Sunday, December 15, 2013

Week 15 reflections - lessons learned

I was pretty frustrated at the end of last week and actually sent my students home with quite a large mandatory practice assignment to complete in order to prepare for their test on Tuesday.  This isn't something I usually do, but my students are having a hard time understanding that a certain amount of practice really is needed/required in order to make sure they master and grasp the concepts.

So, I was crossing my fingers that the results of the Unit K test would be good and I could use this as a learning experience for my students... and thankfully, they were good!  One class got double the length of assignment the other two classes did, and that class pretty much scored identically to the class that is usually 5-10% higher on class average for the tests.  That made me very proud since they were the class that has been frustrating me to no end the last couple of weeks with their effort and performance.

Other than that, it's been a pretty good week.  It was great to get some good student feedback via one of the online WSQ questions they had.  Sometimes it's hard to see that your students really are learning the non-math stuff you hope they learn in your class, and it was really encouraging to read what they had to say.

One thing I really am glad we have the time for in my flipped class is posing really tough and challenging problems to students and having them actually tackle them and work through them rather than just giving up.  On Friday, we evaluated the difference quotient of higher-powered polynomials using the binomial theorem.  (Sound fun, non-math people?  Oh, it's a blast :)).  For their WSQ the night before, I only showed them how to do it with a monomial and then a monomial with a coefficient (with powers of 4 and 5, respectively).  For their intro problem, I put up a four-termed polynomial with powers of 7,5,3,and 1 all in one problem.  I asked them how they would set up and organize that problem.  We talked through it a little, and in the later classes I gave them a little visual guidance.  Then I put up another four-term problem with high powers and had them take a crack at it as a group.   Really awesome stuff.  I figure if they can tackle the hard stuff, when it comes to their quizzes and tests, the problems will be a breeze!

Another thing I had the time for this week was to just sit down and work through some of the practice problems with about 2-4 students per period at my "U" area in the classroom.  We just wrote a problem on the small whiteboard and they talked me through how to do it, and I clarified and asked questions along the way.  It was really great and something I would never have time for in a non-flipped class.

I have a Masters-level student doing his research on aspects of the flipped classroom and he will be using one of my classes as his focus class.  He came in for the first time this last week and will be doing most of the study at the beginning of the new year.  I am excited to see what he has to say and will definitely share it as he allows in the spring.

We have a 4 1/2 day week and then 3 weeks off for Winter Break. I am SOOOOO excited for some time off to rest, relax, and enjoy the holidays.  I hope all of you are enjoying the Christmas season!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Un-intended student survey

My online WSQs are set up with four guided summary questions.  Because of all the scripts (FormEmailer, VLookup, ImportRange, etc) that I use, it's easiest to keep them all the same number of questions.  However, sometimes I don't have four questions about math I want them to think about.  So, I ask them random questions.  A lot of times, they turn into my favorite part to read.

One night this week, my students were asked:

3. What have you learned most about yourself as a student this year in math class?

A lot of what I got back was pretty darn amazing... (besides the overwhelming amount of students who said they learned that they are lazy and procrastinators with poor time management...).  We aren't even halfway through the year and my students have learned some of what I think is the most important stuff I want them to learn all year.

