Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The struggle between freedom and responsibility

This is a 9pm one take post.  It kind of rambles.  Hopefully it makes sense. I'd love your thoughts.

In my honors class, I'm struggling with the balance between asynchronous "work at your own pace" and "here's the deadlines, you need to meet them".

Here's what I'm doing now:

Students have their WSQ chart with "deadlines" for when certain WSQs need to be submitted and when we are going to have our discussions for certain concepts.  They are expected to be keeping up with the pace of the class in terms of being introduced to the content...

However, I try to be flexible with the students and understanding if they are a day behind or if they just couldn't get the WSQ done for some reason.  My mantra is, "You can work ahead, but you can't fall behind", but I definitely have students who are a day behind here or there.

The problem is that they don't catch back up. 

I want to give them that little bit of freedom.  I want to relieve a little bit of stress in their lives if they have a lot going on one day/week.  But I also expect them to take responsibility and make sure they get caught up instead of always being a day behind.

Because of the freedom I give my students, I'm already sensing some students are starting off the 2nd semester taking advantage of that freedom.  They aren't working 100% in class, they are very unfocused, and there is no drive or desire to make sure to get their work done... they'll "get it done later". (That doesn't mean they aren't doing ANYTHING in class... it just means they are behind and aren't making any effort to catch back up, they are just going with the flow at a slow pace).

Tomorrow is the first test of the 2nd semester.  Students have known for 2.5 weeks that they must:

  • Finish 6 PQ assignments
    • All PQ assignments were supposed to be completed by the end of class on Friday.  On Tuesday when I saw my students again after a 3-day weekend, I had some students who hadn't even begun PQ6
  • Submit "Collaborative Answer Key" (a picture of ONE of their PQ problems to share with classmates)
    • Collaborative Answer Key submissions could have been submitted for over a week and a half as students worked out problems.  I had received less than half by class time on Tuesday.
  • Take 6 Concept quizzes
    • Concept quizzes are supposed to be taken the day after they practice the assignment to assess their true knowledge, comprehension, and application.  I had at least 40% of the students on Tuesday who hadn't even started them.  I used to "demand" that certain quizzes be taken certain days, but again I like giving them the freedom (and thus responsibility) to take the quizzes when they are ready for them.  However, when they wait until the last day to take the quizzes, they (and I) don't get the formative feedback needed to make corrections and provide support before the test.  Most of them don't see it that way, so I need to do a better job of explaining purpose (like most things).  However, it also causes me stress because I'm sitting here the night before the test seeing horrible errors that should have been caught way beforehand.  However, students do great when they are working in groups, able to ask questions, and able to refer to their notes.  They think they don't need the help.  That is why the quizzes are so vital - can they really do it on their own?  If not, where are they struggling?  If they never take the quizzes with time for feedback, how can we discuss that?

I don't want to "enforce" quiz days because it goes against one of my goals of relieving student anxiety and, again, giving them freedom and responsibility for their learning.  But if they can't manage it on their own, do I need to re-think that?  Also, it's not all kids, so how do I enforce it with some and not with others who don't need it?  I have to do this with my lower Alg1 kids, but I feel like my honors 11th-12th graders should be able to handle it.  Have I gotten too lax??

Maybe I'm just tired and frustrated tonight.  Maybe they will surprise me greatly on the exam tomorrow.  Honestly, from what I've seen, I highly doubt it.  Regardless, we need to talk about "you can work ahead but you can't fall behind" and talk about what that really means.  Making no progress is not an option.  For example, I have a student who consistently is behind but consistently blames it on going out of town for extracurricular events many weekends... but this student does nothing during the week to try to get ahead or caught up.  Once in a while, that is okay... but when it becomes a consistent habit, it just doesn't cut it anymore.  This student is taking advantage of the "freedom" I am giving and not taking "responsibility" for him/herself, his/her actions, his/her commitments, etc.  The excuses have to stop and responsibility must be taken.


That comes to students not taking tests with the rest of the class, which was a total bust first semester.  Those students never ended up catching up and were my only F's.  Pretty much all A's and B's with a few C's... and then some F's.  Only 10 total I believe out of 95 - but still way too many when these students were capable of passing but just didn't have the inner drive and dedication to succeed.

When students don't take the test with the class, they are given a make-up date.  It's on my schedule and my calendar, usually about a week later.  However, I did nothing to hold the students accountable between original and make-up test dates.  They had to start the new unit with the class (so they didn't fall further behind), but tested with a new version on the make-up date.  The only reason they would not be prepared is if they didn't take advantage of all the time given to them in class and tutoring opportunities available.  For example, we have done nothing new all week - just practice and review... test tomorrow.  If a student isn't ready, then what were they doing the last 2 days to get ready?  I did not see a lot of urgency during class time from any of the students who have contacted me saying they don't think they'll be ready...

My only thoughts is something like, "If you don't test on the class test day, you must come for ____ outside of class tutorings before the make-up day".  I might try that and see how it works - tutoring is big at our school anyways so it's not something new for the kids.


Okay, I need to get to bed.  If you got through this, I'm impressed.  And wondering if it made any darn sense, so please let me know your thoughts.   

I want to give my students that freedom.  But I also want them to take responsibility for that freedom and not take advantage of it.  I think that is the line that is not clear right now.

Remember... these are my Honors kids.  Juniors and Seniors.  Great kids, smart kids,... busy kids..., but totally capable kids.  But, like most teenagers, I'm giving them an inch and they are taking that mile...

The only question is - how do I make it more clear?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Flipped Classroom in the News!

I was excited to find last night that the article I was interviewed for a few weeks ago was published!  It is AP, so you can find it just about anywhere (including USA Today!!!), but here is the link to it in my local paper, the OC Register.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Arranging a room for #flipclass

I finally remembered to take some pictures (and a short video + aerial view at the bottom) of my classroom so you could see the layout of how I have it organized.  

I am VERY happy with the layout this year and the changes I made from last year until now (plus, some awesome new acquisitions in the form of tables and computers helped a bit :)).  It's must more efficient but more importantly, conducive to the collaborative, somewhat asynchronous classroom environment I want.  It allows the students to do everything they need to do during class time, and there is space for individual, large group, and small group work - or anything else we need to do!

(By the way, yes I am lucky to have a large classroom, one of the largest on campus.  And the fact that I took these pictures today in my smallest class of 28 kids (the rest are between 33 and 38 students) makes it seem like there is a TON of room!  I have seating for 49+ students between the tables, rows, and stations.  Thank goodness the largest class this year was 39 at one point, but I love having the flexible space.)

There are basically four "areas" to my classroom:

1. Groups - I have 6 tables (or groups of chairs) each for 6+ students.  This is where students are most of the time during class.  They have their discussions in these groups and then are free to move to other tables to work with classmates when doing practice problems.

2. Small Group "U" - This is set up for easy small-group teaching, remediation, support, etc.  Sometimes I will bring a standing whiteboard to the opening and actually go over a problem while the students sit around it (they pull up their own chairs).  Other times, I just sit in the middle in a rolly chair and can easily get around to all the students who need a little extra help or re-teaching one-on-one. I love it!

