Saturday, June 30, 2012

WSQ for 5th Graders...and other ramblings

Most people who are out there in the "flipping" world...okay, that sounded bad, but you know what I mean...have heard of Crystal Kirch.  She started flipping last year (like me), and both of us have been blogging about the process.  Her blog can be found here.  Crystal teaches High School math & uses something called the W.S.Q. (Watch, Summarize, Question) with her students.  It worked well for her, and did something that I feel is incredibly important but doesn't happen often enough - it incorporates writing into math, two subjects that seem to be opposites.

After following her blog this year, I knew I wanted to try her W.S.Q. method, but I need to tweak it, as I have 5th graders, and she has high schoolers.  Below, I've embedded the prezi I will use to introduce the W.S.Q. to my students in the fall.

A couple of reminders for myself in the fall:
1)  Spend the first unit heavily guiding the students through their WSQ's.
2)  For each unit following the first unit, do the first WSQ together, therefore keeping it fresh in their minds.
3)  Have some variety for their summaries...paragraphs, lists, bulleted items

If you watch the prezi, you can see that I require them to write a sample problem in their summary.  My thought is to use that sample problem when they are done proving their knowledge.  I'd like to get more students involved in the video making process, by recording themselves solving a problem.  The problem from their summary is a great place to start.

Another idea...

I'd love to have my videos with a whole bunch of student created videos all in one location so if a student is stuck and needs to see sample problems, they will have a whole bunch to choose from.  I've recently heard about MentorMob, which I will blog about later, once I know more about it, but I think it might serve this purpose.  Making several sample problem videos is something I would have liked to have done last year, but realistically, there was zero time!  Why should I be doing all that work, put it on the kids...what's that old saying..."If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day.  If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime."

It's time to teach these kids to fish!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

FlipCon Session "Past, Present & Future"

The session I'm going to review is called "Using Video Podcasting to Revolutionize the Classroom:  past, present & future".  This presentation is given by Jerry Overmeyer, a professor at the University of Northern Colorado.  He started MAST (Math and Science Teaching Institute).

I want to give Jerry credit for his work, so everything that is in blue is taken directly from his presentation...the rest is my impressions/reflection.

The flipped classroom is NOT:

  • about replacing teachers with videos
    • Teachers are even more essential in a flipped classroom because now they need to come up with the "hands-on" and application activities for the students when they get to class.  To have an effective flipped classroom, you need to utilize your face time with students.  If you're making the videos, then just sitting back during class & doing no one-on-one time, then you're not doing it right!  Everyone says "there's no right way to do a flipped classroom"  I agree, there are multiple ways to teach in a flipped classroom...BUT...there is a wrong way.  If students are still trying to do the "homework" by themselves, then something is amiss.
  • an on-line course
    • On-line courses are completely done "on-line".  Face-to-face time with a teacher is non-existent, which I'd argue is the opposite of a flipped classroom.
  • about the videos
    • Are the videos a component of the flipped classroom?  Yes.  However, the power comes from the time you have with your kids after they've seen the videos...You know, all that one-on-one time I mentioned above.
When you start a flipped classroom, ease into the process:
  • You don't have to go all out, all lessons from the get-go.  Maybe start with one unit, see how it goes, learn from, then try another unit later in the year.
  • Personally, I went all out, and I'm glad I did (glad now, it was a little crazy this year while making the videos).
  • No matter how you start, you will find ways to improve.  Personally, I am hoping to add mastery teaching into my room next year, something I wasn't even thinking about until I started the flipped class.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Flip Con 2012 - Keynote

Since I am unable to attend the FlipCon 2012 conference in person, I have purchased the virtual a way I think this might be better because I get to watch every session, at my leisure, from the comfort of my least that's what I'm telling myself :-)

As a way to keep track of everything I'm learning, I decided...of blog about it!

First up is Brian Bennett (@bennettscience on twitter) giving the keynote.  Brian Bennett is a former chemistry teacher from Evansville, Indiana.  He recently accepted a position at South Bend Career Academy.  I've been following Brian on twitter and his blog for the past 6 months or so.  He's also been an active member of the #flipclass pd on Monday nights.  For those of you who don't know what that is, I think I'm going to have to dedicate a whole other post to the topic because it's been a very powerful tool in my learning this year.

I'm looking forward to his keynote because many of his posts have really intrigued and inspired me.  If you're interested in more about Brian, his blog is here.

Brian talked about a lot of different things during his keynote, and it was incredibly inspirations, here are some of the take aways that I want to be sure to remember:

It's all about the choices we make as an educator...
Brian talked about how nothing will really change in education until we make a mental shift.  Having all the technology in the world isn't going to make us good teachers, it's how we use it that will make the difference.  He voiced his frustration of recognizing that even though he was using the videos, nothing had changed.  This particular part of the presentation really spoke to me because I'm also feeling that frustration.  I've got the videos, the kids are watching them & coming to class & solving problems...but I don't feel like I'm there yet.  So where to go from here, that is one of the things I'm hoping to glean from the conference in the next two days.

What does a good classroom look like...
I think, at least at the elementary level, we do a lot of the group work/collaboration/desk arrangement that he's talking about.  I don's see too many classrooms set up in rows (at least not in my district).  However, it does make it difficult when everything you do isn't group work.  In an elementary we teach everything, and not everything is flipped & group work, so when we need the direct instruction, it does make it a little more challenging.  I guess it all comes down to procedures set in place for when you're doing different types of learning.

What does "class time" really look like...
This is where I want some more guidance.  My focus needs to be how can I best utilize my face-to-face time.  Right now I don't know that I'm using my time as well as I could.  I'm not trying to totally get down on myself, because this year has been an improvement.  However, this improvement and constant reflecting that I've been doing has shown me how much room I still have to grow...which in itself is a pretty amazing reflection.

Menus as assessment = awesome!
Brian talked a bit about using menu's as assessments...more on that later, bc I have some real thinking/planning to do around that.

Overall, a very inspirational start to the I need to play parent for awhile, more posts to come!