Saturday, September 7, 2013

Week 2: It all begins...

This was the second week of school, and we have officially now ended the "summer review" and have started the "real" flipped classroom.  Friday was the first day, and overall it was really great.  Here are some reflections:

1. Students were to watch Unit E Concept 1 before class on Friday. We had a review test on Thursday, so they were told this on Wednesday.  I had a feeling many would forget, so I sent out a reminder on Edmodo.  Regardless, out of my 107ish Math Analysis students, I had 65 submit the WSQ.  Some students said they just forgot; others said they weren't really sure what they were supposed to do.

So, what did I do?  Well, right when the students walked in if they did not have their WSQ submitted they were instructed to go off to the side of the classroom and not take a seat in their groups.  This ranged anywhere from 10 kids to 20 kids in my 3 classes.  I began class and went over the WSQ expectations for all the students and just reviewed what they were supposed to have done.  I also went over the technology policies in class (laptops, iPods, personal devices). 

Then, the students who were not prepared completed the WSQ in class, using one of many devices available to them.  They were told that today's date (9/6) would be listed next to their name on the "Unprepared Roster" (still coming up with a good name for it, thinking something to do with Cheesebucket :)).  If it only happens every so often, no biggie, just come in and take care of it.  If it continually happens where they are behind, then there will be parent phone calls and other consequences.

I will keep reminding my students, "You can work ahead, but you can't fall behind"

2. I spent the rest of the period focusing on the students who came prepared.  They got in (modified) groups and had their first WSQ chat.  We did a short class review of the key vocabulary, and then I chose 4 HOT questions that the students came up with to go over with the class.  I think that is what I'm going to do first this year.  Then, they got into their activity today.  My goal this year is to really come up with different activities for them to do during WSQ chat time.  Today, they had to write their own quadratic equation to complete the square and put in graphable form, identifying all key parts (sorry if you're not a math person and I totally lost you!).  This is something they are going to be posting on their blog as a "Student Problem".  So, they worked with one another, each coming up with their own problem but checking with each other.  Once that was complete, they could move on to the regular practice and other activities for that day.

3. Speaking of HOT questions, I was SO impressed with my students for the first submission.  I would say 80% of them phrased their response in the form of a question and 100% of them ask a question (rather than saying "I understood everything").  I'm making them submit the question on the google form but also write it in their SSS packets on the corresponding concept's page.  So, I can quickly skim through the questions before class to pick out 2-4 ones that seem to be repeated over and over again... then, as I walk around and work with students, I can glance at the question they have written down and make sure they got it answered. Hopefully the good questions will continue!

Other randomness:
1. I had one student ask me if she could work ahead.  I said, "Of Course!" Later, I followed up with her and she said that she is super busy some nights with Marching Band practice and it would be nice to not have to do homework that night.  I explained that she can get it done as early as she wants, and that some busy students would do all the WSQs for the week on the weekend and have nothing to do during the week.  She thought that was awesome! :)

2. I FINALLY figured out how to make the iPods more useful.  Last year I could not figure out for the life of me how to get pics and vids off of the iPods in an efficient manner.  YouTube upload was blocked, I couldn't email pictures from the iPods because of the way they were configured... it was annoying.  Well, last week I came up with the brilliant idea of having a class dropbox account installed on the class laptops, and having every iPod sync with that dropbox account.  How did I not think of this before?  Now, when any student takes a pic or vid on any of the 14 iPods, it syncs automatically to the three class laptops and they can get the file to put straight onto their blog.  Woo hoo!

I'm looking forward to a full week of flipping coming up and hope to see improvement in the student's completion of the WSQs, now that they know what to expect, and continued goodness in the questioning and focus in class time!

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