Sunday, December 30, 2012

Wrapping up 2012 - Wow, what a year!

I've been contemplating what I want to write in my 2012 year-end post.  (can you believe it's almost 2013??? Wow, time flies...)

I'm coming up on a year of blogging, reflecting, and sharing my journey with the flipped classroom (and nearing 100,000 views - wow!).  In all honesty, I am trying to look back at where I was a year ago and it's truly amazing to see how much I've grown as a person and as an educator in this short amount of time.

Winter break of last year was spent trying to make sense of this "thing" I had started doing in my classroom with having my students take notes, watch examples, and be exposed to content at home before class so I could work with them in groups during class time, answering their questions and supporting them with what they needed when they needed it.  I knew that what I had started in October with Math Analysis and just for a short two weeks with Algebra 1 was different, but I could already sense it was better than what I had been doing the last 5 years.  I think what I loved the most is that I could connect with and engage with students on their level in a way I couldn't before, and challenge them at different levels based on how they were doing.  I no longer gave a lesson to a class of forty students where I was engaging as many as I could, but I was definitely losing a lot of them, boring others, and not really making the best use of my time with them.

However, I also knew there were some things I needed to change after my first few months of "experimentation", and starting fresh after Winter Break with some new ideas was the best time for this.  It wasn't until the end of Winter Break that I came up with the idea of the WSQ, a way to help my students process the information presented to them, hold them accountable to watching/taking notes/being prepared for class, keeping them (and me) organized with what was expected of them with the WSQ chart, and re-structuring the discussion time so it was more beneficial for both the students and for me as a teacher to see how they were doing and where they needed support, guidance, or re-teaching.  The WSQ has continued to grow, evolve, and mold to fit the needs of my students and surprisingly, the needs of many teachers and students across the country.  I'm an acronym queen (WSQ, FITCH, TWIRLS, HOT, SSS... when will it end?) and thought I was just coming up with something cool and easy to remember for my students...little did I know it would impact so many flipped classrooms around the world over the course of this year.

Then came the decision to blog, and become active on twitter. Wow.  The ideas that have been shared and, most importantly, the connections that have been made have been life-changing.

I still remember the morning I woke up in January after posting one of my first posts, "My Favorite WSQ" and I got on twitter while I was getting ready for work.  Jon Bergmann, who at the time to me was the "pioneer of the flipped classroom" (and who I now consider a friend and colleague) had retweeted my blog post.  I ran into the other room and was so excited telling my husband about it that he posted about it on Facebook.  I don't think at the time that I would have thought less than a year later, I would have the privilege of meeting, working with, and presenting with so many of these "superstars" I was following and learning from.  It's almost humorous now to think back to how excited I was that people were actually reading what I was writing - when in reality I started this blog solely to make sense of things for myself.

The spring semester of 2012 was full of ups and downs, trial and error, and lots of learning and growing.  I'm so glad I took a few hours each weekend to blog about what I was trying and how it was going.  You can see my journey on the Weekly Reflections ('11-'12) page as well as the completely incomplete and unscientific achievement data I collected on my students during the spring semester here.  I also continually gathered student feedback, quotes, thoughts, opinions, etc via formal surveys and informal conversations.  I blogged about most of those here. I was given the opportunity to share with a lot of people, including my school leadership team, my entire school staff, local teachers and admin who came to visit, with Troy Stein and Techsmith who made a video story of my students, and with hundreds of people online who attended the webinars I did through (see all of the archives here).  Things were crazy.  I barely had my head wrapped around this whole shift yet I was being asked to share with so many others. 

Summer of 2012 was a time of major planning, but also a time of great professional development.  I had the opportunity to go to ISTE in San Diego with three other teachers from my school and by far my favorite part was being able to connect with in person all of those people I had only been tweeting with over the last 6 months (see this blog post to see more about how to connect with these amazing educators!).  Carolyn, Graham, Jon, Aaron, Brian, Kristin, Troy, Stacey, Ramsey, Dan, Chris, Taylor & the Sophia Team, Eric & the MentorMob team... and many more.  In addition to making these personal connections (and proving that yes, I really do have brown hair), I was able to learn more and think about not only my flipped classroom, but using blogging in the math classroom, tons of amazing web tools and apps to both aid in student learning and engagement (and in time management for me as a teacher!), and lots more. You can check out all my ISTE posts here.  I never did go back and watch some of the sessions I wanted to online (life got busy!), but I still learned a ton.

I was also able to participate in FlipCon12 virtually since I wasn't able to fly out to Chicago.  It was still pretty awesome and I caught as many sessions as I could.  Here's the first in a series of posts about Flipcon (click on "newer post" to go to the next newest one, or check out the June 2012 blog archive).  One of the best parts of the virtual conference was connecting with others on Twitter, namely what has now become known as the "Cheesebucket Posse" (don't ask where the name came from, it's a really long story).  Thanks to the great timing of my husband taking a weeklong guys' camping trip, thus leaving me with a lot of time to sit around late at night lonely and bored (and spend on G+ Hangout), I was blessed with three of the most amazing friends ever.  Cheryl, Andrew, and Karl have become my closest confidants, my trustworthy PLN, and have challenged me, encouraged me, and supported me through this roller coaster of a year.