3. Quiz/Test area - These rows of chairs are used for anyone taking concept quizzes or tests.  On test days, the three tables that are made up of chairs also turn facing the whiteboard so everyone has a spot as needed.  On most days, there are never more students than what the rows have right now.  This makes it easy for me to see who is quizzing.

4. Computer "lab" - I have 3 desktop computers, 2 laptops, and then a half-class set of iPods for students to use.  The desktops are all together and then the two laptops are on desks throughout the room.  iPods are (obviously) portable to wherever students want to use them.  Students can use computers whenever they want/need to in order to watch a lesson, submit a WSQ, or otherwise check something out on the internet!

The view from my desk area.  Here you can see several groups of students working, a student using an iPod (lower right), some girls on the computers, and the small group "U".  This view used to face the "front" of my room and I had a screen that pulled down in front of the whiteboard so it couldn't be used efficiently.  The screen is now moved (you'll see soon...) so we can use that whiteboard space for whatever we need to.

The rest of the previous picture, still from my desk (lots of papers on it and the "U"... that's what happens during finals week!). A few more groups working (you can see these groups are self-chosen of 3's, 4's, and 2's... there's even a girl in the far corner using an iPod with her feet up but she's blocked from view).  Another whiteboard that can be used for... whatever we need!

One of my "computer lab" laptops, as well as where I moved the screen so now it covers a small piece of wall in between two bulletin boards instead of half a whiteboard!

Students LOVE the new iPods. I have 15, but only 4 available right now as I'm still waiting for the color-coded cases to come in (I ordered them from Amazon and they are shipping from Hong Kong... guess that takes a while!).  It's funny how there will be computers available but they will prefer to use the iPods.  I'm still figuring out the system for all this, since I just got them in December.  Not sure how I'm going to do the check-in, check-out process, etc.  Hence why this student is sitting how he is with the iPod plugged in - the iPods were all dead from last week but none of the students mentioned that so I didn't have them charged!  I'm hoping to figure out how to manage all of it once the rest of the cases come in.

The "Quiz/Test Area". Students come here whenever they are ready to take quizzes, which are completely self-directed and self-paced.  They are not on a computer (I check too much of their work in math!), but everything is organized on the side wall (right where the picture cuts off) with a different version of the quiz every day (I love Kuta Software!) and I hardly have to do any management at all.

My "U". Empty now, but well used, enjoyed, and appreciated.  This is so great for small group teaching and help.

My mini "Computer Lab" of desktops.  Thank you to the school for providing them!!

A view from the back door of the classroom.  Here, (from left to right), you can see my desk, the small group "U", the screen for daily announcements or any whole-group information, some groups working, and the front door. 

And, for you visual readers... here's what it looks like all put together:

A quiet day during finals week... but you can see the room arrangement :)

And, an "aerial" view.  See bigger document here.

Hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my classroom!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Flipped Learning Network Podcast #28 - Collecting Student Feedback

Had a blast on Monday talking with Troy Cockrum about how I collect student feedback on the flipped classroom (oh, and some other stuff, like Survivor!!!!).  You can see my first semester student feedback posts listed here.  

Why collect feedback?  Oh there are so many good reasons.  Just a few that come to mind right now...

I think we all have the goal of helping our students succeed to the highest level, and hearing their thoughts on the positives and negatives helps us to see it from a new perspective.  Sometimes the suggestions they make are things we would have never thought of, and sometimes just the smallest tweak will make a huge difference for the students in ways you wouldn't have considered.  Giving them the opportunity to have their voice heard gives them ownership of the classroom and builds a deeper, more trusting relationship between teacher and student.  While constructive feedback must be taken with professional discretion (i.e. when I have students say "We shouldn't have to take quizzes anymore because they are hard"), it is very eye-opening.

So my challenge to you as the semester ends is... have YOU collected feedback from your students yet??  If not, DO IT. Then share. Blog. Reflect. Analyze.  Think. Modify.  Do it.

Listen to the podcast episode here
or find it in the iTunes store under the 
Flipped Learning Network Podcast.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy One Year Blog-aversary To Me!!

One year ago today, I decided to start blogging.

One year ago today, I put my teaching practice out there for all to see and read.

One year ago today, I committed myself to reflect upon the transition to a flipped classroom in order to truly see if this "mindset shift" (because that's really how I see it now) would help my students learn, grow, and succeed.

One year ago today, I began the journey towards a transformed classroom, one that is more student-centered and focused on TWIRLS (hopefully pretty HOT TWIRLS) every single day.

One year ago today, I set the stage for friendships and collaboration beyond anything I could have expected or imagined.

All I started with was a little post, "Why I am flipping my classroom".  That was quickly followed the first day by my letter to administration and counselors about the change in my classroom, my letter to parents about the flipped classroom, my vision for the flipped classroom, and a little about TWIRLS.   One of the most popular (still!!) posts on my blog to this day was written the next day, called My Favorite WSQ.

I have grown so much over the last 365 days.  I have learned so much about teaching, learning, students, education...

I have learned that your closest colleagues (and friends!) don't have to be the ones down the hall, or even in your own city, state, or country.

I have learned that sharing ideas and reflecting on practices is essential in teacher growth and effectiveness.

I have learned that it's a lot easier to remember stuff when you write it down - and it's amazing to take the time to read back through and see growth, changes, progress, and both my students AND in me!

I have learned that everybody has different classrooms, demographics, and experiences...and only I can truly be the judge of my own situation.  As public educators, we are all on the same boat with the same goal, even though we may go about it in different ways.  We should strive to continue to encourage and inspire one another and not tear one another apart over differences in opinion.  

I have learned that my students truly can take control of their learning when they are given the opportunity to explore and think outside of the "normal" constraints of school.  Giving them that freedom and challenging them in ways they have never been challenged before is so rewarding for both them and me (once they get over the initial hump, that is!)


I am SO incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share, grow, learn, and process with all of you.

I am honored to have been a piece of your life and encourage, inspire, and motivate you to try new things and to share and reflect yourselves.

Here's to another great year of blogging, sharing, reflecting, and growing!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

12-13 1st semester student feedback: "Overall Student Feedback"

Response totals from my 159 students this year.  This includes BOTH Math Analysis Honors (11th-12th graders) as well as Algebra 1 CP (9th-10th graders).  I did not separate the results.  (Updated on February 16th, 2013)

To see the links to all survey question responses, please go here.

The percentage of students in "Always" and "Most of the Time" increased from my mid-survey (70 students) check (57% to 65%).  Some changes I have implemented this semester with the discussions:
  • Writing "new" discussion questions based on WSQ responses from previous night.  Students didn't like having to re-discuss the same questions they already went over.  So, if there was one question that most people were confused on, that goes back on the list to discuss in class, but otherwise I try to come up with some HOTter (Higher-Order Thinking) questions for them to discuss with my assistance as needed.
  • Re-instating "time limits" for discussions.  This next week I will start using the visible timer on screen as well (have to figure out logistics as I have the questions on the screen and can't project the time as well...)
  • For my Algebra 1 students, I am holding them accountable to actually taking notes from the discussion on lined paper.  I'm hoping this re-engages some of the students to participating since I will be checking.
The percentage of "Always" decreased from 61% to 48%... and it makes sense, since the students who generally do what they are supposed to on time (hence they always watch the videos on time) also did the survey on time :)
The percentage of students in the top two categories decreased from 94% of responses to 89%.  Still, these are tremendous responses.  Only 12 students who are "not really trying" and 6 in the other category, which basically means they wrote me a narrative reason instead of selecting the choices.  Here are some of the "other" comments:
  • Depends on how much homework I have in each class. If I have little, I focus my attention to Chem and Math
  • I put in a huge effort to catch up, thank you!
  • I'm not really trying but I promise 2nd semester will be good :)
  • Senioritis 
  • Some days i try and others I'm to tired.

