Friday, May 4, 2012

Reflections on Week 13 (just gotta keep going!)
This week was a little crazy and abnormal with CST testing Tuesday-Friday.  I can't wait to have my 54 minute periods back (we have had every period for 30 minutes a day for the last 2 weeks after testing.)  I also can't wait to get back in the groove of learning new things after prepping for the CST exam for so long.

Although not much new happened this week, I feel like I was reminded about a few key aspects of my "Flipped Classroom" that I want to work on for the future.

By the way, My students just finished the survey - I will be posting the results this weekend :) Thank you to Scott Harkness  for letting me use/modify his survey!  Algebra 1, Math Analysis
Results here:
Algebra 1 Part 1
Algebra 1 Part 2

*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. Overwhelmed with a crazy couple of weeks... just my thoughts.
2. A TON of thoughts about Monday's #flipclass chat. Lots of ramblings and ideas floating through my head. Post here.

Math Analysis
Not too much from this week - Students took a pre-CST final exam on Monday-Tuesday, worked on a project Wednesday when I was absent, finished their pre-CST final on Thursday, and finished their project on Friday!  So, not really a lot of "new" learning going on, but two things I did enjoy...
1. Differentiated Assessment.
For the students who did not get their Unit T test graded, their "re-assessment" was actually a 15-20 minute "interview" with me.  I really enjoyed it with the students who were prepared. It was great to hear them explaining their thought processes and working through mistakes.  If they made an error, I didn't say anything, and it was awesome to see them figure out that they made a mistake, where it was, and how to fix it.  The students who didn't come prepared made for a very awkward situation it was almost painful.  I let them continue on for a while, but after multiple mistakes, I just stopped them and said they would have to reschedule when they were ready.  
If I only had 20 students and all the time in the world, I really would love to assess them in this way more often.  I feel like I understood so much more about what they really understood by having them take the "test" this way than just grading a paper test.
This makes me want to do this type of assessment more often, even in an informal manner.  It's one of the reasons I love having students create their own mini-videos so much, because I actually get to hear their thought process.  I need to do this more often throughout the class period as students are working on problems - have them explain it orally to me so I can understand what is really going on.
One more thing to add to my "wish list" of things to focus on more next year!

2. "Project-based learning"
I don't know if this would really be considered PBL, but this week I had the students put together a "trig graphing project" where they had to analyze and create graphs, correlate them based on the identities and properties of the unit circle, and answer some HOT questions about trig graphs and their properties.  They are due Monday, but I've already received several and I am just so impressed with the detail of both their descriptions and their pictures.  I think this is another great way to differentiate assessment.
Also, it was a great reminder of something... all of the questions posed in the project were ones we had discussed in small groups last week.  While several students could still explain and answer them, several of them still didn't really understand and/or forgot all about our discussions, even though they were about 15 minutes of class each day in small groups.  I need to find a way to hold all students in the group accountable for their understanding of the material, and not just let one or two group members dominate the conversation, or let a "oh yeah I get it now" pass for true understanding.

Algebra 1
Not too much for this week as well - we basically just reviewed for the CST exam on Thursday and Friday.  If anything, this week was a reminder of how much I love my normal flipped classroom that involves group discussions and students actively trying to learn something new rather than working on review problems. I feel like my students just broke some good habits we have been developing with the crazy days we basically had every day... but we'll get back into the swing of things next week.  Excited to get back to it!

Sharing and Collaboration

I presented my first webinar on Tuesday afternoon for a group of educators in Sacramento.  It was pretty exciting and fun to talk about something that I have become so passionate about.  The feedback was really great.

I am hosting a webinar on Wednesday, 5/9/12 at 4pm PST.  Here is the link to register (Free). I will be talking about why I flipped my classroom, the benefits of flipping for teachers and students, and giving examples of what my flipped classroom looks like and how I've made it work wonders in my classroom.  I hope you can make it!

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
Feeling pretty frustrated this week, but it's nothing related to the flipped class.  I just hate it when you feel like you are doing so much but still can't reach every kid. I know it's something that people say all the time - "focus on those that are responding to all you are doing, and don't get frustrated or down by those who just don't care"... but if I had to describe my biggest weakness, that is what it would be.  I want to reach every student and I guess I take it personally when I don't.  I want every student to want to learn math and to give their full effort, and when they don't I take it as something I'm doing wrong instead of choices they are making.  I have more F's this year than the last few years combined in Algebra 1 (it was this way first semester as well, pre-flipped class), and these kids are so unmotivated, have such poor math skills and poor study skills, that I don't know where to begin.  They need one-on-one attention constantly, but they aren't willing to come in and receive the help that is offered outside of class (and our class size is about 37 for even the lowest level classes).  Their parent/guardians don't do anything despite repeated phone calls home.  They literally have told me, "there's nothing I can do." Seriously? Again, another time when I don't have personal experience with this, but I feel like if this was my kid, and I got a call from a teacher like that, I would personally walk my student to and from tutoring every day until they improved their understanding. Ok. Rant over. I just hope I reach one of them by the end of the year.

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. Not much new :)

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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