Friday, October 19, 2012

Week 8 updates - Flipping with Kirch :)

Well, I think it's time to just reflect on a few things I've learned thus far this year.

Overall, the year is coming along quite well.  It's been quite an overwhelming year, with visitors at least once a week, if not more.  As exciting as this is, it is also quite exhausting.  I am looking forward to continuing to see more teachers across my school and district excited about flipping their classes.


Honestly, I have been so proud of my Math Analysis classes the last few weeks.  I really feel they are used to the change and are doing very well.  Most of the kids I had trouble with in the beginning of the year have come around, and it is freeing being able to tell them that they don't have to watch the videos, but they do need to have the notes taken.  I have a few students doing so just on their own completely, some using the textbook or some other book resources I have, whereas the majority of the students are still watching the videos nightly.  I feel like I have been able to bridge those relationships with those students which is only assisted by the fact I can actually speak with them personally every day in my flipped classroom.  They can see that I actually care about them as students.  Overall, I feel like my classroom is a very positive learning environment where although there are high expectations and "work" to do to aid in their learning, everyone feels like they can succeed.

What makes me so proud is this:

1. My students are ACING their work!  The only students who don't have A's, B's, and high C's in my class right now are the 4-6 students in each class on "individual contracts" with me who are behind pace and have D's/F's right now simply because they are missing work that they haven't gotten to yet (our gradebook puts them in as zeroes once the rest of the class has completed the assignment).  And, those students are working hard for the most part and getting caught up.  I am a little worried that time may run out for them to be fully caught up, but I'm hoping not.

I know it's not all about the grades (it's about the learning!), but I have NEVER seen grades like this, and this is my 5th year teaching Math Analysis.  I always have a few kids (2-6) get D's or F's on every test, and for the most part this year every student is passing the tests with C's or higher (with just a few exceptions).  In addition, these students are only taking like 20-30 minutes of class to finish my tests, which normally every student would be working for at least 40 minutes if not needing more time after the bell rang... and the tests are the same length!!

2. The work they are submitting is just getting better.  Their written WSQs are excellent (again, this is for the most part, there are still a few students who aren't quite meeting expectations yet).  This is aided by (something I didn't want to do, but once I did it, the quality of the WSQs seemed to go up!!) by making each WSQ worth points (usually 8 points) and once they see that number, they want it to be higher!  I used to just do "approved", "incorrect', or "incomplete" and make them resubmit if they didn't have approved.  Now, they can still resubmit, and certain responses will be required resubmissions, but moreso I'm leaving it up to them as they realize they can do better or a more complete/correct job of answering the questions. (Giving responsibility to them!!)

In addition, students are now using their blogs.  If you look at, scroll all the way to the bottom and there is a list of my student blogs.  Of course not all of them are perfect, but just take some time to look at what my students are submitting!  So far, they have done 4 different types of posts.

-WSQ posts - For Unit G, students submitted their WSQs on their blogs instead of on the Google Form.  In addition to answering the question, they had to find a picture that helped to represent the question
-Student problems and Student Videos- students make up their own problem, solve it, and take a picture of it or solve it on video (depending on requirements).  Student problems are done individually but student videos can be done in 1's, 2's, or 3's.  Underneath the post, students must write what the problem is about and what the viewer/reader must pay attention to.
-WPP's - Students completed WPP#6 this week.  For this, they write their own word problem and create a MentorMob playlist.  Then, they peer-grade using a rubric I created.

3. When I think about the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice, I just get more and more excited as my students are doing better in several key areas:

-Attend to precision - They are realizing the importance of being precise and accurate in all they do.  This can be seen in their graphs, in their explanations, in their conversations with their classmates, in their writing, etc.
-Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them - students are given plenty of opportunities to explain, evaluate, and make sense of problems.  If they don't understand it, they are able to ask me and their classmates, but then take that knowledge to help their classmates.  I love when I help a student and then someone else has the same question and that first students says "Oh I know how to do that!" and will help them. And, they are so willing to help each other!!!
-Okay I could go on and on but I don't feel like it tonight :). Let's just say I'm lovin' it!

4. I hardly have to monitor WSQ chats and they still do an awesome job of discussing it, reviewing the material from the video, and asking each other questions. There are, of course, a few groups I have to monitor more closely, but there are so many instances this week where I said "go" and the groups just got right with it.  It was so awesome and I loved not having to guide and structure them through it step by step.

So, I hope this continues as we keep working towards harder material.  Unit J, which we start on Tuesday, is the first "really tough" chapter of the year and I am excited to see how it turns out.

General observations:
1. "Ticket to the Test" has come a long way.  The first unit, I had about 10-15 students PER CLASS not prepared.  Now, it is between ZERO and 3 per class.  The students are getting their work done on the schedule (not necessarily the daily schedule, but by the end of the unit).
2.  Students are taking responsibility for themselves in communicating with me if they are having problems or issues with completing work on time or with technology.  Where some of them are making it more of a habit than they should, I am glad that they are at least taking the initiative to let me know before class that they are behind and will need another day for whatever reason.

I described my kiddos in Algebra 1 like this to someone this week:
"Some of them already get it and always get their work done.  Some of them are still trying to figure out how to deal with the freedom and responsibility, but they are coming along and they will get there."
I think that is to be expected based on the level of the students and just general maturity.  I've learned a lot this year already and have not done the best job of implementing consistent structures with them (it is hard going from upperclassmen honors to lowerclassmen CP).  However, for the most part they are doing very well.