While a student's self-evaluation is important, there's also a lot of learning and training that needs to happen for my students to reach their potential.  I still have not figured out how to truly hold them accountable for quality responses on their WSQs, something I didn't encounter as much last year because they were handwritten and I didn't really read them closely every day.  Since they are in the Google Form now, I can read them as much or as little as I want.  

One thing that has helped my Algebra 1 students is providing them with sentence frames to start their responses with.  However, a lot of the responses are rushed, don't really answer the guided summary questions, and miss the point.  
It makes me wonder sometimes when I ask a question that was basically the main point of the video and they didn't get it right - did they really not get it, was it not taught clearly, or were they just not paying attention?

These percentages have stayed about the same, and this is where I want them to be.  I'm going to have those students who don't really need my help.  26% is pretty high, it would be nice to break it down by class, but that will take a little time I don't have nice for in this post tonight :).  
I did break the "I'm not really trying" down by class and it was even - 8 MA and 9 Alg1 (although I do have 30 more MA students than Alg1).

I'm still not that satisfied with class time in Algebra 1 right now.  Math Analysis - for the most part I love it.  My kids are having great discussions and I love the few different real-life and inquiry activities I have been able to incorporate in the last few units.  I'm looking forward to continuing to build more into the lessons as the years go on!  Math Analysis is not without it's trials, however.  I have found that students still need structure, guidance, and deadlines.  I have really had to figure out the balance between freedom and responsibility (hence my post titled that...).  But, all in all they are really coming along, adjusting, and working hard.
Algebra 1...another story.  At this point in the year, I feel like routines should be in place.  Well, they are... but I mean that students should have the routines figured out.  Many of them do, but enough of them still don't to drive me crazy.  Finally, with permission from my admin, I separated the kids out and the "distracting" students that never really work are off to the side and all the students in groups are ones that focus and do their best (still heterogenous grade-wise though).  If a student in a group is not working or following directions, they are moved to the side for the day.  The next day they get another try.  We are only 3 days in, but it's been going okay.  I've had a few students from the "side" tell me that they actually like working better by themselves - what a great discovery for them and me! :)  We will see how this continues to go...
Happy with these results, but my question still is... how can I make sure those students who need more help get the help they need?

I have noticed that students don't see the benefit to the writing part of the WSQ at this point.  However, I know they are developing their writing skills and communicating mathematically.  In addition, the written WSQ is really three things:

1) an accountability tool for me to see who has really watched it;

2) a tool that guides the discussion and tells me what I want the students to talk about and lets me know if we need to go over something as a whole class;

3) a processing tool for the students to think about the material, even if sometimes they feel like they are "spitting it back out", they have to understand it a little in order to do that clearly and concisely. 

After seeing these results, I really thought through "What's the Point" of the assignments I give my students.  I realized that while the purpose was clear to me, it wasn't always clear to my students.  This really applies to the "student videos" part.  Some of those numbers are skewed because my Alg1 students only did 1 student video in the semester and it was a little messy because of the technology and then we didn't really talk about them.  So, about 15 of those 55 responses were from Alg1 students and I don't really feel like that accurately depicts the situation.  For Math Analysis, I really took their thoughts seriously and went over in class WHY we do certain things... What is the purpose of the videos? (not for "extra practice" for them, as they thought - but as a form of assessment.  Once they heard this, a lot of lightbulbs turned on).  What is the purpose of the quizzes?  What is the purpose of the WSQ at home and then in class?  It was really a great conversation and reminds me that I need to do that more at the beginning of the year and whenever I introduce something new. 

12-13 1st semester student feedback: Other Quotes, Comments, etc

To see the links to all survey question responses, please go here.

Some quotes to save that didn't fit in the other posts:

Comments as students reflected on the "" letter they sent themselves the first week of school.  Students were asked 2 questions: 1) What are your goals for this school year and 2) Share your thoughts on the flipped classroom after the first week.

  • I have benefitted greatly from the flipped classroom. I have realized that this class is very different than from many other math  classes in a good way. I am looking forward to the second semester of the course and I think things will be running smoother now that everyone knows how the classroom works.
  • My letter [written the first week of school] I said that the flipped classroom had a lot of technological use involved and that I didn't like it. But now, since I know what I am doing with each website or Student Problem or WPP, it's not so bad.
  • At first I thought it would only be a lesson at home and discussion at class but now I see that it is more than just that. We have discussion, time for pq's, time for quizzes and have many more extra assingments to help us better understand the material. At first the flipped classroom was very hard to get used to but now I am completely adapted to the flipped classroom. 
  • Also, I have gotten used to the flipped classroom, I actually like it :) I mentioned in the letter that I was overwhelmed before, but I got used to it. 
  • My ideas about the flipped classroom prove to be pretty accurate. The flipped classroom is not easy. But it isn't supposed to be either. I have remained positive about and open to the flipped classroom. I feel like I am learning so much and it is definitely more rewarding to do it this way. I am really pleased with it and apparently, 4 months ago I could foresee that.
  • But this is the first time in my high school time i actually understand math. Right now in the class I have a 77%, it may not seem the best grade an honor student may receive, but it is the best math grade i seen since freshmen year.
  • As for flipped classroom i think it is a great way to learn once you get into the hang of how it works.
  • Flipped classroom is a great learning method, and it wasn't much of a challenging change than you thought it would be. Make sure you don't get distracted while you're doing your homework.
  • I actually like the flipped classroom now! I love being able to choose who to sit with and communicate with about the math concepts hehe.. makes class more fun. I've gotten used to the lectures online and I've learned how to take full advantage of them.
  • I wasn't used to the Flipped Classroom and I would hope to like it more as the year goes by and this became true because I like the Flipped Classroom now. It is a very helpful way of teaching math. I have learned how to manage my time with this new method and my grade has gone up since the beginning of the year.
  • I do feel that i got the hang of the flipped classroom now. I also feel much more confident in my ability to fully understand math than i did freshman and sophomore year. The videos have really helped me understand the material when i had difficulty and so have the pq's, quizzes, and student problems. I will continue to do my best in math analysis.
  • And as a matter of fact, I have adjusted to the flipped classroom so one check mark please!
  • I was open to the flipped classroom, and it has grown on me. It's a part of my daily school life now.
  • And I'm glad I can experience the flipped classroom. Honestly, my favorite class. 
  • I remember writing how discontent I was with the flipped classroom in the beginning of the year. It felt like such a hassle. Now that I've adapted to it, it feels like any other class. Sometimes it's a bit of a hassle but I've slowly learned to deal with it and I am content with this class now. 
  • In regards to the flipped classroom, what I said before only somewhat applies to what I have experienced. The flipped classroom I experienced before was much different and perhaps needed more time put into its whole process. I definitely noticed an extremely positive change when a teacher can put in an almost exceeding maximum effort.
Encouraging comments:
  • I want to thank you for all your hard work you've done for all your students this year. I know making videos need to do more work than any regular teacher because you have to take part of your time to record and prepare each video, packet, worksheet, etc. So, thank  you for going above and beyond for all your students!! (:
  • Mrs. Kirch you are a great teacher. Thank You for involving this method into our learning it is very helpful!!!!(:
  • I like the friendly environment in the class so much. It makes me look forward to coming to class everyday

12-13 1st semester student feedback: "Suggestions for Changes"

To see the links to all survey question responses, please go here.