  •  I can really hit low point and then I can redeem myself, but it will be really hard. I always need to study a lot before a test. Also, I learned that even though I have the amazing opportunity to re-assess, I would rather do good the first time around
  • that i can do better than what i thought i can
  • That I am a beast. I got an A so far on every test with minimal studying and it feels great. Obviously I don't want to sound arrogant because I don't know what's in store for me in the future, but as of now I'm doin pretty good.
  • I learned that I can become a mathematician! Not a cheesebucket
  • I also learned that you can understand the concepts easily if you actually devote more time into the videos and take notes.
  • I must try my best and go to tutoring when I don't understand the concept.
  • That I can be set responsible for what I choose to learn and I myself can control my own learning methods.
  • I can focus very well and manage time wisely.
  • That this method of learning actually helps and its taught me about being responsible in order to earn an A.
  • I learned that you have to put in the effort to get a lot out of it. It also takes time and practices a lot.
  • I have learned that I work well in groups, and that the structure of the flipped classroom works well for me (when done right, that is.)
  • I've learned how to prepare myself for test or projects better.
  • I work more efficiently using the videos than just getting book work. I also do better studying a little bit of concepts every day before the test.
  • I can succeed if I pay close attention and turn in work.
  • I learned about myself as a student this year in math class is that I can learn through remakes of songs.
  • I work best at my own pace.
  • I am a scholar among scholars
  • I have learned that if I try my best and if I am responsible enough, I can get an outstanding grade if I put in the effort to. 
  • Integrity and perseverance.
  • as a student this year in math class I have learned that I work better in a home environment. Before, if i didn't understand in class i would shy away and just keep going through the material because I was scared to ask the teacher to repeat herself. Now, if i dont understand I just go look at the concept video again.
  • If I put in the time I can learn many things.
  • I have learned that if I try hard I can achieve anything.
  • I have learned that if i put my mind to it i can achieve it, but if i don't put effort into my work things go down hill.
  • I can be productive!
  • I could be lazy and procrastinate on turning in homework but still try to get work done.
  • I have learned that even when I am in the worst of situations, I can take a shovel and dig myself out.
  • I can achieve A's in math and not settle for B's, I just have to put in the effort and have a good teacher - the change in the flipped classroom opened me up to learning and just changed my perspective.
  • I don't have time to write an essay on this right now but just know that I have a huge answer for this LOL. But just for the sake of time, I have learned that I am able to do many of these extra things in math class and they will only benefit me in the long run.
  • I should really review more because eventually its going to come back and hit your grade hard. Besides that Prefer learning at home.
  • never underestimate yourself.
  • I've learned there are possibilities of liking math
  • I have learned, that i need to be mentally, physically(those stairssss), and spiritually ready for class, in order to be the best me i can be. you can do anything if you just believe. winners never quit, quitters never win. no pain, no gain. technology is your friend. WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. It all comes down to right now, it's up to us. we gotta work it out, turn it on. Gotta get it together. It's now or never. The way we learn tonight, is what we leave behind. work togetherrr. It's time to turn it up, game on. It all comes down to right now, it's up to us. gotta work it out.
  • flipped classrooms like Mrs. Kirch's i like
  • I have learned that I am very lazy compared to last year.
  • That I am not as smart or confident as I thought I was. I do not know the things that I need to in time and I am extremely lazy. I find that I constantly disappoint myself.
  • That asking for help will defensively raise your grade.  [I think he meant “definitely”]
  • I really do like math and I'm good at it, I'm just really lazy ):
  • I suck at time management
  • that if i really try hard, i could be good at math.
  • My study habits are not as effective as I thought they were.
  • As a student this year, I learned to manage my time. I also learned to be more open in my troubles in the concepts.
  • I learned that asking for help right away is the best thing to do. I also learned to be patient and be able to handle all this since this is my first flip class. I also learned that practing and studying help me so much to understand the material.
  • to try things out before saying i hate it.
  • I can succeed if I try my hardest.
  • I have a short attention span
  • I work better when there is people that motivate that motivate me around me. 
  • I learned that even though I'm lazy, I can get things done... slowly but eventually.
  • That I can be lazy at times but I need to keep motivated
  • I need to practice on my own in order to understand the material.
  • I need to remained focused and try to remain on task at home.
  • I learned that I'm not that good in using technology, other than that I learned that the flip classroom can be helpful when used in the right way.
  • I learned several new video watching skills that have helped me take more information out of watching your videos. I learned that even though i am not use to the video watching for my learning that i learn to cope.
  • I really dislike turning things in late.
  • I have learned that time management is very important and not to fall behind.
  • Frustrating when I don't understand it, but satisfying when I do.
  • I'm pretty good at math, but I should probably do the practice quizzes at least once in a while. I should also control myself when someone challenges me to a math-off and I lose, I get pretty mad not gonna lie.
  • im actually somewhat a math person
  • Take away my friends, and my grades shall rise.
  • That putting in that extra effort really works and that although i have always loved math, i love it even more
  • Time management is something I lack.
  • Math isn't as easy as it used to be.
  • Nothing has really change. My passion for math still hasnt change
  • Procrastinator and I need to work a little bit more harder.
  • I really can get my grade up if i really want to
  • To not put off the WSQ's and studying!
  • I've learned that if I want to do good I have to at least try
  • This year in math class I have learned that solving problems for others (SP, SV, and WPP) truly demonstrates if I have mastered a concept.
  • I need to accept people's help.
  • What I learned most about myself this year in math class is that I have learned so many new techniques and real-world application toward my school work and life. I have also learned to become more responsible and dedicated to my work.
  • i better not slack because if i do mrs. Kirch will get mad
  • i learned that the more practice and by doing the work i get better grades.
  • i am a very lazy person that procrastinates and should do my work
  • Take responsibility for my own learning at my own pace.
  • I learned that I am capable of getting a good grade in this class if I just asked for help.