The online community created through the #flipclass hashtag on twitter as well as the FlipShare group on Edmodo has been such an amazing place to share ideas, ask questions, receive support, and just simply build relationships with like-minded educators - ones who want to support their students, engage their students, and inspire their students (whether they choose to flip their class or not).  Most Monday nights at 5pm PST there has been a twitter chat that has been so good in facilitating that discussion.  I wish I would have done a better job of tagging my blog posts (all 281 of them!) over the last year, but since I didn't, all of the amazing chat summary posts are kind of lost in the mix - but the learning that happened is amazing!  I've stepped away from social media in general for a while (hence my first and only post in December coming today!), but I will be jumping back in soon enough.

Because of all the connections I made over the summer, I was asked to participate in presenting at the CUE Flip Tour in both NorCal and SoCal.  It was a blast getting to work with Jon, Lisa, Will, and Danny and share my story with both new people and those I had connected with only virtually.  The resources from my presentations at those one-day workshops can be found here.

Starting off Year 2 was exciting and scary.  I had so many ideas and so many plans.  Many of them have come to fruition, but just as many have been put on the backburner, needing to be tweaked or just simply being "too much at once" for my students to handle.

I did a lot of thinking and planning about how I wanted to introduce the new way of teaching and learning to my students.  I also completely re-arranged my classroom seating, acquired some new tables, technology for students to use (thank you to our admin, school tech guy, and district tech specialist!!!), and made much better use of the space that I have.

 I have been very happy with this semester so far and feel much better about everything since I'm not trying out so many new things and making my students continually adjust to things.  I am still tweaking and changing things as needed and based on feedback and my students' needs, but it's dramatically less than last year.

I haven't been blogging as much this semester for several reasons.  One of which is what I just mentioned, I'm not trying out as much new stuff so there isn't as much to blog about.  I also just needed a mental break from the crazy Jan-June of teaching and then the even crazier Jun-Aug of PD.  But, my body was also starting to tell me that sleep and rest was going to become more and more important and essential (as many of you already know) as my husband and I are expecting our first little one at the beginning of June!  This shift in priorities (and energy, oh a lot of energy!!!) led me to take a break from most things online and focus on others... and oh we are so excited!

I am very excited to see how 2013 turns out.  I have two weeks of vacation left (lucky us, we get three weeks) and my goal is to have as much of my work done (packets edited and printed, videos edited, etc)  before heading back so I can enjoy the time both with my students and most importantly, with my husband and family before our little one comes.  I'll probably be taking off the last 6 weeks of school after state testing, so it's hard to believe my school year is very quickly winding down.  I am interested and intrigued to see how the flipped classroom runs the last 6 weeks with the long term sub, but I am confident that the self-directed, interactive learners I have been "training" my students to become will be in full swing by that point.  It will be a learning experience for all of us!

Thank you to everyone for joining me on this journey in 2012!  

I have loved meeting you, interacting with you, sharing with you, and growing together as we work towards our common goal of helping and supporting our students in the best ways we know how.  

I look forward to continuing to expand my PLN and to try new methods and ways to interact with and engage my students in their learning.

To conclude this very long post (congratulations if you made it through!)

Over the course of the year, I've put together a lot of resources to help teachers who are just starting out flipping or want some new ideas.  While putting them together, it was almost more helpful for me because I was able to wrap my head around exactly what I was doing, why I was doing it, and what exactly it was that was working/not working/needed tweaking.  Here are some of the most requested resources:

  • My FAQ page - What do all those acronyms mean? Can you give me a picture of what your Flipped Class looks like?  After receiving hundreds of emails with similar questions, I made a FAQ page that I point people towards as the first stop.
  • FlipClass Intro Letters and Videos - How do you introduce the flipped classroom to students and parents?  Over the summer we collected lots of letters and videos that educators across the world are using in their classes.  The document is still live to add your own if you wish.
  • "Links I think you should check out" - to the right you'll see a screenshot of the right side of my blog.  There are a ton of often-requested resources linked there.
    • The intro video I created for students to watch the first week of school
    • The video I created about my classroom that was used by MentorMob at the FlipCon12 Meet&Greet
    • Two Prezi's I created that have been used for multiple presentations and webinars
    • Two recent Webinar archives of the presentations I have done with (all archives can be found on the Presentations and Publicity pages, these are just the most recent archive for each of the two presentations)
    • The "Flipped Class Flow Chart" I created to explain the process that my students go through on a daily basis
    • The letter I created for parents about the flipped classroom, including a link to the short video I made for them.
    • Information on HOT questions, how I use Songs and Chants in my math classes, and the two student sites that host all of my materials, videos, resources, and content.

Friday, November 30, 2012

WSQ Webinar Archive from 11/29/12

If you missed my most recent webinar on Thursday, November 29th, check it out here!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Free Webinar on the WSQ Thurs 11/29

I'm hosting another #flipclass webinar through on Thursday, November 29th, 4pm PST.  I will be talking more specifically about my flipped class and how I use the WSQ as an organization, processing, accountability, and discussion tool.  Check it out if you are available!

Free registration here!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I am...

Sometimes we all need to be reminded who we are as teachers. Here is my reminder. I encourage you to write your own.

I am a teacher who cares, probably more than I honestly should.

I am a teacher who wants the best for her students, maybe even better than they believe themselves capable.

I am a teacher who wants to see her students who have had little success with math in their past realize that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.