  • daily warm up question that should take a few minutes before we start PQ's instead of a WSQ chat
    • I do this more in Algebra 1, but that is a good thought for Math Analysis.  I've also thought about having the warm-up question be the WSQ chat for the day (having it incorporate the key points from the previous nights' lesson)
  • Just a suggestion, but maybe the last 5 minutes of class or the first 5 minutes of class you could give us a problem from past concepts. It keeps us from forgetting what we have learned. I am not sure how good this idea is though, I don't want too much time to be taken away from our normal routines.
    • Again, I do this much more in Algebra 1. For Math Analysis, I have been giving them spiral review on each of their Practice Tests, but it is their responsibility to go back and make sure they understand how to do it. It might be nice to throw an old question out there every so often though.
  • The midnight deadline for on-line work. Sometimes I have to run a lot of errands before I get home, be at meetings, so on and so forth so I might not get at home early enough to get my work turned in on time. The midnight deadlines for other classes don't help as well. I think that if we moved the deadline to something 8am the next day it would be better.
    • I've been trying to figure out all this online stuff all year since I was only "halfway online" last year.  I want my students doing their homework early (preferably before 10pm), but students these days stay up all hours of the night - I don't know how they do it!  I do like the 8am deadline because then if something happens at home, they can still come to school early and use the computers/internet at 7am.  However, I know that will lead some students to procrastinating until the morning.  I guess they have to learn/take responsibility somehow though.
  • I believe that we should get rid of the WSQ discussion and use that time for PQ's because most students take the entire class time to do PQ's and that leaves no time for the quiz. This results in some students taking a heap of quizzes in a day, which can be very stressful. I think that once we enter the classroom, we should start working on our PQ's/student videos/WPP's and if any student needs further clarification on last nights material, then he or she may ask for help at his or her table. Only the WSQ-question should be mandatory because it forces us to think of a question about the material even if we think we understand the concepts.
  • I think that our WSQ chats have grown kind of useless, which is our own faults, but asking questions that we haven't already answered previously would be a good way to gain participation and to get us to really think about it on another level.
    • I do want to do a better job of timing the WSQ chats and of challenging the students' thinking.  I did a great job last year and then for some reason, I just didn't do it this year.  Some groups spend WAY too long and thus don't have enough time for all the activities I have planned.  I would like to restructure the WSQ chat a bit though - I trialed it with Algebra 1 the last few weeks of school.  Instead of having them discuss their specific summary questions (which most of them feel is repetitive and doesn't help), I ask a few deeper, new questions on the screen for them to discuss, like the 2nd student mentioned.  Then, they review their own HOT questions (which, if they didn't understand one of the summary questions, this is where the discussion of that can come in), and then they review the problems they tried on their own.  I think that might help out, in addition to starting to use the timer again so the chats don't go longer than 5-7 minutes max.
  • I think making it more frequent that Mrs. Kirch reads out loud any questions that students have from the material being learned the night before that are used as HOT questions and having her clarify in front of the class would be a big help.
    • This is a great idea and one I don't do often enough. I will discuss it with that certain group, but not always with the entire class. A did a few activities at the beginning of the year where they would post their HOT questions around the room or on a WallWisher to be on the blog, but not much since then.
  • I believe going over questions we got wrong on test more often would be great. Also going over problems that seemed tricky would be nice.
    • The wonderful idea I had over the summer that never came to fruition was always just making my test answer keys on video so the students could watch them for help. Yeah, didn't happen. The answer keys are there for them, but if they want explanation they have to come in. The few times there has been a question missed by over half the class I will go over it the next day as a warm-up, but that has only been about twice all year.
    • I like going over tricky problems in small groups rather than with the whole class. There are always students who don't need it and "forcing" them to listen to me is exactly what I am trying to get away from. A few times I have made a special "small group" at the U to go over stuff so the students need more help on and I think that is so much more helpful than having all 40 of them listen to me. Part of this goes back to the students taking responsibility and if they need the help, ask for it, and then we can see who else needs help and if a group is warranted or if one on one is still the best.
  • I would like for us to start talking about the concept in class together as a class before we go over the WSQ just so we can get out questions out and discuss as a class.
    • It's interesting that the students I get these comments from (I got about 2-3 like this) are more my "struggling" students (C-D students).  This is exactly what the A-B students DON'T want because they don't want to "waste their time" being bogged down by questions they already know the answers to.  So, the question is, how do I make sure to reach these students?  They have the chance to ask their questions in small groups and get more individualized help - so why do they want more "anonymous" large-group help?  I need to find out why...
Surprisingly, the majority of the responses to this question was things like this:
  • Overall, the Flipped Classroom now is already good enough. I think students or it could be just me, learn way better with this method than the traditional class room. So, I don't really think anything should be changed.
  • None, I look forward to coming to 6th period everyday
  • I don't think the "flipped classroom" needs any changes. I am quite satisfied with the results at the moment and i actually learn more from this system than the system of having a teacher explain it in class daily.
  • I would not like to change The flipped classroom. It has been a great experience for me my senior year and although it requires time and effort I enjoy the organization and benefits of it all. 

12-13 1st semester student feedback: "Most Helpful"

For those of you reading this post as the updated version, #45 is where the new responses begin.

To see the links to all survey question responses, please go here.

What is the MOST HELPFUL part about the Flipped Classroom?

