what is going on" is that same girl on "independent contract". I guess maybe I shouldn't have included her response, but I did want her opinion on a few other things. The two "not very confident" students were ones that said they were "somewhat confident" before coming to class and "not very confident" after coming to class.
Please describe the amount of effort you have been putting in during your time AT HOME?
Surprise, surprise that 6 of the 8 "I'm not really trying" students have F's right now. Sadly, I don't know if any of them see the correlation between their effort and their performance yet. With time, hopefully.
It is also important to try to see things from a student's perspective sometimes. A few of the students who think they are giving "max effort" at home just don't seem like it by what they bring to class - messy notes, incomplete WSQ's, etc. While my definition of "max effort" may differ from their definition at this point in their life, it is important for me as a teacher to note that and to be more positive with some of my students, focusing on the "little successes" even if they haven't quite made it up to my level of expectations yet.
Please describe the amount of effort you have been putting in during your time IN CLASS?
Similar thoughts - 7 of the 8 "I'm not really trying" have F's.
This survey response makes me think of a couple of things. First, I do need to constantly remind myself that my freshmen are not at the same maturity level that I always expect them to be. I expect them to mature at a faster rate than they may be capable of doing and come to a quicker understanding of strong work ethic than some of them may have ever been exposed to. The students I have coming in are used to not trying but still being passed on to the next class (looking at Jr. High transcripts appalls me!). They aren't used to having any homework (seriously, some of our Jr. High math teachers assign no practice or homework to our students, which tells me a lot about why their basic skills are so lacking!). How am I to expect that my high expectations (with appropriate support) is going to raise their work ethic in one school year? My only hope is that when they leave me and start next year, they will realize that I did teach them some things other than just math and they will move forward with a stronger work ethic and desire to succeed. I can only hope...
What is the MOST HELPFUL part of the "flipped classroom"?
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
I asked my students to select their TOP THREE answers to this question. It seems like the most helpful part of the Flipped Classroom are the basics - watching the video and doing the PQ's (what we call our Practice Problems). I was very happy to see the WSQ discussions in 3rd place. Although, I find it interesting that the students don't like the Summary or Question part of the WSQ as much as the discussion part, when the discussion requires that they have stuff written down for the summary and the question.
I don't feel like my Algebra 1 students have really gotten the hang of the meaning behind my quizzes this year. I give "mini-quizzes" on each concept, where one quiz covers just one type of problem, and may include anywhere between 1-4 questions. Students receive a score for each individual concept and it is supposed to help focus them on exactly what they need help on. Students are able to retake the quizzes as many times as they need until they reach proficiency.
A few issues with quizzes this year:
1. Students don't retake the quizzes and they are okay with it! I try a lot of extrinsic motivation with this (rewards for passing quizzes, including their names on the wall in celebration, picking from the treasure box, extra credit on their test, etc), but seriously my students don't care. I have never seen students not get excited over the potential for extra credit before. I am actually not a fan of extra credit at all, but I tried using some sort of extrinsic reward just to get students to retake quizzes, and it's not working!
2. The last 3 chapters I have allowed my students to "take quizzes when they are ready". So, instead of having everyone in the class STOP and take the quiz at the same time (and often sit there for 5 minutes waiting for the whole class to finish if they are a quick worker), I have different versions of the quiz every day and students take them when they want. However, this has led to students not even taking one quiz for the whole chapter (even though they get a 2-3 out of 8 just for trying, instead of a "0" for not doing it at all). Many of my students LOVE being able to take quizzes when they are ready, others hate it because they can't manage their time well enough to take them. So, I need to find a balance where students still have the freedom, yet there are still the expectations and some sort of boundaries to make sure students at least attempt the quiz within a certain time period.
3. Ideally, students would not be able to take the chapter test until they can pass the mini-quizzes. However, if I go to this model, there will be students who spend 2 months on a 2 week chapter. At least those are my thoughts. However, is there a chance that it would be more motivating, knowing that they "can't move on until they master it?"
What is the LEAST HELPFUL part of the "flipped classroom"?
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
I knew this would be the response even before the survey came in. The students HATE having to ask their own question, and for Algebra 1, honestly, their questions SUCK.
"What happens if you forget to distribute the negative"
Answer: Then you will get the problem wrong
"Is there another way to solve these problems"
Answer: Yes, there probably is but we haven't learned it yet.
I blame this on a few things. First, I have not emphasized question starters and asking good questions with my Algebra 1 kids as much because their summaries were so bad we focused on those instead. I need to "teach" them the art of question-asking better if I want better results. Second, most of the time the questions do not get answered well. This is the fault of many people. First, my fault for not teaching/modeling the Question part well enough, as well as for accepting crappy questions in the beginning of the year and thus continuing to accept them. Second, the students' fault for being okay with asking crappy questions and getting crappy answers but having no desire to find out the true answer to the question.
This needs a lot of work for my Algebra 1 kiddos next year.
I think the summary part was #2 for a few reasons:
1. We started the year with "open summaries" where students just had to write about what they watched with no guidance. This may seem easy to some people, but for my low-level, half EL class, writing a summary is a big task... some of them don't even really understand what a summary it! Now that I have transitioned to "guided summaries", students still have those negative attitudes about the summaries.
2. I am not okay with "crappy" answers to the "guided summary" questions and honestly, my students don't always like me challenging them to think deeper :)... oh, the never ending challenge of being a high school teacher!
Very happy to see that 1/3 of my students said that "nothing" was "LEAST HELPFUL" in my flipped class... that's a huge percentage and is great to hear!