I am a teacher who strives for the best in everything I do, and expects the same from my students even if they don't believe it at first.

I am a teacher who faces struggles, as every educator does, and am willing to share them openly instead of keeping them inside because learning is messy and it’s important to involve other supportive teachers in our mess.

I am a teacher who is learning and wants to learn with her fellow educators with the goal of helping our students succeed.

I am a teacher who is willing to try new things, and continually tweak and refine them until I find what is working - and then keep working to make it better.

I am a teacher who is always looking for new ways to connect with, inspire, encourage, and motivate her students.

I am a teacher who believes that while every student can learn, they may just not have the skills to do so and must be taught, encouraged, cajoled, inspired, and otherwise lovingly "harassed" into building those skills.

I am a teacher who teaches more than math; I teach life.  And I probably teach life sometimes more than I teach math because those are the lessons that stick for a lifetime.

Long after my students have forgotten how to write the equation of a line, they come back to me either in person or online to chat and to tell me where life has taken them.  These are the things that I hear consistently:

  • "Your class was the first class I actually felt like I could succeed at math"
  • "Your class was the first math class I actually learned and understood the material"
  • “I didn’t like math when I came into your class.  Now, I really enjoy it!”
  • "You made me work harder than I ever would have worked on my own, and I'm so grateful for that"
  • "You made learning fun, even when I didn't feel like trying"
  • “You taught me that hard work pays off”
  • “You taught me that I am capable of succeeding at anything I put my mind to”
  • “I wish more teachers taught like you, you make math fun to learn”
And those are from A students, B students, C students, D students, and yes, even F students.  They all come back and tell me these things.

I know I am a great teacher.

I know that every year is a journey and that every group of students presents different challenges to overcome.  I have never given up on a group of students.  Ever.  Even though I truly believe my students struggle with knowing how to learn and succeed in an academic setting does not mean I don’t believe they are capable of growing, changing, learning how to learn tough material, learning how to succeed at things that aren’t easy.  Even if it takes all year.  

And that is why I have chosen to build my classroom around the flipped classroom mindset, not always to teach them the required math content in an efficient and effective way, but to teach them those life skills that they will take with them beyond my class and beyond my subject matter.  

To build relationships with them because I get to interact with every single student every single day, so they know there are adults they can turn to and trust even with non-academic matters.  
To teach them how to take responsibility for their learning and to become independent learners.  To prepare them for life, where they will have to think critically and build relationships with those around them in order to succeed.  
To continue to model and teach them the skills that will prepare them to be able to learn and succeed at anything they put their minds to.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My flipped classroom - in 3 minutes or less :)

Last May, I had the privilege of having Troy Stein from Techsmith come and record my flipped classes all day, interviewing some students, and just capturing the atmosphere and environment of the craziness that ensues on a daily basis!

Well, as he said, "Good things come to those who wait!"... Here it is!  Enjoy :)

Thanks Troy and team!  You guys are amazing!!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Free Webinar with the Flipped Learning Network!

Check out the Flipped Learning Network's webinar series! 

This Wednesday, 11/14, at 4pm EST (1pm PST) I will be co-leading a Flipped Class webinar focused on math with the amazing Stacey Roshan (@buddyxo;

Register for free here!

Update: You should also be able to access the archive of the webinar through the registration link.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My biggest struggle this year...

This is an original post from earlier this week.  I have decided to repost it after taking it down for a few days.  My purpose in writing this was to ask for help, and my audience was my PLN.  In the end, someone not familiar with me, my students, and my educational philosophy took it out of context as representative of me and my approach with students.  And instead of offering help and support, I became the subject of an intense attack about my choice of words, my ability as a teacher, and my attitude towards my students.  My purpose in writing this blog was and will continue to be to make my classroom transparent and to share both my successes and my failures, my good days and my struggles.  

I've hidden and disabled comments on this post.  That is not to censor anyone.  But rather, to protect me and my PLN from further scrutiny.  We welcome healthy debate, and we by no means always agree with one another. But we also believe in respectful dialogue and that does not seem possible on this post at this time.

In closing, I believe all students are capable of learning and of succeeding academically, even when they don't believe it themselves.  I am a hard-working teacher who strives to find ways to reach even the lowest students.  As they come into my life year after year, they present different challenges and struggles that must be overcome.  

This year, it seems to be the struggle of knowing how to truly learn and not just answer bubble tests like they have been asked to do their entire educational lives.  It is the struggle of getting past years of failure in math to believe they can succeed and begin to take the steps towards that success.  It is the struggle of learning that "It's better to try and fail than to not try at all".  

These are real struggles.  They are true struggles.  I acknowledge them with my online PLN, with my students in class as a group and individually, and with my colleagues and administration on campus.  We are not giving up on these students.  We still believe in them, and nothing will ever change that.  They are wonderful, talented, amazing teenagers.  However, we must continue to search for ways to reach them and challenge them academically.

Thus was the purpose of sharing my frustrations and my challenges.  I want to help my students succeed in the public education system that I work in.  Some things I am trying are working, some are not.  Some things I try are reaching some students but not others.  So I continue to work. I continue to build relationships. I continue to try new strategies.  I continue to share ideas with other educators who have the same goal as me.

As you read, hear my passion for these students.  Hear my desire to find ways to overcome these barriers. Hear my struggle and how I am willing to share it on a blog that anyone can read instead of hiding and only presenting the successes.