  1. I think that the most helpful thing is watching the videos and having you available at all times if we have questions.
  2. Having a packet with me so that way I could just flip back if I need any help.
  3. By watching the videos at home, I can save more time on the lectures and have more time to do the PQs or PTs. Also, I can pause the videos and rewatch them any time I want. By doing the PQs in class, I can discuss or ask my friends questions about the problems. In addition, my friends can explain how to do problems that I don't understand.
  4. The most helpful part of the flipped classroom is the chants and watching the videos at our own pace and time!
  5. The videos have a lot of detail and it is very easy to do the work and understand them. The quizzes help test my knowledge and see if I understand the concept completely. It helps to do the PQ's at class because if I am stuck in a kind of problem I can ask for help
  6. Interacting with students in the classroom.
  7. PQs and Quizzes are probably the most helpful because of focus on the application in class rather than the actual material.
  8. Watching the videos, I understand what the concept is about and what I need to learn. Then I come to class and I practice what I learn by doing the practice quizzes. Once I do the practice quiz, I am prepared for the real quiz, and retaking it as many times until I accomplish it really helps me prepare for the test. I learn from the mistakes and I am able to avoid it during the test.
  9. Watching the videos you create and then completing my SSS packet is the foundation of my learning in your class. I get to go at my own pace of learning at home and then at school, once I have a good grasp on the material, it's easier to get ahead on the work. The quizzes are a great indicator of how well I know the concepts and tell me what I have to be studying. They are also a great source of sample problems that are similar to what we will be asked on the test day.
  10. The amount of time we have in class to get our stuff done such as quizzes and even the opportunity to get ahead. Sometimes in other classes I might not understand some material and the next day we won't have anytime to review that because we have to cover some other material but the flipped classroom fixes that since we cover the material at home.
  11. Watching the videos by Mrs. Kirch are the most helpful because that is where the material is learned and we get to work through each problem with her justification of each step. Mrs. Kirch talks through the problem which I find easier when you are doing a problem for the first time.
  12. The quizzes in class are also very helpful because they test your knowledge on how well you actually know the material. The quizzes present problems that we must do on our own without the help of Mrs. Kirch, this forces to HAVE to KNOW the material and concepts.
  13. Watching the videos at home because I get to replay them or go over it if I don't understand. also the pq's because if I dont understand something I ask Mrs. Kirch.
  14. watching the videos at home because i get to replay them or go over it if i don't understand. also the pq's because if i don't understand something i ask mrs. kirch.
  15. I feel that watching the videos really helps me because I am learning at my own pace and feel more interacted with the lesson. I also think that the WSQ discussions are helpful because I get to go over the information and while explaining it to others it makes more sense to me. The quizzes better prepare me for the test and doing student videos helps me not only to learn the material but also be able to teach it. 
  16. The videos are extremely helpful because I can decide at what speed I want to do my homework. I can pause, fast forward or rewind at anytime I want. Last year, in college algebra my teacher would give us traditional lectures and they were okay but not as good as watching videos. The lectures were also boring and took up most of the class period, whereas the videos are quick.
  17. Watching the videos help show other ways to do each problem and allows me to choose which way i prefer to solve. the quizzes help improve my understanding and show the common mistakes that i and other fellow students may have done.
  18. To me the most helpful part of the flipped classroom is when I watch the videos at home I could take what I learned from the video to class the next day
  19. I feel like watching the videos and doing PQs in class go hand in hand because we can only do PQs in class BECAUSE we watch the videos at home and  vice versa.  I find this aspect to be the most helpful because I don't have to rush to learn the material and I really get to pace myself. Having the entire period available to finish 5 problems or so if I need it allows me to make sure I do each problem carefully and correctly. 
  20. I really like the videos I'm able to go back and learn faster at my own pace. I also like the songs, they help me remember certain things for the tests.
  21. Because when you do the pq's in class you get help from people if you don't know an answer and watching your videos help because it kinda makes me understand what I'm doing.
  22. Being able to go back and watch the videos in case we need to remember how to do it and if we miss school we don't really miss a lesson. It makes it easy to keep on track with everything we have to do.
  23. It is helpful to watch the videos because it guides me while doing the homework and packet. Doing the PQ's in class is helpful since if I don't understand I can ask for help. 
  24. Watching the video actually allows me to look at what you did and attempt it on my own and check my answer after my attempt, it allows me to go back and re-watch anything I didn't get. Doing the PQ's in class allows me to ask questions to my fellow classmates and to you if any arise.
  25. Watching the videos is most important because that's where i learn the most but doing PQs in class is also the most helpful because it allows me to discuss with the table and ask questions if needed.
  26. The fact that if we don't get something I can just re-look at a video
  27. The most helpful part of the flipped classroom is watching the videos because it allows me to re-watch any parts of the video that I felt I needed clarification on. Whenever I thought I didn't understand something or got confused I can just re-watch the video over to help better understand the material.
  28. The videos help me the most because you tell me what we need to learn and then you demonstrate the use of the lesson by answering the problems. If I do not understand it completely or if I need time to process the information then I can pause the video and go back to hear what you have to say again
  29. The PQ's reassure my understanding of the material.
  30. I think the most helpful part of the flipped classroom is doing PQ's in class because you can receive help from your friends. Also, you are doing the problems on your own so that makes sure you fully understand the concept. 
  31. The videos help a lot because they go through every problem step by step and when we don't get something we can just discuss it in class the next day. 
  32. The most helpful part of the flip classroom are the videos. They are not long lessons and are done in a manner that i can understand. I think they are simple and helpful especially when we go over the problems in the video. I also believe that the easy communication helps me as well. i don't use much of it but it helps my mind be at ease knowing that Mrs. Kirch is just a message away for any help i need at home.
  33. Quizzes, in my perspective, are probably the most helpful because they test my ability to solve the problems correctly and help me see the errors in my answers before the test date.
  34. The most helpful part of the flipped classroom is Mrs.Kirch's videos and the summary at the end. They help me because they make me go back and review what I missed and they are here for reference
  35. I believe the whole system of the flipped classroom is designed to help, so its hard to say. If I had to pick one, it would be talking to you directly: the information is always best from the source.
  36. Watching the videos are helpful and essential because I can see clearly the steps Mrs. Kirch does and I do them myself on my packet. The notes that pop up during the video are also helpful because they remind me of key points to remember. 
  37. being able to interact with my teacher right when I need help versus waiting until the end of class, where it might not have been as important as that moment earlier