Oh, and one of the other questions was

4. Tell me something cool

Here's some amazing facts...
(besides the students who told me that "ice" was cool... and lots of other more personal accomplishments they had the opportunity to share!)

  • People say "Bless you" when you sneeze because when you sneeze, you're heart stops for a mili-second.
  • Anatidaephobia is the fear that somewhere, somehow, in the world a duck is always watching you.
  • Sea otters hold hands when they sleep, so they don't drift away from one another. ^_^
  • 200 species die each day.
  • The very first food eaten by a U.S astronaut in outer space was applesauce, according to
  • It takes 364 licks to get to the center of a tootsie pop.
  • Michael Clifford is pikachu and he's the coolest person ever because he has reverse skunk hair.
  • -Kirch. #nufsaid
  • there is a town in Indiana called Santa Claus
  • How do you make a tissue dance?
  • Putting a little boogie to it!
  • Batman is a fluent speaker and reader in over fifteen languages; including: Latin, Hebrew, Arabic, and Kryptonian (Superman's planet's native language (even though the planet was destroyed years before even Superman knew about it))
  • "Isaac Newton invented Integral and Differential Calculus. THEN HE TURNED 26...My man, Sir Isaac Newton"
  • -Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • We never really physically touch anything, it is simply the electrons repelling each other to crest what we believe is counter balancing or forces..... I think .. idk some guy told me this and it seems pretty believable haha.
  • During your lifetime, you'll eat about 60,000 pounds of food, that's the weight of about 6 elephants
  • The very first lemon seeds in the Americas were brought over from Europe by Christopher Columbus.
  • The Amazon rainforest produces half of the world's oxygen supply.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Week 14 reflections - time to refocus

I've been busy this week with the changes I've been making in my CCSS Integrated Course 1 class (see posts here and here), but we are still continuing on in Math Analysis Honors.

I got to spend the late morning/early afternoon at the eLearning Strategies Symposium in Costa Mesa and meet up with several of my #flipclass buddies and have lunch chatting with Jon Bergmann (he did the closing keynote at the conference; definitely check out his most recent posts at  It's just such a refreshing time talking with passionate, like-minded educators.  Gives a little boost after the craziness of the everyday life of a teacher.

