Category Archives: Flipped Classroom
My experience with my new flipped math classes!
I am teaching on-level Algebra 1 this year, and I wanted to spend my First Five Days with them teaching them something that would not only create a good relationship with them, but would also help them build good relationships with each other. I want to make my classroom a space that makes them feel safe to be themselves and make mistakes without feeling embarrassed.
I remember hearing from a number of experts, including Alan November, saying that the one skill that employers and college professors agree is missing from high school graduates is empathy. So, over the summer, I researched how others teach empathy: clear videos, meaningful activities, guided discussions. There is a lot of information out there, and I spent a lot of time filtering through it and sequencing it properly.
I also wanted to incorporate the technology lessons in, since they are still valuable to students during high school, so I tried to find ways to related the empathy lessons to the technology lessons.
I finally decided to build up the the idea of empathy by spending a day on perspective, two days on compassion, and two days on empathy.
Here are the results:
Day 1: Perspective
- Begin with a YouTube video of a sculpture by Mattheu Robert Ortis that looks like two giraffes or an elephant, depending on where you stand.
- Give each student a piece of paper and ask them to draw any part of the classroom. Then, let each student share what he or she drew, and why he or she decided to draw that. Discuss how each person can see different parts of the classroom, and can interpret a given assignment in many different ways. Two people can draw the same thing, but from different angles and in different styles.
- Discuss what it means to have perspective when you are doing research. Show them easywhois.com as a way to see if the author of an article shares the same perspective as them. As an example, use easywhois.com to find out more about the author of a Martin Luther King website, with shocking results.
- Share an image that demonstrates how two different perspectives can both be true but incomplete. Discuss how it’s important to learn from other people’s perspectives rather than argue.
- End with a YouTube video about perspective, produced by Apple.
- For homework, have students get a personal story from a relative that they do not live with, e.g., how their grandparents met, how an uncle got his first job, what it was like when an aunt was attending college.
Day 2: Compassion
- Begin with a YouTube video about compassion, produced by Happify.
- Let students take the story they collected from a relative, and whittle it down to exactly six words. (This is based on the “six-word story” by Ernest Hemingway.) Let students share their stories and share how they feel about them. Let other students share how they feel while they were listening.
- Discuss what it means to understand how it feels when something happens, especially if it happened somewhere else in the world.
- Discuss the shootings in Munich on July 22. How would we know how the Germans were feeling?
- Try Google, but quickly realize that we are only getting information about the American perspective, so it is difficult to show compassion.
- Introduce the Google command “site:” which allows you to search by domain suffix. We need to use the command “site:de” along with keywords “munich” and “shootings” to search exclusively in German websites. The results are much different, but much more meaningful.
- Introduce the Google command “filetype:” which allows you to search by file types, like “filetype:ppt” for Powerpoint presentations, or “filetype:docx” for Word documents.
- Introduce the Tech Dictionary website, that lists all domain suffixes and what they mean.
- End with a YouTube video of Thupten Jinpa explaining the obstacles that stop us from showing compassion. This video is produced by Big Think.
- For homework, have students complete a survey about who they are and how they feel about world issues, future life events, high school, and taking my Algebra 1 class.
- Watch a YouTube video by TrueMove H about giving.
- Interview each student on video, asking them the same questions that were on the survey.
- While doing this, focus on what’s going on in the classroom: Watch the students gather around the students that have just finished being interviewed. Listen to the discussion that follows. The students that haven’t been interviewed want to know how it felt to be interviewed on video. The students who just finished their interviews assure them that it was short and there was no reason to be nervous. There is definite evidence of students showing compassion here.
- Ask them what was happening in the world on their birthday? What did certain websites look like?
- Introduce archive.org and the WayBackMachine. Look up certain websites to see what they looked like decades ago.
- Look up the New York Times website on September 11, 2001. Let students try to understand how it felt when that happened. (I discovered that these students were all born after September 11, 2001, so 9/11 will now be taught in history classes as an event that they were not alive to learn about at the time.)
- End with a compilation YouTube video of people showing compassion to others in many different situation. Discuss how little effort and time it takes to show compassion. We just need to pay attention and recognize others in need.
- For homework, have students find a story of a famous person who failed many times before he/she became successful.
- Watch a compilation YouTube video, of celebrities discussing their failures.
- Read the stories of different celebrities and their failures, and have students guess who you are talking about.
- Play a game where, as a class, we count to 50, with each student saying the number after the previous student. The only rule is that if a number is a multiple of 3 (like 6 or 21) or has a 3 in it (like 13 or 37), you say “red” instead of the number. If any student says “red” when they should have said a number, or vice versa, we start over. How long will this take?
