Friday, May 18, 2012

Reflections on Week 15 (starting to wrap things up!)

What does this picture have to do with this post, you may ask?  Nothing, really.  Except we had a modified day today and got out at 12:30 and I went to the beach with my husband.  And this was my view. It was gorgeous.  Feet in the sand, sun on my face, book in my hand... wonderful afternoon :)

It's hard to believe there are officially 3 weeks left of school (and then finals week).  I say this every year, but this year flew by!  This is the point of the year right now that I get to every year - I am excited about finishing strong, but my mind is constantly bombarded with new ideas and what I want to change or try for next year.  I have been able to have some good conversations with some of my students about the Flipped Class and come up with some good thoughts for next year.  I am VERY excited to start a school year flipped from the beginning!  

I had three visitors from our District Office come and visit one of my class periods on Monday, and it was very exciting to share with them what I have been doing.  They were very excited and impressed with the level of engagement of the students and the focus/on-task behavior that they saw.  It is really cool to me to think "that's just normal" now for my classroom.  Students are generally engaged, focused, and on-task for the majority of the period and classroom management is not that big of a deal.  I am hoping they might do some district-wide training on the flipped classroom next school year that I will be able to be a part of!  Yay!

Also, I will get to present my flipped classroom at our next Department Chair meeting in June!  I am doing a "flipped" presentation - the other chairs will be watching my webinar before the meeting and send me questions they have.  Then, the 20 minutes I would normally have to present/discuss the flipped classroom will be spent all on discussions, questions, and ideas!  I'm excited!

Oh, and speaking of my webinar, if you missed my first one, I will be doing another one on June 12th at 4pm PST.  It will be the same presentation, but if you missed it the first time, hopefully you can join in this time live!

*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. Frustration rant about student responsibility and motivation here.
2. Some more end of year thoughts and reflections here.
3. My weekly #flipclass chat random musings post... things that stuck out to me and what I want to think about further.  This week's chat was on incorporating reading and writing strategies into every content class.  Post here.
4. A post about a speech I gave to my Frosh/Soph Algebra 1 classes about self-assessment and evaluation.  Our new phrase in class is, "Oh yeah, I get it now". Post here.
5. Round 1 of "End of Year Student Interviews".  I am having all of my students interview on video answering 9 questions about the flipped classroom.  The questions they are answering are here and the first student video is here.
6. What will you miss the most about #flipclass?  What part did you enjoy the most? Student answers here.
7. Three types of students that struggle in my #flipclass.  Do you have any of these students in your class? Post here.

Math Analysis
1. WSQ resubmissions
2. Senioritis and the Flipped Class
3. Final Exam Idea
4. Summer Excitement!

1. WSQ resubmissions
I continued to require WSQ resubmissions for incorrect and incomplete answers.  I really like how this makes the WSQ an even greater accountability tool for students.  Here is the general process.
  • Students submit their WSQ electronically.  The WSQ includes their "summary" (answering specific questions I ask), their own HOT question (with what they think the answer is if they have an idea), and their answers to the "Secret Questions" I have them answer.  I have started to ALWAYS give the students between 2-5 problems to try on their own after each video as a way to self-assess.
  • After submitting, students are given the link to the spreadsheet that will show all student responses, in addition to my "perfect" response at the top of the page.  There are also sometimes links to short video explanations of the "Secret Question" problems in case they got them wrong.
  • Students can read through their classmates responses and figure out where they might have had misconceptions or did not fully answer the question.  I am able to make comments immediately on student responses, and color code their names to let them know their "level" (Green = clear, Pink = wrong answers, Yellow = incomplete answers).
  • Students must resubmit their answers to any box that is not Green as soon as possible (by the end of the Unit is my deadline).  They can do it in two ways: in person by explaining it to me during class or by sending me a note on Edmodo.  Regardless, when they resubmit, they must also explain their answer in more detail and explain their misconception or where they went off track the time before.  This is because they basically have the right answers in front of them now so they have to do more than just copy the correct answers that are already there.   I add a column called "corrections" where their corrected answered are copied into.
2. Senioritis and the Flipped Class
This is the point of the year where my seniors in Math Analysis have major struggles with senioritis.  They have less than 3 weeks of school left and none of them need my class to graduate.  So, they would much rather slack and not watch the videos at home and then not be productive in class.  I remember how I felt my senior year when graduation was so close, so I do feel for them a bit.  But, at the same time, I wish I knew a cure for senioritis...

