Saturday, October 12, 2013

Week 7 - students seem to be adjusted; good results continuing!

This was an insane but really good week.  

This was the first full unit after my "integrity" speech with my Math Analysis students, and I continually tried to emphasize "Do the work to learn and master the material, not to get the signature and the points."  I think it went fairly well.  I'm obviously concerned that students won't be able to self-evaluate very well at this point and will end up doing poorly on the test.  But, I think that lesson is best learned through experience.

They did have another test this week (Unit G) and did AMAZING!  See pie charts of my class results here.  It was a pretty tough test on analyzing the parts of rational functions, but students all said they thought it was easier than they expected because of the practice they did.

Looking at how my students have been performing this year, the last two units (F and G) have been VERY good. Units A-D were review units that they did over the summer, and E was our first "real" unit.  I chatted with one of my classes about it and they made a conjecture that F and G have been better because they were more adjusted to the flipped classroom at that point.  E was tough because it was the first real unit and they were still trying to figure out what to expect in my class.  Hopefully that conjecture is true and it will continue!


On Wednesday I had the privilege of presenting at Chapman University in one of their Teacher Ed classes about Flipped Learning.  It was awesome to see so many passionate and excited teachers with so many great questions about the flipped classroom and its implementation.


Speaking of presentations, I've got a lot coming up!  Please feel free to sign up and join me (both are FREE!):

I wrote in a previous post about my explorations with Peer Instruction as a part of my WSQ chats (thanks to Troy Faulkner for commenting about his recent appearance on Jon Bergmann's podcast "The Flip Side" talking about Peer Instruction, find it here!).  I also tried a modified version of what I described on Friday.  Instead of doing it whole-class, each student was given a half-sheet of paper with 7 problems on it (w/ multiple choice answers).  They were given 2 minutes to solve them all (they were quick and easy log problems).  At the end of the two minutes, they all had to put their pencils down.  I had each group choose a group leader, whose basic role was to lead the group in going over the answers and then explaining the right answers to anyone who did not get it right.  I then went around and checked their "scores" and checked in with any student who didn't get 7/7.  I thought it was a nice change to the whole-class peer instruction method I've been using.

I came up with a tentative could-be inquiry activity for using the properties of logs to develop the properties for expanding and condensing logs.  It's too late to use as an inquiry this year (students are watching the video this weekend going over the laws), but I'm going to use it as a WSQ chat activity on Monday instead.  You can see the worksheet I made here.  We'll see how it goes.  I want students to see that using the properties they already know (converting from logarithmic to exponential form, change of base formula, etc) they can actual derive the product, quotient, and power properties used in expanding and condensing.


I've talked over my ideas for flipping my "Course 1" (algebra 1) Common Core course with another teacher and think I have some better ideas for what I want to do.  Now I just have to find the time to record the videos!  Basically, I want to take any of the mini direct instruction lessons that are needed and put those on videos for students to watch during class time on our iPods or laptops.  I have enough devices for students to do this in partners (which I would pick for them, of course).  Then, instead of spending 15-25 minutes going over the instructions, directions, basics, etc, students could watch a 5 minute video which they could speed up or slow down to meet their needs.  I just feel like it is not effective at all standing up front delivering that instruction, even though I have smaller classes this year (35 and 28, respectively).  It goes against everything in my teaching philosophy.  However, there is still some instruction needed so I have to find a better way.  I will definitely blog as I am able to get started with it, which I really hope is soon...


Some student comments from this week's reflection and feedback survey:
  • The year so far is going great and I have adapted well to the flipped classroom. I even think I like it better than a traditional classroom.
  • It is starting to get easier for me, know that I have gotten use to the flipped classroom.
  • The year in the beginning was hard because I wasn't used to the flipped classroom but since I now have adjusted it really does help. 
  • The best part of the week was being able to work on the assignments in class and being able to not only ask others for help, but give them help and answering their questions because it helps both of us. 
  • My favorite part was taking the test and knowing that I was prepared for it. 
  • The best part of the week was learning the chants for unit G which really helped for the test.

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