Don’t just listen to what I have to say.

Hear me.

Thank you for reading.


My Algebra 1 classes are a piece of work this year.

From Day 1, I did notice some differences - and these are good ones!  The kids are great kids.  They are nice kids.  I feel like I know them a lot better, a lot earlier (thanks to the flipped classroom).  I feel like the classroom environment is generally positive, and even though I have to "get on them" often, it is done in a positive way.  For the most part, even though there are struggles, I don't dread these classes at all - which I can't say about some periods in prior years.

They struggle a lot with maturity issues (wait your turn in line, clean up after yourself, be patient, stop talking when you are asked to, etc).  Things I don't think I should have to deal with when they are 14 or 15, but sadly, it is one of the hardest parts of this year.  I am losing patience daily because I feel that at this point of the year (1/3 of the way done!), they should have come along in those areas.  But, the more I think about it, the more I am realizing I have to UNDO years of training and years of entitlement and years of being able to act however they want.

It's hard.

However, this is not even my biggest struggle.

Here it is:

My students don't know how to learn.  They don't know how to succeed.  And, it doesn't seem like they care to change any of that. 

And, (which is the hardest part), they do not seem to be trying any of the learning strategies, success strategies, and tips that I teach and model for them.  I have spent SO MUCH time this year talking about how to be successful, how to learn, etc... and it seems like it is all a waste.

Every single day, students have the opportunity to get help, to ask questions, and to re-learn material.  I try to do small group teaching a few times a week depending on the content.  I walk around constantly and check their work, ask how they are doing, etc.

But the majority of my students will sit there, work out every problem wrong, and then come call me over just to get my signature on their chart that their work is "done" even though their work is wrong.  While they are working on it, they tell me "I don't need any help, I am getting it", so I go and work with the students who need help or who are asking questions.  I ask them if they checked their answers and if they need help on any of them, and they say "oh yeah I checked them and they are all right".  So, (hopefully, if I have the time), I will spot check a few problems and notice total errors, so I ask them to look at the answer key for "#12".  They tell me the answer, and it is completely different from the one they have written down.  They say, "oh, I must have forgotten to check that one."


I don't know how to deal with this... everything I have tried has failed.  They just aren't getting it.  I can't help students who just don't want to learn.

With 39 low-level freshmen and sophomores who are used to failing are all stuffed into one class, it's overwhelming.  Even with the flipped classroom, I feel drained trying to get around to every student and making sure their questions get answered.  Their group members are more than capable of helping them, but it doesn't happen when:

(1) students don't ask for help (and when I ask them if they asked their group, they will flat out lie and say "they said they wouldn't help me" and when I ask the group members, of course, they were never asked...) and when

(2) students sit there and are oblivious to the fact they  need help because they refuse to check their answers.

#flipclass in my afternoon Math Analysis Honors classes?  Amazing. Wonderful. Inspiring. Awesome.  

#flipclass in my morning Algebra 1 CP classes?  I'm drained. I'm exhausted. I just want to help them learn. I just want them to ask questions when they need to. I just want them to understand. I just want them to want to learn. I just want them to care.

Progress. Soon. Please.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Two encouraging bits of feedback

On Thursday I had to leave early for an appointment and had one of my teacher friends cover my 5th period class.  She teaches English and I wasn't really expecting much, although my kids are generally pretty good in that class.  I saw her on Friday and asked how it went.  And basically, here's what she said:

"Crystal, what you are doing with your students is amazing.  I mean, I was walking around monitoring, but they were on task, working, having high-level mathematical conversations, helping each other, questioning each other's work, and focused on their work without their 'real' teacher there."
  • Students taking responsibility for their learning
  • Focus of class time on the students and their needs
  • Focus of class time on higher-order thinking skills instead of rote memorization

Isn't that my definition of the flipped class?

And I wasn't even there to guide it, structure it, monitor it, and make sure it happens.


Last week I had my formal observation by my administrator.  Since I only get observed once every two years, nobody has formally seen a whole class period of my "flipped class", just bits and pieces in walk throughs.  I was nervous because he wanted to see my freshmen class and I still think they are a little crazy.

When class was over, I chatted with him real quick before my next class started coming in, and simply asked, "What did you think?"

His response?

"That was amazing."

I chatted with him a few days later for our follow-up and the main things that he noticed were that I had fourteen year olds on task, self-directing their own work, and making decisions about what they needed to do... and that doesn't happen with normal "fourteen year old classrooms".   He was impressed that although I was walking around the whole period, did a small group re-teaching, and some other stuff, it didn't seem like the students needed that constant monitoring.  He noticed that I got to interact with every student and all students had the opportunity to ask questions of each other (student talk) and of me when needed.

My perspective?  I still think my freshmen classes are crazy.  Maybe it's because compared to my Math Analysis Honors classes, they are.  I still feel like they need constant monitoring and I still feel like they waste  A LOT of time in class and have VERY POOR time management skills.  I honestly don't know if that is something that can be taught or if it just something to be emphasized and the students have to figure it out and value it on their own.

Only time will tell...

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.

