Saturday, November 23, 2013

Week 13 Reflections - heading into Thanksgiving Break

It's wonderful to sit in my recliner with my feet up knowing that I still have 8 days left of vacation and spending time with my husband and (almost!) 6 month old son.  We strolled around the local swap meet all morning and then made 30 (yes 30!) freezer meals in less than 4 hours.  It will feed us for 2 months, which means no cooking during the week for 2 months... which means more time with Grayson!

Ok, so I've blogged a lot this week already about some "flipping" I tried in my Course 1 CCSS class (see my previous posts pre- and post-).  I also have another post coming about a really awesome activity I did on Friday in Math Analysis, but I want to wait for the student samples to come in before posting it.  I'll (hopefully remember to) link it here when it's posted.  Link is here!


This week we finished up Unit J (systems of equations with matrices) and started Unit K (sequences and series).  This is what I tell my students is finally "real" Math Analysis.  90% of Units A through I is stuff they SHOULD have seen in their previous math classes, but every year I find out that it doesn't always happen.  Regardless, Unit J is when it really starts getting tough.  I warn my students, I encourage my students to practice more, I challenge them to spend more time reviewing the material, but sometimes it doesn't quite come to a head until they take a test and don't do so hot.  That's what happened this week.  I had many students who did well, but I had much more than normal do very poorly.  It was also a time consuming test, because if you mess up on a matrix, it can take you FOREVER to figure it out.  So, I gave the students all day to work on the test (morning, class, after school) as they felt they needed.  Some students just never came back to finish and so turned in a half blank test :/...

So, what do we do when that happens?  Well, first, we had the conversation on Thursday about the difficulty of the unit and the upcoming units and had them reflect on their work ethic and focus.  Second, they are all (to the extent I can force them to) reassessing on the unit when they come back from Thanksgiving.  Third, hopefully, they learn that they can't just skate by but really need to practice the concepts to make it concrete in their brains.


I ran into one of my former students this morning at the swap meet.  She was a senior in my inaugural flipped class... that is, she was the one who had her world turned upside down in October of 2011 when I decided to flip.  I probably blogged about her.  She struggled with the change.  Still was a great A or B student, but did NOT like the flipped classroom.  She had come from 3 years of CP level math, all with the same teacher (random how that happened).  Then, she gets put into my class, an honors class, and now a FLIPPED class!  We butted heads at first but she came around by the end - not to liking the flipped class, but to putting up with it.

So, we just got to chat for about 3-4 minutes today, but she told me about her college classes and how she is in Calc 2 and how hard it is.  She told me that now she actually really misses the flipped classroom and wishes her Calc 2 class was flipped.  Whenever her friends are struggling in a math class, she points them to my class websites and videos for help as well.  All from a student who HATED to learn from video 3 years ago!


I was pulled out on Tuesday for the District Technology Stakeholders Meeting.  It was really awesome to hear about the ways different sites in our district are integrating technology (we have I think 66 kinder classes that are 1-1 with iPads, and a middle school who is in their second year of BYOD)... a lot of it I had never heard of before!  We had some great discussions with table groups (consisting of everyone from district administrators, principals, TOSAs, company partners, and a few classroom teachers like me) about technology integration, especially as we are heading towards full common core implementation in the next few years.  It was a great experience to be a part of.


I hope you all have a wonderful, restful, and blessed Thanksgiving season surrounded by those you love and are thankful for!

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