Monday, July 2, 2012

7/2/12 #flipclass chat: How will you start next year's #flipclass differently?

Wow, lots of ideas flowing from tonight's chat!

Here is what stuck out to me and what I wanted to reflect on as we get closer to August 22nd, the first day of school for me.  I am so excited to start #flipclass from day 1, I just hope I have it all organized in my head good enough by that point.  That's what blogging is for!!!

Intro Letter/Videos for parents and students

    • I am planning on making a few videos:
        • For students: What is the flipped classroom and what is its purpose?  How to succeed in a flipped classroom?  How to watch a video/do a WSQ/etc?
        • For Parents: What is the flipped classroom and why are we doing it?

Using the WSQ model
    • I am really excited to start off a year using the WSQ model for my students... and really taking the time to "train" them in writing good summaries (even "guided" summaries" and asking good questions.  
    • From Day 1, I want them to know that asking questions is important and expected in my class, as is having conversations about the math with their classmates.  I want them to be comfortable talking with their classmates and explaining math problems, not just being able to "do" them but not explain what they are doing.  This is going to be a hard habit to "break", but I am hoping for better results when I start from Day 1 rather than in the middle of the year.  
    • A lot of my students last year had a hard time adjusting and transitioning to (1) Traditional Class then (2) "flipped class" with pretty much nothing but videos and finally (3) What I think a "true flipped class" should be, with the WSQ and different in class activities.  So yes, I did make it "harder" on them as the year went on, because I was requiring more of them.  I'm hoping starting from Day 1 will just make it "normal".
    • One of my biggest concerns/focuses with the WSQ is getting quality responses from students on a consistent basis.  Having them submit it online and then having quality discussions in class will help aid in that, but so many of my students are used to "playing school" and "just doing enough to get by" that they don't do their best work for no good reason.  I want them to realize that anything worth doing is worth doing well and it will only help them... like many of my students found out by the end of this year.  I need to be patient and not expect them to "get it" right away!
    • I am putting together my "working definition" of the WSQ expectations for my students here. Somehow I am going to give this to them written (probably organized in a Prezi?), via video, and this will also probably be discussed in a WSQ chat. (A WSQ chat about a WSQ...too funny :))
Student Blogs
I went to several "blogging" sessions at ISTE.  See those posts here
  • There were a lot more tweets on student blogs, but for some reason I couldn't find them when I went back through it.  Here are my initial thoughts after our chat
    • Having everyone blog on one class blog
      • Pros: Organized, all in one place. Easy to moderate.
      • Cons: Getting all students involved.  Giving all student "editing" access.
    • Having all students with an individual blog
      • Pros: All students responsible for individual work and efforts. Allows students to show creativity and individuality in blog. Can continue on past class.
      • Cons: Lots to manage, lots to moderate. Students have to go to a lot of places (even if they are linked to from one location)
    • Assigning groups of students to a blog
      • Pros: "in the middle" in terms of management. Could lead to collaboration.
      • Cons: How to group students? Changing groupings throughout year or keep the same?  How to make sure all students are contributing?
  • Other thoughts and comments
    • Should we require all students to blog, even if it's "not their thing"?
    • This is another opportunity for my students to "Read! Write! Learn!" (our school motto) in a non-traditional way.  
    • Blogging is an amazing reflective tool for me as a teacher... I think it can be equally effective for students. I don't think reflection is a tool that many students learn or use often unless they are really asked to.
    • If it is going to be useful, it needs to be meaningful - not just some extra stupid thing the kids feel they have to do.  It needs to be incorporated in the process of what they already do. (see my list of ideas for students to blog at bottom of post here)
    • I want my students creating and curating content.. and having them in charge of organizing it would save me a lot of time and teach them some good skills.

Closed Captioning on Videos 
  • This is honestly not something I've thought of as a "need" until tonight.  I saw that the most recent Camtasia for Mac upgrade allows for captioning, but I'm pretty sure you have to type it in yourself.  Not something I have time for right now...  However, some good points were made tonight:
    • Having captions in Spanish for my students and parents who don't speak English very well
    • Having captions for students who are deaf or hard of hearing
    • Having captions for students who are more visual rather than auditory
    • Having captions for students who may have to watch the video without sound or are just sick of my voice :)
  • Captions can add a "reading" aspect to the videos that isn't there normally
  • With that, I think it is something I need to consider more seriously.  It may not all get done this year, but it definitely needs to get done...