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,


Saturday, September 29, 2012

#flipclass 2012-2013 Week 5b Reflections: Highs and Lows
Week 6 is over, and what a week it's been.  Lots of highs and lows, for sure.  I just realized that in our school calendar, this was really "week 5", since the first half-week doesn't really count.  So I'm going to call this "week 5b" :)

From being out in meetings all day Monday, to benchmarks and tests in all my classes, to a webinar with Bill Nye during 4th period, to the devastating news of a student's death on Friday...this week has just been mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting...

This also marks the coming of the first "report cards" on Friday, so I will be doing my first formal "evaluation" survey with my students. I sent it out today and it is due on Friday.  I'll be sure to blog about that next weekend or the following week. :)

Random fun stuff:

  • I have another webinar coming up through on Tuesday, October 9th at 4pm PST.  It will be a different presentation than my other webinars and focus more on the different ways I use the WSQ to organize my class, help my students to process material, hold my students accountable, and promote discussion.  You can register here.  Sign up now, as "seating" is limited!
  • On Wednesday, I got to be a special guest on a Bill Nye Skype Webinar hosted by and Capella University.  My portion is from about 5 minutes until 15 minutes into the webinar.  Check it out here

algebra 1.

Using videos for productivity with subs. I was out of my classroom on Monday for a leadership meeting, so I used that time to have my students put together their "flipbook" for Chapter 2b.  I really don't think it is that hard of a task, but getting 40 students to fold, cut, and glue things in the right place at the same time is much harder than you would think.  The students were supposed to view the video over the weekend (only a few did), and then they watched it together in class.  It was only a ten minute instruction video, but most of the kids didn't finish putting it together in class because it took them so long to cut and glue.

Anyways, I think it was a good use of a time when I was out for the students to accomplish a task I needed them to get done in a day I wasn't there.

"Ticket to the test" update. In other news, my "ticket to the test" policy is coming along... okay...  Students had their FOURTH opportunity to take Chapter 1 yesterday, and I still have (I think) 9 students out of my 75 Algebra 1 students who haven't taken it.  This is with reminders, student conferences, and parent phone calls.  I'm not sure what else to do.  I have several students in each of my classes who have literally done nothing all year.  I call home and talk with the parents and the parents say, "Okay, we will do it all this weekend and I'll make sure he's caught up on Monday." Then the kid shows up Monday with absolutely nothing done.  What do I do in that case? I've enlisted all the help I can, and still nothing.  The few students left will be going up to the office next week to talk with counselors and admin, but I fear they are so far behind at this point and so lowly motivated I'm not sure what the next step should be.  This only applies to a few students in each class, but still...

Student meetings. I have been having individual meetings with all my students who got D's or F's on the Chapter 1 test for Algebra 1.  I only have a few left to meet with (besides the 9 that haven't even taken the darn test!).  I hope what we talked about in the meetings stick with the kids.  Most of all, I hope they realize that I care about them and their success, and I am here to support them.  Sometimes that's what students need to know - that school is a place they can come where they can trust people and get support.  I'm hoping this relationship building goes a long way come the end of the year.

I had a meeting with three of my Algebra 1 students yesterday after they came in to (finally) take the Chapter 1 test.  I knew that none of them were ready, but they showed me all their "work" and said they had it all done, even though it was obvious to me they didn't really understand what they were doing and all their practice answers were wrong.  But, at this point, I realized that no more of my talking was going to matter until they had personal experience.  So, when they were done I sat down with them and their Chapter 1 tests, looking at the last 5 questions on the distributive property/combining like terms.  All three of them made the same mistakes (if they got -2b-5 as their answer, they would write -7 because they thought they could combine them together).  We opened up to their PQ problems in their notebook and... wa-la... they had done the same mistake in all their PQ's, but didn't care they had gotten the answer wrong.  We had a nice discussion about how to get help BEFORE the test and why it's important.  I gave them the analogy that they had a really bad habit of just "being okay with sucking at math" because they are used to failing and getting moved on, which is what happens in intermediate school.  I told them it was like having a habit of not brushing their teeth.  That's a habit that needs to be broken, because brushing your teeth is something you need to do.  Showing up confused, not asking questions, not checking answers to PQ problems, being okay with just being wrong over and over again and not putting forth the effort to get help... that's a bad habit that must be broken.  It really seemed to click with them, but we'll see if it spurs them to any action...

Chapter 2a Test Results. The Chapter 2a test came with interesting results.  For Chapter 1, I had about 26 period 1 students and 13 period 2 students not ready for the test on the first day.  For Chapter 2, I had only 5 period 1 students but 18 period 2 students not prepared on Thursday.  I was very happy with the period 1 results... not so happy with period 2.  I have a lot of concerns with that class.  First, they are already a "lower" class in terms of ability, they have been my "behavior problem" class (even though with the seating change that has improved greatly), and I seem to have a lot of students in the boat of "oh yeah, I get it" when they really need a lot of help.   I have really tried to focus with them in small groups, but when it comes down to it, I think it is a huge motivation issue.  I currently have no A's, 3-4 B's, 3-4 C's, a couple D's, and the rest F's... and most of those F's are because the students haven't taken either the Chapter 1 or Chapter 2a test... so they just don't have any scores in the gradebook!  Report cards go home on Friday and I hope those numbers change greatly by then since this week there are still more makeups... but I have a feeling they won't...

