Sunday, September 2, 2012

#flipclass 2012-2013 Week 2 Reflections: Still setting the stage...

Photo from 
This week concluded my first five-day week of the school year.   I'm still in the process of "setting the stage" for our journey to the "great unknown" of what lies ahead this year.  I'm excited to continue this journey...

Here's a summary, with links to posts from throughout the week:

algebra 1.
We started with more training in video watching for Algebra 1, to the point where students were begging to do it on their own.  They have now watched 3 videos (Concept 4,5, and 6) on their own and are watching their 4th this weekend.  I was quite frustrated the first night they were supposed to watch the video on their own because I had a low turn-out rate for the online WSQs.  However, after a friendly conversation with those students in class I realized most of that was due to misunderstanding of exactly what they were supposed to do online and some other internet issues.  The next day, it was much better.

I'm still not very happy with the use of class time, but I guess it is the beginning of the year and teaching routines is important.  I went over the "WSQ chat" expectations with these two sets of instructions:

The Role of the Group Leader:
1. Ask the questions
2. Make sure the groups stays focused/on task
3. Make sure everyone in the group participates

What do we chat about?
"The S, the Q, and the SQ"
The S: Students are supposed to go through their summary questions in order while looking at their SSS and share answers and ask follow-up questions.
The Q: Students are supposed to go around and ask their questions that they wrote in their notebooks after the video and get a written answer.  If their small group (3 people) doesn't know the answer, they can ask their large group (6 people), and then me.
The SQ: Students tried a few problems on their own (which I call "Secret Questions") and they are supposed to go over them and make sure they got the same right answers.

This week we modeled that twice as a large class and I still don't feel it is ready for group control yet, but at the same time I don't think they are getting that much from the whole class discussion yet because not everyone is involved.  I am holding them accountable by making them write answers and examples on the whiteboards that I can see when I do give them that time to discuss and talk.

I still have MANY students in Algebra 1 who are okay with just doing the work and not checking their answers, saying "Oh yeah, I understand it".  What a huge habit to break!  I see a lot of bad habits and mindsets that my students already seem to have and I hope they are able to be broken easily.

One of the WSQs my students completed included a question saying "Write a letter to an elementary student about why learning your basic math facts is important and how math is used in real life".  You can see some of their responses here.

In other news, our admin team wants the entire Algebra 1 PLC to flip their classes this year, starting in the next month or two.  There are only three of us, but it will be a hard adjustment since the school year has already started.  However, I am excited to share my knowledge and experiences and hope the other teachers come on board quickly.  It should be an interesting ride and presents quite an unexpected twist on how I expected things to go this year.

algebra 1. My plans and goals for this week:
1. Every day will start with a "warm-up sheet" where Mondays (or the first day) they will fill out a multiplication chart.  Each day following they will be given 1-2 short questions to try, most likely from the video the previous night but also some spiral review.  My goal is that this takes 2-3 minutes tops and will also serve as a basis of discussion for the WSQ chats
2. Next, we will jump into WSQ chats.  I still need to structure them pretty highly and will probably segment them into "Let's discuss your summary questions for 2-3 minutes", then "Let's ask the questions we wrote down for 2-3 minutes" and then "Let's go over the secret questions" and actually have them work out the secret questions on the whiteboards.
3. "Task List" of assignments, which right now include mainly practice problems and concept quizzes, but I also threw in a student-created word problem that they put on a poster with a partner (was supposed to be a student-created video, but we aren't ready for that yet).  The math right now is very simple
4. Make parent contact for every student who is not fully approved on our assignment list for getting their WSQs completed and beginning of year paperwork turned in.  Tuesday is their final warning day, and that will mean a phone call and then support cards getting handed out on Wednesday.  I only have 20 of my 75 students who have NOT completed ALL ONLINE WSQs, and out of those, 7 of them are only missing 1.  So, I have about 13 students of concern, unless they get some work done today or tomorrow!

algebra 1. My continued focus for improvement:
1. Student responses to the online WSQ questions. I'd like to do some more critiquing of their writing (in a positive way) and show students what great, good, poor, and bad responses look like and how to improve them.
2. Modeling/Expectations for student engagement in their learning and progress.  This will begin as we start taking quizzes and they are able to monitor their progress and actually see what is going on score-wise and not just in their heads.
3. (Myself) doing a better job of engaging in conversations with students about the math and the learning and less time doing classroom management.  I know this will come with time, but I am anxious for the time when the class runs itself and I'm actually able to do what I want to do - work with the students and ask/answer questions to help and challenge their learning!

math analysis.
In Math Analysis, we are finally jumping in to the "true" flipped classroom and had our first flipped day on Wednesday.  I was overall very impressed by the first day with the discussions and the work.  It will take them a few weeks to get used to the routine and self-pacing of getting the assignments done in class, and we will be introducing the quizzing system to them on Tuesday.  Many students did both the WSQ (video) AND the PQ assignment at home, thinking that's what they had to they are realizing the PQ is generally done in class, and they were happily surprised that they didn't have to do as much work at home - and they didn't even think the amount they had to do was that much! (yessss!!!)

I had a few kinks to work out with my "test when you are ready" idea.  After lots of wonderful comments from my readers, I've put together a "round 2 of ideas" for how to make this work.  We'll see as I continue this journey how this goes!

The summer exam results were not as good as I would have hoped.  It is very evident to me that many students did not watch the videos with a focused attitude of learning and did not take their reflections or PQs seriously.  Well, now they are feeling the consequences for their actions!  I will be doing some remediation tutoring this week with a make-up test day next week for all students below 80%.

This was the first year we did the summer packet and it has been both good and bad.  I am excited about the time it will free up this year since the Algebra 2 content was covered over the summer.  However, some of the students enrolled in Math Analysis have such poor algebra skills that we definitely have a lot of re-teaching to do as we are learning the tougher Pre-Cal work that will be coming.

math analysis. My plans and goals for this week:
1. Begin structured WSQ chats with student accountability by work on the whiteboards, group interviews, etc. Make sure students know they are responsible for bringing their WSQ to the table to share but also to participate in deeper questioning and discussion about the concepts.
2. Continue to build student involvement in and responsibility for their learning through the use of the WSQ chart (assignment chart) and having them work productively for the whole period.
3. Have the students begin to score each other's WPP problems (#3 and #4) that they will be doing on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I still need to go through and do the grading for #1 and 2 and give feedback...I just haven't had the time yet.  
4. Make parent contact for the few students who (a) have not been doing their work/online WSQs and/or (b) are not working up to expectations.  We are just starting in this class so this is referring to students who didn't do so hot on the summer exam and aren't keeping up with their current work as well.

math analysis. My continued focus for improvement:
1. These students really need to learn how to take responsibility for their time management and to take charge of their learning, asking questions when they don't fully understand something.  From the results of the summer packet exam and our discussions in the first few days of school, I think students really do believe they understand stuff when it is clear that they don't.  This process of metacognition and self-evaluation will be a continued focus for me at the beginning of the year.

I am already feeling better about some of this than last year since we started it from day 1.  It's just "this is the way it is in my class" and we aren't having to re-train and have them "experiment" with something new.

This next week I'll be sending home my first "reflection" for students to complete (optional) after we've had a good solid week in the flipped class.  I will be interested to hear their thoughts and feedback. 

1 comment:

  1. That "thinking about thinking" is proving challenging for some of my students.


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