We have been getting to much tougher material and some of the students are thriving but many more are starting to really struggle.  It doesn't help that we are two weeks away from a 3 week Winter Break and many of my students are already in break mode.  I'm struggling with balancing between really pushing and helping those students who are trying (no matter if they are thriving or struggling) and not wanting to let any student slip through the cracks even if they are giving little to no effort in or out of class.  At some point, the desire and motivation has to come from within, and no amount of parent phone calls, meetings, or reminders is going to make a difference.
I also struggle with balancing between "I want you to master everything so you need to keep re-assessing until you get it" and "Let's just move on to something new" (when it doesn't directly correlate to anything in the future).  I don't want them to just give up on a concept but at the same time, pushing them and then seeing repeated failure is not encouraging for anyone.

We had a good week overall - Unit K is about sequences and series and we have five formulas to use... and of course I have a song for each of the formulas.  So, that has been a lot of fun pushing some of the students out of their comfort zones and really connecting with others.  However, the baseline factor is that you have to know the formula to use it, and I do require that my students memorize the formulas.  So, if they don't make the effort to commit the formulas to memory, they are a little bit stuck.

I know this is a short one but it's one of those weeks where I'm committing to blogging even though I don't have much to say and I'm exhausted.

Reflections and Results on "A Different Approach" - After Week 1

I hope we do this iPod thing again ;)

I enjoy being in this class

It'll be great if we spend more time using the ipod activity more often

I think my grades are improving

The class went by faster when we were using the iPods. I didn't feel bored.

I want to use the iPods more please

I really think you should continue the iPod activity!
It's really helping!

Thank you for the great experience and learning methods, hope we can use them again because this week was great! i actually looked forward to getting to class and getting my work done!

Those are just a few comments from my students on the end of week survey I am having them do this weekend.  Keep reading to hear more!


I posted on Monday about the new approach to flipping I was going to try in my CCSS Integrated Course 1 class this week.  The first day went very well and I was excited to see how the week would go.  Well, now week 1 is over and I'm ready to blog!

This blog is divided into three sections: My Thoughts (from a teacher perspective), Student Reflections (they completed a survey about how they felt about the week) and Quiz Results (from the quiz they took Friday covering the week's material)


My Thoughts
Overall, I am very happy with the week.  In week's past, I have been so frustrated and annoyed with my period 2 and 6 by the end of the day it was draining.  While the week was far from perfect, I felt like I had a positive attitude that was easy to keep because my students were engaged and involved in their learning.  Happier teacher = happier students.

To be completely open and honest, this method was not a quick-fixer for my lowest 2-3 students in each class period who never really did any work before.  At least they got SOME work done this week, but they were definitely NOT "on pace" Friday come quiz time.  I had one student who is assigned to a computer because he can't use the iPods and so he has to use headphones to hear the videos.  Yeah, he definitely had his headphones on, and plugged into HIS iPod/mp3 player listening to MUSIC and just watching what was on the screen, not listening to anything I was saying. (On the upside, at least he wasn't constantly distracting his classmates like he normally does.  Small victories, right?).

In the perfect world, I would have devices for every student.  Most students are working in groups of 2, while a few select students have their own device assigned to them.  I have them matched up pretty much at the same pace, but there are a few groups where there is a faster student who got a little frustrated waiting.  In addition, if a student was absent, they had to start off wherever they left off.  I usually would assign them to one of the computers (I always have about 2 computers left "open" for this situation) so they would work individually.

One downside is once Friday hit, some students did finish both the "classwork" and "homework" for Friday and still had about 20 minutes left.  I had recorded a few of the lessons for next week but hadn't uploaded them yet so I just kinda said, "Well, why don't you help someone else?".  Not the best idea for the most part, because to a 14 or 15 year old that turns into socializing quite quickly, especially on a Friday afternoon.  I forgot all about the "Problem of the Month" they are supposed to be working on throughout the unit, so that will be a better option next week if they finish early.

On the completely opposite end, there were a few students who were behind and never caught up before the end of the week. I would tell them to do a little extra at home to get caught up (especially in the case if they were absent for a day and were really behind), but they would rarely do that. 