- As the game progresses, I kept saying, “It’s okay to fail,” like a chant. Hopefully they remember that.
- After the game, discuss how it felt to make a mistake. How many mistakes did we make? Does it matter, since we succeeded in the end? What matters is that we kept getting better with each mistake until we ultimately made it to 50.
- Have students pair up as Speaker and Listener. Speaker shares a story of failure that he or she doesn’t mind sharing. Listener is given the five steps to active listening (Make eye contact, Remember the facts, Imagine the situation, Ask how they feel, Show you care) and demonstrates them during the conversation. Have students switch roles.
- Discuss how the Listener demonstrated empathy during the conversation. How did it feel just to know someone was listening, rather than offering solutions or taking over the conversation?
- End with a YouTube video of philosopher Jay Shetty, about learning from failures.
Day 5: Empathy (continued)
- Watch a YouTube video of Brené Brown, produced by RSA, on empathy, and how it is different from sympathy.
- Review the five steps to active listening.
- Have students pair up as Speaker and Listener. Each Speaker is given a slip of paper with a different story on it that describes a small failure that could happen (e.g., forgot to tie shoelace, ate soggy cereal for breakfast). Each Listener is given a suggestion of how to listen incorrectly (e.g., don’t make eye contact, interrupt the Speaker with a story of your own).
- Have Speakers pretend to be overly upset with their situation. Have Listeners follow the instructions on their slips of paper.
- Discuss how it felt when empathy is not shown.
- Now switch roles and have the new Listener show empathy. In what ways was this better?
- End the week by inviting students to take a Google Forms survey of how much they have learned about perspective, compassion, and empathy.
I was excited to read the student responses to the survey. Here’s what I saw:
There are comments that accompany these results, so I will be spending the next few days reading over these, in order to find ways to improve.
This week was definitely different enough to attract the attention of the Instructional Coach, Digital Learning Coach, and the Principal. The Principal even featured these First Five Days in his weekly “Friday Focus” email to the entire staff!
I look forward to seeing how these First Five Days improves the environment in my classroom, and I can’t wait to use the lessons we learned to help my students be academically and personally successfully this year.
Thanks to Alan November for introducing me to the idea of the First Five Days the technological tools that I share with the students.
Thanks to Aaron L. Polansky for showing me the connections between perspective, compassion, and empathy.
Thanks to the administration at Coppell High School for trusting me to have an idea and run with it.
One of the frustrations of teaching advanced classes, like the IB Math classes I teach, is the tendency for students to focus too much on GPA, especially as it applies to college applications. Students frequently value GPA over learning, which leads to a constant battle over a point or two on every test.
I thought that I could deal with this frustration by repeatedly telling seniors that GPA isn’t as important as they think it is. There are other elements of their college applications that weigh equally or more than their GPA.
There are two problems: (1) I went to college in Canada, and (2) I went to college decades ago. Both of these facts made me less credible as a college advisor in their eyes.
So I decided to try something different: A month before school started this year, I wrote a post on Facebook, specifically directed to any of my former IB seniors who have been in college for at least a year. I asked if any of them were available to visit with my class and give my students a better and clearer overview of the college application experience and college life once they attend classes.
Within hours, IB alumni were responding and I had a full schedule of guest speakers ready to share their experiences.
Each period of each day, for the first five days, one or two IB graduates answered questions from the seniors. The questions were very specific and well thought out, and the answers were wise and personal at the same time. The graduates clearly enjoyed the opportunity to share what they knew, and the seniors had a sense of reassurance that the process, though grueling, would get them into the right college.
(pictured above – Jeanna, Sarah, Laura and Ryan, Pranav, Sanjani, Ashley, Christina, Mio, Akshaya, Archie, Shreya, Michelle)
Was it all worth it? Did the seniors appreciate the effort? I allowed them to give feedback through a Google Forms survey. Here are the results of a couple of questions:
If 98.1% of the seniors (52 out of the 53) felt the same or better about college, I’d say that this was a success!!
The one thing I need to remember next year is to have any potential on-campus visitors complete a background check, as per district regulations. Also, it would probably be a good idea for the seniors to think of their questions in advance, to avoid big gaps of silence in the conversation. I think next time I will also have students document for themselves any new information they hear in the conversation that will affect their decision, and tell them to keep this documentation in a place where they can access it as they progress through the college application process.
I’m very pleased with how this turned out. Even though the graduates were admittedly nervous, they were honest and professional, as were the seniors. The discussion was meaningful and educational. And I think everyone, myself included, learned a lot during this first week.
Thank you to all of the graduates who volunteered their time to make this such a big success!