Update on the week based on my plans and goals I wrote in Week 5

I'm keeping the same four goals in Algebra 1 for a while, because I feel like they are points of focus for the entire year.  Sometimes in this class I get so overwhelmed by the management of it all.  I have students at all different levels, students that literally need babysitting to even get a pencil out, and students who are ready to be about 3 weeks ahead of the class if only I was ready.  I would say that is my biggest struggle with teaching Algebra 1, but it is made easier with the flipped classroom because I am able to differentiate better.

1. Make intentional time to "interview" and talk with every group about the math.
2. Actually look through my students' work in their notebooks. Ask them questions. Have them work out the problems in front of me.
3. Ask students to solve problems on their mini-whiteboards more often for me to look at.
4. Make intentional time for "small group" instruction on whatever concepts I feel need the most focus.  

algebra 1. My plans and goals for this next week:
I feel like the four goals I have listed above are ones I want to keep for a while, until they are accomplished or become such routine and habit that I am doing them without even thinking about it.

1. Make intentional time to "interview" and talk with every group about the math.
2. Actually look through my students' work in their notebooks. Ask them questions. Have them work out the problems in front of me.
3. Ask students to solve problems on their mini-whiteboards more often for me to look at.
4. Make intentional time for "small group" instruction on whatever concepts I feel need the most focus.  

    algebra 1. My continued focus for improvement: 

    1. I still haven't really done anything with the HOT questions in class, besides ask the students if they got them answered.
    2. WSQ resubmissions are coming along and many students are "figuring it out", but there are just as many who haven't.  I don't know if their writing skills are that poor or if they don't understand the expectations.  Either way, still need to grow here!

    math analysis.

    Inquiry bust on Monday.  I tried something new on Monday. It completely busted.  Part of it was because I wasn't there.  Part of it is because my students are still used to being spoonfed.  But, it was a learning experience.  

    I had planned this activity for a while before I knew it would fall on a day I was going to be out, but I thought I would give it a try anyways.  For the first lesson of Unit G, I had my students watch a video that just laid the framework for the unit.  It gave them the basic vocabulary and told them a little bit about each part (rational functions).  However, I did NOT tell them how to put the pieces together and how to graph them functions.  

    For three days before I was going to be out, I warned my students about the "new activity" they would be doing on Monday.  I tried to explain what I expected from them.  Let's just say it wasn't a good thing to try for the first time when I wasn't there to support, encourage, and guide them.

    Some students did fine.  Most of the class, however, said "this is too hard", "she didn't teach us", "how can she expect us to know how to do this", "I don't get this".  Those are the same responses I am sure they would have said to me if I was there.  And I would have guided them along or prompted them to use their resources (notes, extra videos, textbooks, each other).  However, for the most part, that didn't happen.  Needless to say, they got a very bad report from the sub because most of them just chose to sit there pouting the whole period.  That led to a nice little conversation the next day...

    I might try this again... but I will definitely be there in class the day that I do!

    Blog posts as the "S" in the WSQ. For Unit G, instead of typing their full WSQ into the Google Form, I had them do the "S" portion as a blog post.  If you go to my student site, you can see the blogroll on the right hand side and read what some of the kids wrote.  Some are great, some are good, some have to be re-done.  However, I like that the "bar of quality" was raised a bit because they were publishing it, and I did actually read every single post and make comments on what needed to be fixed. I liked that students could add a little creativity to their answers by utilizing the bold, italics, underline, color, highlighting, font size, etc... all things they don't have with the google form.  I also required them to include an image, although some of them didn't necessarily choose images that went well with paragraph.

    In all, the students had to do ten "blog posts", each that were a paragraph and is the same amount of work that would be done in a normal WSQ, just separated out and published elsewhere.  However, there are a few takeaways from this experience. 
    1. Don't do as many posts in one chapter.  Maybe just choose one or two summary questions I really want them to publish.  Even though I hope the caliber of writing and focus is "blog-post good" in the google form, I know it's not and my students spent a lot more time trying for "perfection" on the posts.
    2.  Start including peer-reading the next time.  Blogs are still being set up, and I don't want to overwhelm the students with reading others and commenting as a requirement yet.  But it's definitely something I want to do.
    3. Better instructions at the beginning.  My instructions were not that clear (you can see the post on the home page of the class blog that talks them through what to do, but that was posted AFTER a lot of students had already started writing).

    RSS readers are glorious for keeping track of this :)

    Student-created videos.  Unit F saw the first student created video.  You can see the very basic instructions I've put together for my students here.  Like always, there are some great ones and some crappy ones.  Some students are having a hard time explaining themselves clearly and precisely.  But, we'll get better :)  These are also posted on student blogs if you want to check them out.  They have a page called "Student Videos". 

    Complaints without suggestions. This week marked the tipping point for some of my "complainers".  I finally put a stop to it on Wednesday and told them that my classroom is flipped and will be flipped and no complaints are going to stop it or make it change.  I basically told them that the complaints need to stop and I'm not going to put up with them anymore. (a little cheer inside for me right now!).  I told them that if they have a "complaint" with a solution/suggestion for another way to do something, to please bring it to me.  But the complaints for the sake of complaints because they just feel like it are done, over, and I'm not dealing with them anymore.

