Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Year 2 of Flipping...Post #3 - Modifying WSQ chats to meet student needs

This is post #3 in my "Year 2 of Flipping" series I am trying to do to reflect on this past school year.  Modifying WSQ chats is my big area of focus for next year.

Here are the other posts in this series:


Post #3 - WSQ chats

I was not 100% satisfied with my WSQ chats this year.  I'm not sure what was different from last year, but they just didn't seem to work as well.

[side note: if you don't know what a WSQ is, please check out "WSQing" and my "FAQ" pages above]

I know a few things I wasn't happy about:

  1. Not enough variety
    1. This has always been my struggle, so my goal for this summer and next year is to come up with a wider variety of ideas for how to structure the discussion time.  Please contribute your ideas here (see live document at bottom of post to view, but if you click on the link you can edit and share)
  2. Not enough accountability
    1. I tried a variety of things, from having students write on individual whiteboards (still not 100% engagement, went through WAY too many markers on a limited budget, etc) to writing on paper (once Algebra 1 lost the privilege to use the whiteboards because of not having markers because they wasted them doodling or stole them, I had them actually jot notes on paper to prove they participated).  Neither of those I was happy with in terms of holding all students accountable for their participation.
    2. *Please share your thoughts on holding students accountable for their participation in the comments section.
  3. Took too much of class time
    1. I always struggle with this because I want my students demonstrating TWIRLS daily, and this is a great time to have structured Thinking, Writing, Interacting, Reading, Listening, and  Speaking time.  So it's valuable time, but sometimes it goes on wayyyy longer than it should.  Last year I would limit it to 2 minutes in Alg1 and 5 minutes in Math Analysis and that seemed like pulling teeth to get them to talk that long!  This year, I feel like I had to get them to shut up and move on to the practice!  What I wanted to take 5 minutes they would take 15 minutes of class doing.  I don't know why it would take them so much longer and I'm not sure if it's how I explained it or structured it or something...
  4. Students did not see the benefit
    1. This doesn't apply to all students, but a large chunk of my students saw this time in class as a waste of time and they would rather just get on with the practice to "get their work done".  How do I help my students see the benefit of talking about math with their peers??

Want to contribute to the document below?  Click here


  1. May you let me share my thoughts to points 3 and 4: I teach English as a Foreign Language in Argentina (@ a private Secondary School, not sooo expensive but, pricey like everything in this country). My teaching expectations are always very high but this year I had to lower them if not I would have to quit. I use Edmodo to flip my classes or blend them, most students liked the idea and responded very well. I had two who refused to complete their works there and said they would rather sit in class and do classwork. They do not want to be exposed, talk about what they know, or do not know, they are simply shy or lazy. I simply do not know. They want to sit and practice as if they were robots but...I got it!!...this gives them a big chance to talk to their friends about other issues, gossip, etc etc, anything while they "practice". Do you see what I am saying. I ALWAYS have a part of my class for Feedback and talking, commenting, etc. the same way you do, and have never experienced what I see this year. This group I have are Seniors 16-17-18, and cannot choose what to do as if they were toddlers or pre-k kids. So, its their call, they either participate or fail. Does this kind of answer your questions?Please let me know.

    1. Hi Fabiana,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment! I've experienced a lot of similar situations to what you described this year. When it comes down to it, the responsibility for learning is in the students' hands... so if they choose to waste time eventually it does come down to them (participating or failing). I guess I just struggle with wanting EVERY kid to finally "get it" by the end of the year in terms of "Oh if I participate and do what she suggests it really will help me even if I don't see the benefit right now". That's the frustrating part, and I don't think there is an easy answer to it.

      I think it may come down to me as a teacher just saying, "breathe in, breathe out... give them structured opportunities to take responsibility for their learning and ways to challenge themselves... give them time to adjust and just continue to encourage and re-focus, re-focus, re-focus... and if they choose to not do it by the end of the year, don't get upset because it was their choice"

      Easier said than done :)

  2. Do you have an AVID program at your school? The new tutorial request form and tutorial process might be a great way to get students working together to solve problems and points of confusion. It might require a few days of training the class, but it is a great way to structure conversation.

    1. Hi Melissa,
      Thanks for your comment. We do have an AVID program, and that is a great idea! I haven't been "trained" on all the AVID strategies in detail, but I know what you are referring to. Most of the students I have are not AVID students (I teach the honors kids that are "too high" to qualify for AVID and the really low freshmen that are "too low" to qualify), but I do have probably 1-2 in each class period that I could ask about it.

      Thanks for the idea!!!

  3. I also wanted to share to be used like socrative as a free learner response tool that can be used on any device. What I like about it the most is that there is a drawing feature so students can respond like on a whiteboard and it is more useful in math classes. Also, CONGRATS on your son!!! Children are such blessings!


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