So, overall, I'm really happy with it and the changes it is making in my classroom and for my students, and will be continuing to do "iPod activities" with them.  I will see how the feedback goes (it's really positive right now, see below) to see what I need to change or modify as time goes on.


Student Reflections
As of Saturday morning at 7:30, I have 38 students who have completed the end of week reflection (out of 71).  So, I'm going to blog about the results now and will make edits and updates to this post at the end of the weekend with the final numbers.

Overwhelmingly my students enjoyed the activities.  Out of the only two students who were "in the middle", one was absent the first two days of the week and was playing catchup, and the other likes it both ways.

I think I'm going to keep using this method :)

Here are some student comments regarding the questions above:

  • I enjoyed the activity because it was faster and easier.
  • i liked it because we could be on are own pace. Also we can learn hands on.
  • I enjoyed it because it was fun and we got to work with are partners.
  • the videos were so helpful and so much easier to understand then mrs.kirch explaining a lesson to alot of students at once. I also got to spend time with my class mates and discuss and get help from them. honestly, it was great to feel that Mrs.kirch trusted us with ipods as well. Over all it was very easy to understand and i catched on to everything pretty fast and even worked ahead of some people because i didnt have to wait for the whole class to be finished.
  • I enjoyed it because I get to learn new stuff on the I pod and quicker than when Mrs.Kirch teaches and with the I pod I am on my own pace
  • i enjoyed this activity because i got to work with my friends.I also understood this concept better using the ipod.
  • The iPod activities were a good way of learning new material quickly and at our own pace.
  • I got through a lot at a good pace and we weren't slowed down if someone was behind.

  • i enjoyed it because , i have a hard time paying attention & i was concentrating on the ipod.
  • i enjoyed it because it helped me understand better & i learned more this activity & working with partners.
  • I enjoyed because it mixed technology with math and it was very interesting to work with the ipod app.
  • i enjoyed it because we can work at our own speed and we dont have to work with others. [interesting to hear the contrast between students who see it as an opportunity to work with partners and others who see it as an opportunity to work more independently]
  • its easier then learning with the whole class
  • i liked it because we got to work in partners and also the ipod helped us while you where helping other students
  • I enjoy it because is was helpful i learn something new , but it sucks because we hardly could hear it. Other then that i like it a lot because you can work with a partner [students can bring their own headphones, but I don't provide them for them (sanitary reasons), so there were a lot of "Mrs. Kirch's" around the room]
  • because it was fun using an i pod
  • i enjoyed them because they allow me to pause the video whenever i need to fix something
  • It was alright because sometimes my partner went ahead and I wasnt really done.
  • i liked it because if i got stuck on a problem i got to go back and also i got to work on my own pace
  • I enjoyed the activities because it felt like everyone else had their own questions throughout the videos, so it's easy to stop and rewind and socialize about the situations without feeling like we're interrupting you. The only thing I didn't like all that much was the slowness of my partner(although that really has almost nothing to do with the IPod activity.) I enjoyed everything else.
  • I enjoyed it because I moved at my own pace and it was fun to know a device I use for entertainment can be used for school work to.
  • I enjoyed it because I actually get to pause it and correct me self or if I missed something I just go back n check
  • We got to go back i we didnt understand and we worked on our own pace.
  • I think it have me a better understanding of the concept like if it was one on one.
  • i enjoyed using them because i haven't done something like that before.
  • no because i don't understand it. [this is the student who plugged his headphones into his iPod and listened to music instead of listening to me on the video. Really? You didn't understand it? I wonder why... (hint of sarcasm there...)]
  • I really didn't dislike anything about them they were really fun to use.
  • i did love ipod activty those 3 mins videos explain alot of it.
  • becuase it was pretty fun i,ithink i learned better with them
  • I enjoyed it because I got to work at own paste. It also, helped me understand the work much better because it was giving me specific steps and it was explaining how to do it. I didn't get much distractions and it felt like I was the only student there working it was like my own teacher.
  • We enjoyed using the iPod because it was fun to do instead of worksheets and they helped us study for the quiz the only downside was that it took awhile for the videos to load [don't have a fix for this right now, it would probably take 5-10 seconds to load, but that's what happens when a lot of devices are accessing the same network]
  • i enjoyed the ipod activities this week because we can do our own thing but sometimes i cant get it
  • I enjoyed it because we got to work with our partners and talk to them to get a better understanding.
  • Well yes I enjoyed using the ipods but in a way I did not because I am a lazy person as in I dont like to walk too much but that is the only reason why but the ipod activity is great I loved how we actually got to use touch technology for math work it's pretty cool! This was actually the first time I ever use an ipod for math it's so awsome! :D
  • I thought it was very good because it's like you teaching me by myself and it's working great!
  • I chose 4 because it explained a lot and helped me in so many different ways that I understood. Sometimes it would take a long time for it to scan the bar code even though we would hold it there very still for a really long time and it still wouldn't scan. But other than that the iPod activity was really helpful.
  • I enjoyed the iPod Activities because I could go at my own pace and I could check if I was right or wrong.
  • I enjoy them because they help us step by step and we can go back if we are lost or forgot something.