    On Thursday, I had (for the first time!) a few kids come up and tell me how much they really love the flipped classroom and how good it is for them.  I was really grateful after a long week that they took the time to do that.
    Why are we flipping? With that conversation, I also spent a little time going over with my students some of the reasons WHY I flip my class and WHY I have them do all the different activities like writing their own problems, recording their own videos, blogging, etc.  This led to an explanation of Bloom's Taxonomy and how so many classes are focused on the bottom two levels of remembering and understanding, but I am trying to provide opportunities for them to apply, analyze, evaluate, and create.  I told them that all classrooms are starting to focus more on the higher levels, but I am just someone who is willing to put my "neck on the line" and do it first, when students are still uncomfortable with it.  The pyramid visual really helped a lot of my students (from what they told me) to have a purpose behind what we are doing.  I definitely need to introduce it sooner in the year next year.

    "Ticket to the test" update. After the Unit E catastrophe with a ton of students (1/3) not coming prepared, Unit F was better.  I only had 8, 10, and 2 students not ready for the test. (In classes of 28, 38, and 28).  And... EVERY STUDENT WHO TOOK THE TEST ON THE FIRST "CLASS" DAY GOT A "C" OR HIGHER ON THE TEST! That has NEVER happened before!  I hope my remaining 20 students can pull through as well (2nd chance is on Wednesday morning), but how exciting is that!

    Update on the week based on my plans and goals I wrote in Week 5

    1. Meetings with students who did not succeed on Unit E test.  Look at their PQs, SSS packets, study habits, work habits in class, time management, etc... all to help them get on the right track. 

    • Only 1 happened this week. I was focused on the algebra 1 kids...

    2. Hold students more accountable for getting a few things signed of EVERY DAY on their WSQ chart, including quizzes.  A little hand holding might go a long way in helping them learn time management.

    • I've tried to do a better job with this, but it still needs to be emphasized.

    3. Students will be blogging the summary part of the WSQ this week... it will be interesting to see how it goes!

    • see comments above

      math analysis. My plans and goals for this next week:
      1. Meetings with students who did not succeed on Unit E test.  Look at their PQs, SSS packets, study habits, work habits in class, time management, etc... all to help them get on the right track. 

      2. Hold students more accountable for getting a few things signed of EVERY DAY on their WSQ chart, including quizzes.  A little hand holding might go a long way in helping them learn time management.

      math analysis. My continued focus for improvement: 

      1. Challenging the students that need challenging and working with the struggling students (I already know exactly who they are).

      2. Continuing to do small group teaching at the U every day as needed.

      Saturday, September 22, 2012

      #flipclass 2012-2013 Week 5 Reflections: loving the changes!


      Week 5 - Check!

      The school year is in full swing and I feel like some things are finally starting to become routine.  Here are the highlights:
      • Four new visitors
        • The other two Algebra 1 teachers and then two teachers from another school site came on Tuesday to see what was happening in my flipped class.  All of them were really impressed with what they saw - again, with the students interacting with each other and the way they were able to work together.
        • The other two Algebra 1 teachers at my site will be beginning to flip their classes soon, and this gave them a great visual perspective of what the flipped classroom actually looks like, and it allowed them to see that it is more than the videos.   They stayed all day so were able to see both Algebra 1 and Math Analysis (two different worlds!). I'm excited to work with them and continue to give them ideas as they make the transition
      • Loved the new classroom setup
        • U-Shaped small group is amazing. Well worth the hard work of moving those super-heavy tables!
      • Algebra 1 students making videos
      • First sub day = amazing
        • I am out once a week for the next 7 weeks and about 20 times total all year.  I will be having one of my friends sub for me every time and it was wonderful to find out that the first day went AMAZING... even with my freshmen! It gives me so much more confidence when leaving my classes this year that the days will go well :)
      • Other Posts this week:
        • none. This week was crazy. I'm hoping to breathe a little this weekend

      algebra 1.

      seating change. It was time to change seats in Algebra 1, so on Monday they got a new seating chart now that I know their names and a little more about them.  So far, it has been really great this week and I haven't had some of the issues I had in weeks past.  

      new room arrangement. In addition to new groups, I also utilized the "u-shaped" small group area I showed in last week's reflection and it was really really really awesome!  I looked at the online WSQ responses and recorded how many of the "secret questions" the students got correct.  The students that got 0 or 1 correct I asked to come to the middle table once the WSQ chat was over.  We worked through the PQ problems together.  It was actually really neat! (I know I've already said that a lot, but seriously it went so well!).  I would go over one with them "normal teaching style" with them helping me.  Then, I would have them try one with the people around them while I did a quick walk around the room.  Then, we would go over one again together but with them telling me the steps. Sometimes, I would have the students do it on the whiteboard.  It was just awesome to feel like I was able to reach the needs of the struggling learners, help them feel confident, and pull them out of the "normal group setting" where they might be afraid to ask questions and get help.

      Some students felt they understood it (even though the missed the questions the previous night), so I did make them stay for a couple examples and then they could go back to their group if they felt confident.

      student created videos. Thursday and Friday my students made their first "teaching" videos for Chapter 1a Concept 3. They had to write their own equation, solve it with a partner, and then record the videos.  These are far from ideal, but they are better than I expected :).

      The instructions I gave them were:
      1. Work out the problem on paper first to make sure you are doing it correctly.
      2. Both partners must talk through the problem at some point.