"Flipped" Back to School Night
  • What would it look like to have the parents come to Back to School night already knowing what a flipped classroom is and spending those 10-15 minutes answering questions and having a discussion?
    • Would there be parents who show up not having watched the video? (lol). Yes, probably.  But, I'm thinking this would be the video they watch the very first week of school, so they really should have the time to do so.
    • By this time (3 weeks into the school year), would students be able to make short videos about the flipped classroom to show their parents?  Is that too soon to expect that of them?
    • Would this be a more useful use of my time with them? (Yes!) Could I possibly be setting myself up for anger/confrontation/dislike? Yes... So, is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Training/Modeling for Students
  • I need to take the time to train my students. Every year, I tell myself I will train them as we go along. That I want to jump right into the content so they "realize" that my class isn't one to take lightly. That they will figure it out eventually.  And then, there I am in April or May, still frustrated over some little things.  I need to take the time to train them.  I am still trying to figure out how I am going to do this.  
  • My students need to be trained on "how to learn", because to be honest, most of them have been spoon-fed their whole lives.  They need to learn how to be independent, self-directed learners who can use their resources (their brain, my brain, each other, the internet, videos, textbook, etc) to make sense of what they need to learn.  I am hoping by "requiring" them to create and curate content from day one, that will help.
  • I want the first few "flipped classroom videos" my students to watch to actual not be content-based, but things like "How to watch a video", "How to participate in a WSQ chat", etc.  Then, we can discuss and model it in class once the information has been delivered to them.
  • We also need to watch some videos together in class to model how to take good notes, how to make liberal use of the pause/rewind (even FFW) button, how to check for understanding individually.
  • I need to decide the progression of the WSQ chats that I want to take.  I think the most effective WSQ chats are those done in small groups, but I can't just have the students jump in without really knowing what is expected of them. I imagine we will do some as a whole class, we will critique some WSQs together, and then we will do some "fishbowls" - where the whole class watches in on one group having a chat and we discuss positives and negatives

Keeping parents informed 
  • I have had Edmodo Parent accounts the last 2 years.  And, I have found that some parents enjoy getting notified about what is going on and to be honest, others could care less.   I have been told by parents that getting the text messages from Edmodo about their student's progress or an upcoming test is annoying.  I have parents that tell me they don't even know how to log in to the site anymore because they forgot their password (seriously!?!?!).  I have parents who tell me they never knew their child had an F, (or D, C, B, etc) all semester even though progress reports were sent out often on Edmodo... they just chose not to look.  Anyways, things like that make me not want to make a ton of extra effort to communicate with parents even though I know I need to and I know there are ones that care.
  • Have a class blog site with a "monthly newsletter" or even just "unit/chapter newsletter" would be helpful.  That would inform the parents of what is going on and what they can be expecting their child to be working on.  That wouldn't take too much time to put together and the parents that care would read it.

Grouping Students
  • This year, I chose my students' seats at the beginning of the year.  After the first quarter or so, I let them give me "preferences" and then I still made the seating chart.  Halfway through the year, I just had an open google doc that they typed their names in the seating charts where they wanted to sit, first come first serve.  At the end of the year, it was just open seating in class and they could change daily if they chose.  I have NEVER done open seating before in my class...ever!  But I actually think it worked well.  My one rule is: You can choose who you sit with as long as you are working, on task, and staying focused on learning.  If not, then I move them (usually individually for a while, and then to a different group).
  • I will probably try something similar this year.  I want to get to know my students before I let them start choosing their groups.  I also think there is value to me choosing the groups and students having to work with people they may not know and they may not be comfortable with at first... isn't that real life?
Community of learners

  • I hope this is how I can describe my classes next June... a true community of learners.  I want my students feeling comfortable to work with anyone in the class and feeling safe in their learning.  
  • I want them working together, supporting one another, and challenging each other. 
  • Every year, I am sad to find that some students don't know each other's names come June...and I don't know what else to do.  One year in March or April I actually had a test where students were given a blank seating chart and had to fill it in...that might have actually been a good idea!
  • Team building activities can be "cheesy" at first, but they can also be very meaningful.  Students have to work together.  Leaders stand out.  Students have to help the slower ones, the quiet ones, etc - in an encouraging way.


  1. Lots of thought in your post so quickly put together after tonight's #flipclass chat. I am excited to plan my flipped classes more than ever. You've inspired me - happy to have found you on twitter tonight and I look forward to sharing more.

    1. Thanks Ms. Lees - great to connect with you tonight as well :)


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