  • Yes, I will like to continue using the iPod because it was fun learning.
  • i liked it how we could be at our own pace and that she shows us how to the problems.
  • I would like to use the iPod to learn more new things.

  • Yes, i would like to keep using the "ipod activity" because i felt like its easier for me to understand and the explainations in the videos are great and we get a good chance to get help and help our class mates.
  • I want to keep using them because I want to learn more stuff and learn them quick with the I pods
  • yes because i understand the concept better.
  • I really love the iPod activities. We could get right to work with our partners when we get into class, and we can get caught up at home if we need to by just going to the blog and clicking on the video links.
  • I really like how easy and fast it is to learn the material and I look forward to another week with the iPod's.

  • Its not that stressful , because i get scared to ask for help
  • I feel more sure and understand it more because i can work at my own pace and help my partner if he or she needs help.
  • i think its a good idea because we can all listen to what you say using the ipod and if we dont get it we can re watch it again and again
  • i feel like i can focus more on my own with the ipods
  • it helps to learn faster and quicker
  • I learned a lot from the Ipod at first i did not understand it , then i started to understand what i was doing. The video help a lot
  • i can pause when i need to fix something and if i didn't understand something i can rewind the video
  • I want to continue using the Ipods because I believe that this is a faster way to get us through lessons. Most of all, it was easier for both teacher and student.
  • I think the videos are a great way to learn because they explain step by step on how to do a certain page and you can pause whenever you dont understand something and rewind instead of holding back your whole class.
  • Yes I would like to continue because I love the way I can pause n play n I can go my own paste
  • i understand more clearly
  • Yes because is a good way to learn and discuss answers with your class mates.
  • Yes, I would like to use the iPods more because it helped me understand on what I'm working on. By seeing the videos and doing it steps by steps it allowed me to work on my own paste and visualize things clearly.
  • Yes because I like the way we get to do our individual work and not in groups because if we are in groups we have to wait for those who are far behind that is why it is better to have 1 partner so it is faster to help and move faster with our work
  • I think we should continue the iPod activity because students are really learning.
  • They help us use hints and strategies when we have an upcoming quiz or test.

The next set of questions asked them to compare this week's class with the previous couple of months.  I think some of them were confused by a few of the questions, but overall the results were what I thought they might be.

Quiz Results
I'm going to grade these later this weekend and will update the post when they are done!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A different approach to the flipped classroom

I've blogged several times this year about the brand new common core course I am teaching this year, which replaces the Algebra 1 class I've flipped the last 2 school years.  The content is completely different from before, so I am starting from scratch and haven't figured out how to integrate flipped learning strategies.

Well, this week I decided to finally delve in, since I had a little extra time over Thanksgiving Break to do more prep.