      Structure for the video:
      1. "Hi, this is _____ and _____ from period ___. Today we are going to be doing a Chapter ____ Concept ___ problem."
      2. State the problem
      3. Solve it step by step
      4. "Thank you for watching"

      Areas for improvement
      1. Some groups still solved the problem wrong!
      2. Some groups talked so quietly it was hard to hear them
      3. Some groups recorded in the middle of the classroom where the background noise was really loud rather than going to the corner, to the back room, or right outside.

      Plans for next time:
      1. Students will have to watch their own video and write at least two positives and two places for improvement.
      2. Students will have to watch at least one other group (maybe 2) and do the same thing
      3. Class discussion on making better videos

      See the Algebra 1 videos below :)

      Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!

      Chapter 1 Test results.  My students did very well overall, although I am still waiting for about 10-12 students to take the test (that's another story, they will have opportunity #4 coming up next Friday after yet ANOTHER phone conversation with the parents).  Once I get all the test results I'll post the data but overall I am very impressed. I can't really compare this to last year because I don't know if the kids are comparable yet (I guess I could look at CST scores?).  We'll see, once I have time to sift through it.
      Update on the week based on my plans and goals I wrote in Week 4

      1. Make intentional time to "interview" and talk with every group about the math.

      • I feel like I am getting time in every day to talk with every student, but I still want to improve the quality of the conversation and focus it less on "how are you doing, what did you get done" to actually "quizzing them" about the math and having them explain things to me.

      2. Actually look through my students' work in their notebooks. Ask them questions. Have them work out the problems in front of me.

      • I checked through a lot more this week.  The student-created videos are also a very eye-opening tool

      3. Ask students to solve problems on their mini-whiteboards more often for me to look at.

      4. Make intentional time for "small group" instruction on whatever concepts I feel need the most focus.  

      • Yay for my new seating arrangement! This makes it so much easier!

      algebra 1. My plans and goals for this next week:
      I feel like the four goals I have listed above are ones I want to keep for a while, until they are accomplished or become such routine and habit that I am doing them without even thinking about it.

      1. Make intentional time to "interview" and talk with every group about the math.
      2. Actually look through my students' work in their notebooks. Ask them questions. Have them work out the problems in front of me.
      3. Ask students to solve problems on their mini-whiteboards more often for me to look at.
      4. Make intentional time for "small group" instruction on whatever concepts I feel need the most focus.  

        algebra 1. My continued focus for improvement: 

        1. I still haven't really done anything with the HOT questions in class, besides ask the students if they got them answered.
        2. WSQ resubmissions are coming along and many students are "figuring it out", but there are just as many who haven't.  I don't know if their writing skills are that poor or if they don't understand the expectations.  Either way, still need to grow here!

        math analysis.

        It's been a good, but long, week.  Monday was the Unit E Test and I had 1/3 of my students NOT come prepared.  They got a nice "friendly" conversation before calling home and telling their parents they weren't allowed to take the test until the make-up day of Friday.  The students were disappointed, frustrated, and mad at themselves.

        So, of course I expected wonderful things Friday morning.

        Instead, students saunter in when they wanted to (7am sharp was the test time), didn't have their WSQ charts signed off yet and expected me to look through all their work that morning, or didn't even have the assignments complete still.

        Needless to say, they got another "talk" and it wasn't a friendly one.  And I personally called the parents. (still have a few more to get to). 

        So, the big question I am asking myself is: "Is this 'stress' going to be worth it once students figure it out?".  My answer right now is YES. I can't give up on my "policy" of requiring students to be ready to take the test by having all assignments completed just because 1/3 of the students struggled with taking responsibility and managing their time the first time around.  I expect much fewer students to be in that group on Thursday for the Unit F Test.  The next opportunity to make up Unit E is Friday, so they have a busy week.

        Students have created their blogs for the most part and will start posting on it this week.  For Unit G, instead of typing their Guided summary answers on the google form, they will be posting them on their blog.  The main purpose in this is to get used to using the blog for simple posting, working with the text tools, and adding images.  They are also learning how to embed videos and MentorMob playlists into their blog posts and pages.

        In other news, let's see:

        • Did small group teaching at the U once this week and it was really helpful for the students who needed it
        • Students are taking more initiative in taking quizzes in class (although if it's a retake they really should be doing it on their own time).
        • Students are working hard and are self-directed and focused for the majority of the class period.

        Update on the week based on my plans and goals I wrote in Week 4

        1. Meetings with students who did not succeed on Unit E test.  Look at their PQs, SSS packets, study habits, work habits in class, time management, etc... all to help them get on the right track. 

        • These will be happening next week since I had so many students not take the test.

        2. Hold students more accountable for getting a few things signed of EVERY DAY on their WSQ chart, including quizzes.  A little hand holding might go a long way in helping them learn time management.

        • I've tried to do a better job with this, but it still needs to be emphasized.

        math analysis. My plans and goals for this next week:
        1. Meetings with students who did not succeed on Unit E test.  Look at their PQs, SSS packets, study habits, work habits in class, time management, etc... all to help them get on the right track. 

        2. Hold students more accountable for getting a few things signed of EVERY DAY on their WSQ chart, including quizzes.  A little hand holding might go a long way in helping them learn time management.

        3. Students will be blogging the summary part of the WSQ this week... it will be interesting to see how it goes!

        math analysis. My continued focus for improvement: 

        1. Challenging the students that need challenging and working with the struggling students (I already know exactly who they are).

        2. Continuing to do small group teaching at the U every day as needed.
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