The biggest struggles are with:
1. Students loving working in groups but not knowing how to stay focused on the math and not just gab
2. Students lying to themselves and to me about their work, meaning refusing to check their answers to see if they are right and then telling me they checked them.  They still don't get the fact that doing that helps me to help them.  I still don't have a way to hold them 100% accountable for learning or understanding this, so I just have to spot check and call them on it every time.
3. Certain students who refuse to take any notes in the video (most of the time not even watching) but still submitting online WSQ. Easy to find out, hard to break the habit.  Had a conversation with 3 of these young men today, and hopefully it rang true.
4. Certain students who refuse to ask for help in class and will not come to our "small group U" to get extra help even when asked directly. I'm still trying to find ways to reach them to have them realize, "You don't get it. I know you don't get it. It's okay to not get it. Now come get some help.".  They would rather say "Oh yeah, I get it" then come get the help they need.
5. Keeping some of the WSQ chat groups focused.  Some days they are good, some days they are so unfocused.  I need to remind myself that we are still in week 8 and they are still learning and growing. I also need to remember these are not my upperclassmen honors students!! They will probably always need guidance!

Some big beauties of the last few weeks:
1. I have a student who went from a 2% (literally) to a 75% in just over a week because he finally got his butt in gear and completed his work.  He is still a chapter behind the class, but is working hard every day to get caught up.  This COULD NOT happen in a traditional class.
2. I have a student who transferred in during week 5 and is already caught up to being only a chapter behind the class as well.  Again, this COULD NOT happen in a traditional class!

I wish I were more ahead because there are students who I wish I could have just take the test and move on completely at their own pace, but I don't have the materials prepped for them yet.

Overall, however, the environment is really great in Algebra 1.  The kids are enjoying the class.  I didn't know it directly until this week where on Tuesday someone came in and actually interviewed some of my students on video, and then later I had one of the WSQ questions be "what is your favorite part of math class".  I think I'll end with some quotes from students: :)

What is your favorite part of math class?

My favorite part is of math class is everything.
My favorite part of math class is working  on are pq and helping each other.
taking a quiz or test and the next week knowing i got a good grade. :D, thanks to Mrs. kirch
hanging out and talking with friends
that we can do our work during class
My favorite part of math class is making student videos.
the feeling of getting your problem right
seeing mrs. kirch's face every day:)
my favorite part of math class is when we get to work together on our class works like our pq's and stuff
My favorite part of math class is that we can have WSQ chats in class.
being able to do all the work in class and get all the help you need and not be in a rush.
My favorite part of math class is when we're doing a lesson that I understand
Nothing the truth i just want to pass it well the teacher i do like, she cares for us and wants us to succeed when we get lazy
the videos because you get to pause in the video and you can go in your own past.
My favorite part in math class is when we review the lessons.
my fvorite part of math class is when we go into the little group and miss kirsch helps us??
The favorite part of math class is when you teach us how you explain the math
The "u table" because I get extra help.
where we review some concepts
in the U table and we read the question and do it right there"
My favorite part is getting in groups with your classmates.
When we do the concepts because we get help on how to do them.
My favorite part is that the class is a flipped classroom
Practice quizzes
They people there :b
My favorite part is being able to communicate with my classmates since they get what im sayin and can help me out and its really easy for me this year.
i think it would be the videos because we learn at our own speed
going ahead on homework.
my favorite of math class is helping others on problems.
my favorite part of math class is when we do the wsq chat.
getting there confused, and then understanding it after mrs. kirch has done an example, i feel so accomplished ^0^
my favorite part of math class is understanding the material and trying to solve them, makes me feel smart.
Watching the videos and learning at home. Instead of being stuck in class and not knowing what to do because you can't rewind the class.
work with your team.
when we all sing just because its really embarrassing c:
doing the online wsq
doing the wsq videos at home for sure.
getting help from others in the group asking them questions.
when we have out wsq chats it helps me better understand the subject a bit more than i usually do
my favorite part of math class is that we could do our homework online
going over in class that we dint get from the video
My favorite part of math class is when we work on the PQs
The wsq chats
My favorite part if math class is when we do the WSQ chat with our group members
My favorite part of math class  is being able to wach the videos at home.
My Favorite part so far is the video since they help alot.
being able to rewind and retake test
When we got to the middle circle and we work on the pq's.
is the class, its more easier and well organized.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

10/9/12 #flipclass webinar - My classroom and the WSQ

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Blogging Break

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to let everyone know I'm going to be taking a break from blogging for a little bit.  Don't know when I'll be back, but I just need a little time away from detailed writing with my weekly reflections.  I will still post if I find interesting links, comments, feedback, etc...just not on a consistent basis.  I am going to start heading towards blogging when I feel inspired and less to staying on a schedule like I've done the last ten months.

In the meantime, please feel free to check out the archives and the pages up top for information and experiences, especially the FAQ and WSQing pages.

I will still be around online and try to make the weekly #flipclass twitter chat on Mondays, but life has taken some busy turns lately and my priorities have had to shift.

Thank you for your loyal readership and let's continue to learn together!

Until next time,

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