  38. I think watching the videos by Mrs. Kirch is most helpful because everything is explained well and even some problems are worked out for you so you get a better understanding. Being able to rewind a certain part you didn't understand helps a lot too.
  39. I feel like the videos are really there to guide me, when i am stuck at home. quizzes help me keep accountable, to see where i am at with the concept. 
  40. I feel as though the videos are part of the most helpful aspects of the flipped classroom as they not only explain the video but allow us to pass them, work ahead, and double check our work with an explanation and walk through when we get them wrong. I also feel that the quizzes are extremely helpful as they help us see what we will have difficulty with when we can't look at our packet or ask for help or simply in other words, it's a great prep for the tests by showing what we truly do need to work on more.
  41. Because I am allowed to pause and rewind which is always something you could do in real time, but obviously it isn't possible and it gives us a better control of our learning. 
  42. First of all, the videos by Mrs. Kirch are basically the lessons. Everything I've learned about math analysis, I've learned from watching those videos. They are clear, efficient (time wise), and easily helps me understand what I need to be learning. To me, the in class discussion helps clarify certain things that simply could not be grasped by students in the videos. Plus, asking peers is one of the best ways to learn in my opinion.
  43. The most helpful was watching the videos at home because I can rewatch them if I don't understand the material just yet. Also, I think it's better to learn the material through about a 15 minute video max rather than listening to a whole lecture about it in class and forgetting all about it later on. As for the PQ's, I think it's really helpful because I get to practice some more problems until I understand it. Also, since we do them in class, I can always ask the people around me or Mrs. Kirch for help.
  44. The videos are most helpful because it is impossible to miss out on any thing. Its a video. We can rewind and go at our own comfortable pace. They are the most helpful. Sometimes I wish i had flipped classroom for all of my classes. Specifically AP Bio. 
  45. Watching the videos is definitely most helpful since they teach me how to do the problems in the concepts. Also these videos are helpful because they, like an A quality WPP, explain every problem clearly and explain every questions i might have. The WSQ question part is helpful because it forces and encourages me to try to answer the problem to get it correct. Quizzes are helpful because it reviews for the test. Making student videos are helpful because it helps me learn the concept more because I have to explain the problem myself. Doing PQs in class is helpful because i can get help from you or from my classmates.
  46. The most helpful part of the "flipped classroom" is going over the material in the classroom so we can fully understand the material. I like having my students and teacher there to help me whenever I am stuck on a problem.
  47. I think the most helpful part is the videos. The videos are the main source of education and for relaying information. I usually gain nearly all my knowledge about a concept solely from the videos, everything else is just bonus.
  48. Watching videos because thats when we learn the most.
  49. While at times it can be difficult and time consuming to do these things I find that they challenge me into completing them and help me stay on task. They can be difficult, but they sure do help in not only knowing how to solve a problem, but how to also explain the steps and percautions taken into aquiring an answer.
  50. watching the video is more helpful because I learn everything Mrs. Kirch teaches.
  51. I really like that during class we go over WSQ and being able to look at what i learned something weeks ago and review it whenever i want.
  52. I feel like the discussion is helpful because you talk and explain what is going on with your partners 
  53. The videos go over the material step by step and you are able to learn at your own pace. The dicussions go over any questions we may have had about the material when we watched the videos the night before. The quizzes test your knowledge about how well you learned the material.
  54. The helpful part of the flipped classroom is that we have videos to watch so just in case we missed something were always able to go back.
  55. What's most helpful is that you're able to help us more efficiently as compared to those who teach with the traditionally classroom. This is because instead of stopping and waiting for those who don't understand the material, you can spend the whole 45 minutes answering our questions and making sure we understand it. That's probably the most helpful part because then you are able to understand it twice as better than the traditional classroom. 
  56. Every part of the flipped classroom is equally helpful, meaning that there is no part that is really most helpful, or least helpful.  From videos to the WSQs, students learn every concept in a variety of different ways, so I could say the most helpful part of the flipped classroom is really using every resource available.
  57. The discussion part in class is most helpful because after going over the material at home alone we are able to discuss with our group if we need more help. It allows us all to get a deeper understanding of how to figure out the problem. The discussion part in class also encouraging people to ask questions and actually talk about what is going on in the concepts. The PQs in class also allow us to try out problems on our own and in class if we do not get it we are able to ask questions and figure out how to solve a difficult problem. Also this is very helpful because the PQs allow us to practice the material and become more familiar with whatever we are learning. 
  58. The most helpful part of flipped classroom is being able to go home and learn the math concept there. Some of us are slow learners and some and fast and the WSQ videos work for both types of learners. The slow ones will constantly ask questions to themselves so instead of interrupting the teacher in class, they can just go home and replay the math concept over and over again until they understand. This also provides a lot of class time to get other work done and ask any more questions that wasn't answered in the video.
  59. I find it really helpful that, since we learn from videos, we are able to work as fast or as slowly as we can. The WSQ discussions are also helpful because we are able to, not only get our questions answered, but also get different perspectives on how other students remember and/or come to understand things.
  60. I feel like everything is helpful. I honestly enjoy the change you made to your classroom. Although I do not have the grade I want, I am actually learning. I feel behind and that is my problem. Fortunately, I brought my grade back up. As I was catching up, I was piled with lots of work, and I always went back to your videos to get help on how to do them. In addition, quizzes help a lot because they work like a pretest. The lower the quiz grade, the more you need to study that area to perfect your skills and score better on the retake and on the test!
  61. The most helpful part of the flipped classroom would be watching videos made by Mrs. Kirch! These videos are EXTREMELY helpful because I am typically an individual who is very slow at processing given information, and with the videos, they allow me to go back on a topic in order to let the information connect fully and completely. These videos thus allow me to understand each and every topic, as it gives me the freedom to look back on the videos in case I'm still having trouble. The in class discussion also is the most helpful part of the flipped classroom because it clarifies any confusions we may have had about the concept.
  62. Watching the videos are helpful majority of the time. Mrs. Kirch makes it easy because she explains each step to complete the problems. The quizzes are helpful as well because they help me see what mistakes i make and what i still have to practice.
  63. The most helpful part of the "flipped classroom" is that I understand the lessons better than i did in 8th grade. It makes it very easy to learn with people you know.  And we can get alot of help when not understanding a lesson.
  64. Watching the WSQ video helps me not get that confused over the concept that im learning. The videos help make sense of the problems and if i ever get stuck on any of the problems then i can just go back and watch the video again.Also the WSQ disscussion in class helps in case i didnt get what i had to do in any of the problems.