It was once again a surprise when I came to school on Friday, the day before my birthday, and saw a sea of blue shirts and khaki pants, as my students decided to dress up like me for my birthday. Not only that, but I was further surprised when alumni showed up in similar colors! What a great day! As ever, I am honored and humbled by such a show of appreciation. My students are the best, and they make teaching so worthwhile. Thank you so much!!
What a difference! I have now been flipping my classroom for three weeks, and the changes have been quite remarkable. Before I explain, let me share the process that I’ve developed to make sure students can easily keep up with the pace of the class:
Step 1: Make a Keynote presentation – I use my snipping tool to cut and paste directly from the notes. These notes had already been created by my incredible teammate, Michelle Bellish, with solutions worked out in detail by my equally incredible teammate, Penny Martin. On Keynote, I work each problem, adding text on top of the notes as I go. I use varying animations and transitions to make it look more appealing to the viewers.
Step 2: Create a Camtasia project – I record myself going through the animated Keynote, explaining each step as it shows up on the screen. (I’ve tried writing out the steps by hand during the recording process, but that makes the videos longer.)
Step 3: Convert the project to a video that is uploaded to YouTube – This allows anyone to view the lesson on my YouTube channel. The expectation is that my students will watch the video and take notes while watching. In order to receive their assignment the next day, they must show me their completed notes.
Step 4: Create a lesson in Zaption – This allows me to insert multiple-choice questions directly into the video that students must answer in order to continue watching. I get a copy of their answers and use this to see who watched the video as instructed, and how well those students understood what they watched. Thank you to Stacey Roshan for recommending Zaption!
Step 5: Update the notes used in Step 1 – I copy and paste the video link from Zaption at the top of the page in the Word document. That way, when I give them the notes at the end of class, they know where to find the video that evening.
Step 6: Create a new page in my Schoology classes – Schoology is our school’s mandatory platform for teachers to share notes, assignments, important dates, etc. Each of my pages on Schoology contains the embedded video, a PDF of the notes, and another PDF of the assignment. This is for any student who is absent for any reason, so that they do not get behind. It is also for any student who lost the notes that I had given them.
Step 7: Keep a printed roster during class – I use this to keep track of who has watched the video (by checking Zaption analytics), and shown me their completed notes. Those students are given a copy of the assignment. Any student who cannot show me the completed notes for any reason must watch (or re-watch) the video and complete the notes before receiving the assignment. Once students complete the assignment, they receive a copy of the notes for the next lesson. When the end of class gets close, I give a set of notes to anyone who has not yet received them, so that everyone has a chance to watch the video for that night.
Step 8: Alternate between walking around the room and working with a small group that still struggles with the material – With the small group, I can give more individual attention, and I make sure they do not feel embarrassed about needing it. I openly communicate my belief that, rather than compare themselves to their classmates, all students should embrace how strong or weak they are in mathematics, and at the same time, strive to get a little better each day.
I have been supported throughout this entire process by my campus leaders, Mike Jasso and Kayla Parker. Mr. Jasso has even shared my blog posts with counselors and department chairs on campus. (I was quite honored and humbled by that.)
While tweaking this process, I wanted to do everything I could to make it foolproof. The video is on Schoology (which they should be checking for all of their classes anyway), and a link to that same video is at the top of the notes that I hand them personally at the end of class. The questions are embedded in the video so that they can’t keep watching until they’ve given an answer. The video is an exact replica of the notes so that, at the very least, they can copy what they see, even if they don’t completely understand it, and then ask questions the next day.
Here’s how things are progressing: For the most part, students are watching the videos and answering the questions correctly. They are taking excellent notes, and can work on the assignment either by themselves or with others at the same table. There are still a few students that want me to teach the lesson in front of the class, even after watching the video, but this number is slowly decreasing, and I honestly don’t mind doing that for those that still need the live lecture. I am also noticing a growing number of students teaching each other, which is truly wonderful to watch.
Admittedly, there are, and always will be, those that will not do what is asked, for one reason or another. But I do not rescue them. I hold them to the same standards as everyone else, and the date of the end goal (i.e., the test) is the same for everyone, regardless of how they get there. If they didn’t watch the video, they need to do that before I will help them. The reason for not watching is not important. Ultimately, they were given a responsibility, and they still needs to do the work. Otherwise, it sends a message that my expectations vary depending on the student, and if you don’t do the work, I will eventually do it for you. This is definitely not the message I want to send.
At some point, students need to take ownership of their own learning, rather than just doing what they’re told. In my classes, I’ve noticed more students exhibiting this level of responsibility than there were before the flip. I can’t wait to see what happens as the second semester begins!
Don’t be misled – the frustration was intentional.
