Saturday, August 17, 2013

Intro to #flipclass for the new year

I decided to make some changes to my "Intro Packet" for this year.  In years past, I have had:

  • Syllabus
  • Student "checklist"
  • Flipped Class Letter
  • Student Information Survey
  • ... probably more!
Talk about crazy overwhelming stack of papers for students!

So, this year, I decided to put it all in one 3 page (Front and back) packet.  I struggled with deciding if it was too much, but with all the consolidation, I'm happy with it for now and will see how the feedback goes this year to make changes for next year.

So, here are some links!  Feel free to utilize any of this as a resource for making your own.
(I do ask that you don't just copy this word for word though...just like we would teach our students :))

Monday, August 5, 2013

Warning: Challenges Ahead!

I have about two weeks until I head back into my classroom, so it's time to try and get back into the swing of things.  It would be much easier to spend all my time with this cutie (2 months old today!), but duty calls...

This year is going to bring on its own set of new and exciting, yet scary, challenges.  Our district is going full force into implementing Common Core math classes, and have chosen the Integrated rather than Traditional pathway.  What this means is that "Algebra 1" is no longer really a class, it is what we are currently calling "Course 1", and includes a mix of standards from the three traditional courses of Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2.

What this means is that the majority of the work I have dedicated my time to the last 5 years, which is posted on, is now obselete and I am starting from scratch for this coming year.  (Thankfully my Math Analysis course will be staying status quo for at least this year, so is still good to go!)  Curriculum writing teams have been hard at work creating units of study for these new courses and we should be able to see them by about a week before school begins this year.  Due to my joyful interruption this year, I was not a part of these writing teams as I would have liked and greatly enjoyed.

While I am very excited about the deeper level of learning the Common Core can bring, my Type-A planner self is basically freaking out.  My mindset of teaching and learning has shifted so drastically in the last 2 years, that I don't know how I will do with a cookie cutter curriculum that I haven't had time to tweak and modify to fit my style.  I keep telling myself that it will all work out and everything will fall into place... but I'm one of those people that likes to have everything organized and planned for the first 3-4 months of the school year before the year even begins!  I like to see the big picture and figure out how to structure it best to meet student needs.  This year, I will be teaching what has been handed to me with little to no time to plan ahead in the way that I always have.

One of the biggest questions I have for all of you, especially math teachers but all subject areas are welcome to chime in, is how you structure a flipped classroom in math with little to no video instruction.

Now, let me clarify, I am 100% on board with the fact that a flipped classroom is not about the video, but about what you do in class, the face to face time you have with students, the higher order thinking that is able to occur, etc.  The activities and lessons that are embedded within the curriculum should be really great and support my mindset of what I want to be happening in my class (again, I have yet to see most of it, so I'm kind of hanging in limbo here but have confidence in what is coming).

However, there is still a level of direct instruction that must occur at this level for the students to be successful.  I don't believe direct instruction should occur in the group learning space, but rather in the individual learning space where students can learn at their own pace, in their own time, and in their own place.  The easiest way for this to happen is for direct instruction to be placed on a video.  (Please note that I do not consider direct instruction to HAVE to occur before the lesson is introduced; in fact, many lessons for this year from what I've seen I can see an exploration phase in class, direct instruction coming afterwards, and then more application and practice in class... similar to the Explore-Flip-Apply model).  To put it bluntly, I simply will not have the time or energy to dedicate to making videos like I have the last two school years, and I cannot see myself sacrificing the time with my little one to run a flipped classroom in my new "Algebra 1/Course 1" in the same way as I have the last two years.  

And, on a random note...I feel like I want to have this figured out before the school year begins and not change my mind midway through because this level of students has a tough time adjusting to major changes.  If they are going to be doing anything similar to my previous two years with videos, WSQs, online work, etc, I want to start it from Day 1.

Okay, I hope that made sense :)  I have been on Mommy brain for the last several months, so it's time to try and get back in the groove!

So, please share your experiences, your thoughts, and your ideas.
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