12-13 1st semester student feedback: "Best Part"

(For those of you coming back to this post, starting at #63 are the new responses as of 2/16/13)

To see the links to all survey question responses, please go here.

What is the best part about the Flipped Classroom?

  1. I like that it is easy to learn from you and that you are always available for questions.
  2. Having help 24/7.
  3. I like the group discussion in class because we can discuss and chat at the same time but still get the work done.
  4. That we get to learn the lesson on our own time because we may go at our own pace!
  5. I really like the videos because I can work and learn at my own and I can take my time
  6. The non-urgency. The non-urgency meshes well with the rest of what's going on.
  7. I have liked that we are responsible for our own learning. We are the ones who have to make the choice to be committed to your class and to take the time to either watch the videos or learn through the use of another source (textbook, friend, etc.). I also like that in class, as I do the PQ's I can ask my group a question, or you.
  8. What I liked about it was finding that there is no need to rush for taking notes in the class and I could find myself with the idea of knowing the concept and reviewing it over to my group. I find videos really useful as it doesn't require rushing.  
  9. The best thing about the flipped classroom has been just the amount of time that we have in  class to work on our work. I really like how the class is structured to maximize productivity.
  10. Getting to rewind videos, because sometimes i dont understand it.
  11. It's different from all the other years. If we forgot the information  we could always go back.
  12. I like that we can work independently because I can get my work done at my pace.
  13. The best part about the flipped classroom is that it makes me feel very independent because I am allowed to work at my own pace. I only have to worry about deadlines in the flipped classroom because I always know what I must complete, unlike other classes where we are given trivial assignments/projects that don't incorporate much learning.
  14. I have actually come to like the flipped classroom as it is. I like the fact that we get to learn at home and come to class to discuss and practice. I find the WSQ assignments, quizzes, and songs very helpful. 
  15. What I like the most is that we have videos that we can watch instead of having a traditional lecture. Some students don't like that because they find it isn't helpful. I also like that sometimes Mrs. Kirch forms little groups during class to discuss a concept we don't understand.
  16. I like doing my work in class so i can ask for help. the videos are great and i can listen and learn at my own pace.
  17. I liked being able to take my notes properly at my own pace and being able to take what I learned to class the next day 
  18. What I liked about the flipped classroom was the videos because it allowed me to learn at my own pace. Student problems [where students have to create their own problem, solve it, and post it on their blog] also assured me that I actually know how to solve the math problems. 
  19. being able to go at your own pace because i can advance past the schedule for what we have to do and finish stuff earlier.
  20. I like the responsibility it places on the individual to get work done and progress. It makes the person feel like they have to take action in order to succeed.
  21. What I liked best about the flipped classroom is allowing us to fully use our time to our advantage in class. Instead of learning in class, we use the time to actually work things out and ask questions when we are stuck instead of stopping on one problem and wondering what to do next with no one around to help you at home.
  22. The thing i have liked best this year is being able to watch the lessons at home and being able to go back to them if i have to.
  23. The fact that we get our own time in class to get what we need to do as we should since we are not all as fast as others with the pqs
  24. What I liked best from the flipped classroom this year is actually doing the homework portions in class because I can just ask one of my classmates for help and I feel more comfortable doing so helping me better understand it.
  25. I like that I know what most of the assignments are ahead of time. Like if I am absent for an extended period of time or if I have the time to do extra work, I know what tomorrow's, next week's, or sometimes even next month's assignment is.
  26. I like that we do not really have homework and that we get to do our work in class. 
  27. watching your videos at home b/c you're such a dork :D [exactly what I was going for... :)]
  28. working from home is easier to learn because it's quiet 
  29. I am overall very pleased with the flipped classroom but I like the interactions that take place as a result. The environment is very different from your normal classroom and it provides me some sanity in my day. We have the ability to work in groups and with various people who understand different things on different levels. The schedule isn't so rigid that you are staring at a board in silence for 45 minutes. On top of that, you say hi or ask how each and every one of us are doing EVERY day and that isn't an interaction that we would get in other classes. I feel like that builds an affirming relationship  and an encouraging environment, both of which are lacking in high school for the most part.
  30. I liked that I am able to experience learning in a new way even though it could be difficult I feel that I have been able to learn more math than ever before. 
  31. I liked that we are given the chance to do work in class and ask questions on what we don't understand.
  32. Its made me understand the work more and i am able to get a lot more help.
  33. The best thing that i like about the flipped classroom this year is the blog. i have never done anything like that before and so it gives me something new to do. I think the blog is one of the best things about the flipped classroom.
  34. Being able to reassess tests for full credit because it's so relieving when I'm not prepared during the actual test date.. and being able to communicate with my classmates about the units/concepts is enjoyable
  35. The WSQ is what i have liked because I can review and pause. I also like how you make us answer questions to see if we payed attention.
  36. It's not like the others. Homework feels like learning instead of a grind.
  37. So far, I've liked watching the videos because they help a lot. My previous years in math I didn't have a very high score in any of my test, quiz, and class like I do this year. This year I've had a B all semester which makes me very proud because the previous years I've had pure Cs and Ds never Bs. In my tests I would always get Ds and Fs. This year I've been getting Bs and Cs. Thank you, Mrs. Kirch (:
  38. I like the videos because I have the power to pause or fast forward the video. Watching the videos helps me learn at my own pace. If some concepts I have a hard time learning I can slow the pace down and pause the videos as much as I want and if I understand the concept I can work at a faster pace and fast forward the video. The video will also be there for reference, I can go back to look at the video if I need to again. 
  39. I love how interactive you are with us and how you keep most of us focused all the time and on track.  
  40. being able to work as a group because i'm more confident when we all understand it. i'm able to work with others much better.
  41. What I liked best about the "Flipped Classroom" this year is learning with others and having videos to go back to if I don't understand something.
  42. I liked that as a student, i had to take responsibility and really understand what i am learning. I feel that the flipped classroom has made learning math analysis in a helpful way.
  43. Teaches responsibility which will be helpful in the future 
  44. the cooperation with the other peers.  
  45. i'm not really sure. i still have mixed feeling about it. i have mixed feeling because sometimes the videos makes sense and then other times i just dont know what to do.
  46. I like how we can decide what we want to do in our class time.
  47. I find that the videos are very helpful because whenever I get stuck I can just go back to watch the video for the concept again.
  48. that i can  rewind and watch the videos again and again and that i get help in class if i didn't get the video 
  49. I've enjoyed the learning experience and the classroom I've been lucky to be a part of. I'd say this is one of the most hands-on, interactive, not to mention fun classrooms I've been in. It may have been hard to adjust to but nevertheless a good experience. 
  50. The best part about the flipped classroom for me is just being able to do it at home by myself. As you can tell Mrs. Kirch, I can't do a lot of work when other people are around so being able to go home and focus on the work is a huge benefit to me.
  51. The control over my learning has been put into my hands, I no longer have to hear repeated questions in class for example but work at my own pace. 
  52. I certainly like the organization of the flipped classroom the best. I get to know exactly what to do and when to do it thanks to the WSQ chart. With the pacing of the class and Mrs. Kirch always keeping us on track, I find it extremely difficult for anyone to fall behind.
  53. What iv'e liked best about the "flipped classroom"this year is working with other people because you get to know people and when we are in groups our classmates can help us if we are stuck
  54. I liked the fact instead of listening to a lecture about math in class, we can just learn about it at home with less about of time. I think I'm doing much better in this class than I have been doing in math classes overall because I understand and remember the materials better.
  55. I like how the way that the flipped classroom. It allows the students and teachers to communicate more.
  56. I like how I have access to everything online. I'm mostly on the internet anyways, so it's a cool thing.
  57. Being able to watch the videos and refer back to them. If it were a normal classroom and you missed one thing or weren't listening or tried to understand but you needed time to digest it all then you're pretty much screwed. You aren't able to have the lessons quickly accessible and on a short 15 minute video. 
  58. how easy it is to learn from the videos
  59. What I liked best about the "Flipped Classroom" are the videos because again, they are extremely descriptive and help me get through every hard problem in the concept.
  60. I have liked going over the PQ's in the classroom because i have my fellow students and even a teacher there to help me fully understand and go over any of the material that i learned the night before.
  61. I like how the Flipped Classroom is new and isn't like any boring old class. The chance to interact with classmates within the class while still getting work done is almost a dream come true.
  62. I have liked that I don't have to listen to a teacher for hours because that what I hate about school the teacher usually just talks for the whole class and with the flipped class I don't.
  63. What I find best is that we are in groups so we don't understand something and Mrs. Kirch is busy we can ask one of our classmates.
  64. I've really enjoyed the videos of Mrs. Kirch this year because they're a good way for students to learn at their own pace and be at the comfort of their home. Sometimes students don't get enough sleep and are tired in school. By watching the videos at home, students can be fully attentive.
  65. class discussions and trying something new
  66. The fact that you, Mrs. Kirch, have the time to explain anything I am confused about during class.
  67. Making videos about what we learned because it shows that you understand the concept or chapter.
  68. The best part of the flipped classroom is watching the videos and discussing it in class because it makes me learn more about it
  69. What i like best is discussing the math problems with others to share if your getting the lesson.
  70. The thing that i like the best about the flipped classroom is that we get help from others who may understand more in your groups.
  71. Seeing Mrs. Kirch at school and at home :') hahaha just kidding that's not my real answer although I do enjoy your presence HAHA.  But what I really liked is that my ability to understand the math material has increased by a lot. I really liked this the best because my grades have been improving nonstop and by being able to understand the concepts and such, it really helped me get that motivational push to do better and succeed because I really love that feeling when you get a math problem right."
  72. The best thing about the flipped classroom this year is the WSQ discussion; being able to ask questions to fellow classmates and address concerns helps students in understanding and further mastering the content of the class's units.
  73. It's helped better my understanding in mathematics and has greatly improved my skill in explaining how to do a problem rather than just doing it and not knowing how to explain the steps I had taken to accomplish the problem.
  74. I like having all that classroom time in class because I am given time to work on other math-related concepts and I also have time to be able to start my homework in class. If I had any questions, I could just walk up and ask Mrs. Kirch without having the fear of interrupting class and distracting others.
  75. I like how math has become to easy to understand within the opportunities of the flipped classroom. The lessons could be easily reviewed, and the practice quizzes provided a measure of our understanding.  
  76. This year I really enjoy the time in class that we have to discuss with our groups and actually analyze what we are learning. This discussion time in class also is very helpful because we are able to ask questions if something is difficult and it gives us time to process the concept and ask questions. I believe that this time in class that we have to discuss and ask questions has allowed me to understand the concepts much more.
  77. The different experience and the songs! The songs really help you memorize important terms and their qualities. Besides that, I am actually learning and have adjusted to the flipped classroom :)
  78. What I have liked best so far are the videos that Mrs. Kirch has made! They are the best part because the way she teaches it, it makes math so simple and easy to understand! Not only that, but the videos are ALWAYS there, in contrast to an in class lesson, where we may have missed certain parts or could be absent on the day of a lesson.
  79. I liked being able to talk with the people around me. It helps us figure things out before asking questions.
  80. Being able to have you explain things and help us with our questions! Though I like that you also challenge us to think as well.
  81. I think getting that sense of support when I don't understand something from my peers or with the help of you.
  82. I learned to kinda love it now.
  83. I like being to be able to work on my own pace because now I can go ahead or take more time on a concept if needed.
  84. I like the whole "work-together" environment that it creates. It simply engages us (students) in the learning.
  85. I have the power to stop the teacher and rewind.
  86. I like that I've been learning faster and easier.
  87. What I've liked best about the flipped classroom is that it shows you how hard it will be in college because you have to have your own resources and responsibility to complete all work. It's a good way to be independent. 
  88. The classroom discussions because then I can see if I understand the concept or not 
  89. The thing i liked best of the flipped classroom was the shouting out loud and sing along. 