The "one question" that a lot of us flippers always refer to is "What's the best use of the face to face time you have with your students?"  I have known since day 1 of this year that it WASN'T being up front delivering instruction to all of my students at once, but with the brand new curriculum and content I'd never taught before for this year, I didn't know how to change that at first.  I wanted to find a better way to support my students, to help my students, and to differentiate for my students.  I was just stuck.  I knew this would be a challenge at the beginning of the year, but didn't know what a solution would be. I tried some stuff a few weeks ago with flipping the "quiz review" (pre/post), and it went well so I got to thinking of how this might just work for this new course.

Flipped Learning, according to the Flipped Learning Network webpage (, is defined as:
What is Flipped Learning? Flipped Learning occurs when direct instruction is moved from the group teaching space to the individual learning environment.

I love this definition, because it takes away the misconception of "class time" vs "home time" and distinguishes into group vs. individual learning space.

For the students I have this year, I don't want to send them home with a video.  I just don't think it would work that well with this group.  However, I have gotten sick, tired, frustrated, annoyed, and many other adjectives with trying to give direct instruction to the whole class at once (in the "group learning space"). I simply don't feel like I am meeting the needs of my students, I am struggling to differentiate and support the students who are all at different levels.  I have been trying to figure out a way to implement flipped learning principles in a different way than I do with my Honors Math Analysis students, because I don't think that method would work best with these students. 

So why not have the students watch the videos IN CLASS but still in their "individual" learning space??

For this new unit, I made short 2-5 minute videos for each portion of the lesson I would have done direct instruction for.  This doesn't cover everything, as there are some group activities, exploratory activities, or practice activities I want them doing collaboratively or individually.  But every day has at least some portion of instruction.

Luckily, I do have some devices in my classroom.  I have 13 iPod touches, 2 desktops, and 2 laptops available for student use.  I have 2-3 students in each class with their own 3G/4G phones.  So, students are either able to work individually or with just one other person with a device.  They are all assigned an iPod number so I can keep good track of them and the students have a sense of ownership during their class period of their device they are using.

To make it a little more fun, students get the video links by scanning in a QR code from our class blog.  That takes them to a ShowMe video (I started using ShowMe because the videos show up on mobile devices... Educreations videos don't show up on iPods!! :/ Major bummer...).

You can see the video links here.  (and yes, Grayson is playing in the background of several videos and my students called me out on that during class today :))

The whole class period students are working at their own pace and able to pause the video whenever they need.  In addition, I AM THERE to help these struggling students at the exact point they need help.  I am able to answer questions just in time and students don't get off task and distracted because of comments or questions other students are making to get attention on themselves (something that happens very often with these students)

For this week, I have grouped the students homogenously, so I have a few tables of "top" kids that don't need much help and a few tables of struggling students who now can't just depend on copying their neighbor and can actually get more focused help from me during class.  I've given the students the plan for the week here and I've told the students that they may not ever have to do math "homework" again depending on how they work in class.

So, what did I see on DAY ONE of this new method?
-Two students who have very low F's and have hardly done anything all year and are just major distractions actually working and asking questions.
-My top students working collaboratively and focused, and able to finish far ahead of the rest of the class and move on
-My students with special needs (3 in one class, 7 in the other) focusing more than I've seen them focus all year because there weren't the huge distractions of all the students in the class
-Me being able to interact with basically every student in the class (this year I'm lucky with class sizes of 35 and 27 for this course)
-Me being able to ask questions and probe for understanding from small groups of students

I am very hopeful to see how this goes.  I have what I call "iPod activities" (I haven't even mentioned the word 'flipped' to them) planned for all this week and will do them this weekend for next week if all goes well.  All I know is this is the first day in as long as I can remember this school year I have left 2nd and 6th period feeling good, feeling like my students learned something, feeling like my students were actively engaged in their learning 90% + of the period.  And that felt really good.
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