3. Final Exam Idea
My students already took the first part of their Final Exam before our State Testing at the beginning of this month.  So, they are just supposed to take a "mini-final" at the end of the year covering the last 6 units of the year.  Because our seniors take finals a week early, it completely throws off the schedule because my class is mixed juniors/seniors.  In the past, we have always had the seniors take the finals on their day, and the juniors do so during the real "finals week".  I really want to do something different this year and have the juniors and seniors take the final on the same day, and do something different with the juniors for the 2 hour "final exam" time period.

So, I've been running some ideas through my head for what to do for the "final", especially since it's actually the seniors last day on campus and I usually do a big "farewell, good wishes, share about your future" sendoff day.  They still need to take some sort of "final" exam though.

Any ideas for "non-traditional" final exams?  I don't have any ideas fully formulated yet to share, but I'd love to hear if you have tried anything "different"

4. Summer Excitement!
I am VERY excited for the "summer #flipclass" our incoming students will be doing.  We always give our kids summer packets for Honors/AP classes, and I never felt they were as useful as they could be because students wouldn't really do them.  So, we haven't done them the last 2 summers for Math Analysis.  But, now that we are going to incorporate the use of Videos, modified WSQs, and online support throughout the summer, I really think it will go well.  We are doing this for two reasons:
1. The first chapter of Math Analysis is actually usually skipped because it is Algebra 2 skills.  However, we normally spend a month on it.  Our students come in, think this class is a piece of cake, spend little to no time on homework, get into bad habits, and then get hit really hard come a month into school when they realize this math class is actually difficult.  We want to avoid that by starting off running.
2. There are several chapters we have actually had to skip (polar, parametric, matrix operations, vectors, 3-D graphing, conic rotation, etc) because we don't have enough time to cover them.  I would love to have the extra three weeks we would gain back to spend more time on our current content and start teaching some of the stuff we had to leave out again! 

Algebra 1

1. "Oh Yeah, I get it now"
2.  Students back to Chapter 1 and 2

1. "Oh Yeah, I get it now"
See my "speech" here.  This is one of my biggest frustrations/concerns with my Algebra 1 kids.  They seriously just lie to themselves and they don't realize it.  If there is one thing "non-math" I really want my students to learn from my class, it's how to self-evaluate correctly and how to learn.  A lot of my students really seemed to get a lot from my "speech", as they have talked to me about it every day.  However, changing their mindset and the way they've always gone about doing things is not a one-day or one-week change.  It's going to take a while. I only hope I provide a step in the right direction for them.

2.  Students back to Chapter 1 and 2
At this point, all of my students below a 40% are in a completely separate group in my classroom, working on basic operations from Chapter 1.  My goal is that they are prepared well to hopefully succeed in Algebra 1 next year.  This whole experience makes me really consider the thought of a Flipped-Mastery Model.  Why are students allowed to move on to a harder chapter when they haven't mastered the pre-requisite skills.  I'm not sure if I'm ready to try this on a large-scale for next year, but it will definitely be in the back of my mind for my struggling learners.  Having all the lessons on video will be a huge asset.  We'll see how my thoughts develop on this...

Sharing and Collaboration

I love my #flipclass and blogging community.  Have I said that lately?  You are all amazing and so valuable in my professional development as a flipping teacher!!  THANK YOU!

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
Found this on my desk Thursday after school.  Still have no idea who put it there, but it made me smile :)


From my student's weekly reflections:
  • Just want to say that you're so awesome Mrs. Kirch! You're starting a revolution!
  • XD thank you for caring and being like a chittah! :) can be rough but you do it cause you know its for our own good. thank you for a being a great teacher! ^_^
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)

nothing brand 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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