A great day...improvement in student collaboration

It's been a while since I've posted, I know. I want to try to blog more this semester (well, at least until I go on leave), so we'll see how it goes. [Edit: as I am writing this post, I'm so wishing I had more pictures to go along with it.  Maybe I'll make that my goal next week.  Just a few a day. Adds so much more to the post...]

Yesterday was a great day. In all of my classes. Seriously. A day like yesterday is one I need to remember when things get tough.  So I'm blogging about it!

In Algebra 1 we are beginning to work on systems of equations.  Let's be honest, it's a really tough chapter.  We also just got back from break on Monday (we have 3 weeks off, so we start back later than most).  So, I am also back in "training" mode for the students.  That means I am doing more guided class WSQ discussions instead of small group.  Our two big focuses for this semester are:

1) Better HOT questions to lead to discussion.  Real questions, not cheesy yes/no questions.  Working on phrasing questions so they are detailed and lead to making connections.  All of which is VERY tough for low-level freshmen... but we are working on it :)

2) More focused, helpful WSQ chat discussions.  Focusing on the lesson and the math for a good 5-10 minutes without getting off task.  Actually explaining problems and explaining concepts in a way that is helpful and not just saying "I don't know" or "Yeah, here it is" with no explanation.

I don't expect these goals to be met anytime soon, but I do expect to see progress.  Yesterday was a big day for progress.

Period 1 always takes a while to get in the groove ("since it's so early" is all I can think of, but I'm hoping it improves).  Period 2 was ready to jump right in.  It's awesome when I ask the class "What is a system of equations?" and 75% of them shout out "More than one line" and I say "What is a solution to a system?" and the same amount say, "Where the lines cross".  On our second day of learning about it.  Engagement + knowledge.  In years past they are never to this point yet.  We also talked about the three different types of solutions to systems (one solution, no solution, infinitely many solutions) and filled in a tree map of all the details

What really stuck out to me was once we started working on problems.  Some of the students were still working on solving by graphing, whereas others were ready to move on to solving by substitution.  The engagement was incredible.  They were helping each other, asking good questions, calling me over to sit down with them to go over problems.  I have a pre-student teacher doing "observation" hours but already working with the students and she was at the "U" (yes, I know I said I would take pics of my classroom this week and I got home Friday night and realized I never did. Argh!) leading a small group re-teaching graphing to those who needed it while I was working the classroom.

I hope we can have more days like this in Algebra 1 :)

I have also started giving my students in Algebra 1 sentence starters or sentence frames to help them with their WSQ submissions.  (See Chapter 6a example WSQ chart here; questions are at bottom) First semester, I just said "write in complete sentences".  But, honestly, a lot of them don't know what that means and don't have the skills yet to really do a good job with that.  Many of them are English Learners and need that extra scaffolding.  With the sentence starters and frames, the online WSQ submissions have been a lot better and much more clear.  Great change!!

Math Analysis is getting to the grunt work of conic sections.  At first, it's actually really tough but the more the students practice and work through them, the pieces start to come together and it's pretty easy.

The BEST part about the last two days so far has definitely been the collaboration and problem solving among the students.  When they are focused, working together, and asking questions... wow.   Yesterday was incredibly incredible.  Students are self-forming groups, asking me questions but also asking each other, taking the initiative to figure out what they are stuck on, making connections and seeing the big picture...everything that makes a teacher wake up on a Saturday morning and say "Wow...I need to blog about this".

One of my favorite parts about conics is the real life applications.  Yes, I actually really enjoy the math problem-solving part of it.  I see it as a puzzle of pieces ready to be fit together.  But when you see how they apply in real life ONLY because of the mathematical properties, it's great.   Here's a playlist I put together of some real-life applications.

I've also gathered some awesome Geogebra applets on conics sections that really help the students visualize what is going on.

A new thing I'm trying this unit is a "collaborative answer key".  Each of these problems has quite a lot of parts to them (and I don't actually have an answer key made to all of them yet myself!) so I am having the students take pictures of their work and putting it together on a MentorMob playlist to share with each other.  The playlist is publicly editable so all the students have to do is login to their account, follow the directions to add their step, and wa-la!  It's updated!  They have to submit the link to their step on a GoogleForm for me to "grade" to make sure it's correct and I comment on the step either "approved" or with what needs to be fixed/changed.  If it has no comment, I haven't looked at it yet so the students know they need to be critical when comparing their work to the key.  On the GoogleForm I have students submit their email address and use the script FormEmailer (thanks Ramsey for introducing me to it!) to quickly type a comment back to the student which is emailed to them directly.  So far, it's working well.  Students will be adding to it throughout the next week, so we'll see how crazy it gets and how it needs to be tweaked for next time. :)

I'm looking forward to seeing continual improvement now that we have hit the second semester.  This week is crazy as it is the school's "finals week" but the math department gave our finals before break so I only see each of my classes twice and one of them is for a two hour block period.

My end of semester surveys are due on Tuesday so I will be continuing to blog about the student comments.  I will be splitting the current post up into a few separate ones since it's getting so long, but here's the link to that page now.  I'll add links to the new pages from there.

Hope everyone is doing well!  Enjoy a restful (hopefully) three day weekend.  Baby BOY Kirch is growing along quite nicely at 21 weeks and I'm excited to feel him start kicking soon :)

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