Just to update you, I spent this week showing my flipped videos in class and watching the students take notes, just to make sure they knew how to “watch a video.” The note taking went well, since the videos followed the notes exactly. The video watching, on the other hand, was quite frustrating for them. They asked me to pause, rewind, and explain quite frequently. I expected this because, unlike a lecture, the video explains things once, so if a student’s mind drifted, or they were otherwise distracted, that student missed important information. Whenever I was asked to explain in person, I used the same wording that I used in the video.
Were there complaints? Oh, yes! One student took a survey of the entire class, and asked, “Now who understood all of that?” He was surprised when a neighbor sitting right behind him said, “Actually, all of us at this table are working ahead on the assignment now.” And it was true. About a third of the students understood most of what was in the video, enough to tackle the assignment that was handed out beforehand.
Two other students were just mad, admittedly. They stayed after class to tell me how angry they were. They had previously told me that they had been lost in math class before, and before I had decided to flip, they were actually learning. They were worried that they would be lost again because they thought I would be relying solely on the videos to teach them, and I would not be giving them any personal attention at all. I explained to them that all they had to do was watch the video in the evening and take good notes. I was not expecting them to understand everything I said in the videos, just to hear it at least once before they showed up to class. I told them that, from now on, I would be working with a small group that watched the video the night before but still needed some help understanding, and if they wanted to be a part of that group each day, they were more than welcome. They were somewhat happy about that, but were still skeptical.
At the end of the week, I gave all students their assignment for Monday. It was the usual set of notes, with a link to the video at the top. (Everything they need for this and all future lessons is cross-posted to every possible place they would need to find it, just to avoid excuses.) I also announced that on any given day, there would likely be at least three groups: (1) the ones who didn’t watch the video, who would have to spend the beginning of class watching the video before beginning the day’s assignment; (2) the ones who watched the video and do not need any further explanation, who would begin the assignment as soon as they got to class; and (3) the ones who watched the video but needed more explanation or help understanding, who would be in a small group with me going over any questions they had about the lesson and notes before beginning the assignment. It was up to them which group they wanted to be in. I explained that the size of each group would vary from day to day, but we would work through it together.
The response was mixed. Most of them were very unsure. But some were excited at the idea of being able to work ahead. One student asked if he could work days ahead, and I said yes, but since I didn’t have all of the videos done for the year yet, he would only be able to get so far.
So, all in all, I would consider this week a success, even though anyone who would have visited my Algebra 2 classes this week might understandably disagree. I am really looking forward to next week. To be clear, I don’t think it will go perfectly, but I do welcome the challenges that will make me rethink my process and make it better, for me and for the students.
They said it couldn’t be done. In fact I was told by some of my closest (non-flipping) colleagues, “Flipped classroom doesn’t work with on-level students.” Period. Maybe I’m stubborn, but I took that more as a dare than a warning.
So yes, I plan to start using the flipped approach with my on-level Algebra 2 students. While they are just as capable as my IB Math students, I realize that their attitude towards learning math independently may vary slightly. So I have to approach this differently. First, I have to give them the motivation to watch the videos at home. And second, I have to give them some accountability that lets me know that they are actually doing what I asked them to do at home. I have to admit I’ve been listening to Jon Bergmann’s podcast for inspiration, and it has been extremely helpful.
The motivation is simple: most of these kids are naturally social. So the classroom activities that follow the basic lessons must be of a very social nature. That way, if students don’t watch the videos at home, they must watch them during class, delaying their ability to be social during the activity.
The accountability is equally simple: a set of fill-in-the-blank notes that matches the content of the video exactly. I give this to the students as they leave class, and they bring it back the next day. For absent (or absent-minded) students, an online copy of the same blank notes is available.
Here’s how I plan to unroll the new approach:
Step 1: Teach the lesson using a pre-made Powerpoint – the kind I use in my videos – while students take notes. This gets students familiar with how the lessons will look once they are watching them at home – the animations, the transitions, the fonts, the explanations. I will do this for a week so that the pattern is set.
Step 2: Watch the videos during class, while students fill in their notes. Students realize that watching these videos is not like watching a movie. They have to pay attention and follow the examples. They have to write things down, and they have to understand what they are writing. While they watch the video, I walk around and encourage them as they take notes.
During this same time frame, we start some of the more social learning activities for each lesson, at different levels depending on how comfortable they are with the content. I also hold small group tutoring sessions for those that need further assistance in understanding. But we soon realize that we don’t have enough time to do it all.
After about a week, we have a discussion about whether they prefer to sit and take notes during class, or whether they prefer we spend the time doing activities that could actually be completed during class. (Which do you think they will choose?) At this point, I ask them if they would be willing to fill in the notes at home so that we could have more time in class. This would require a majority of participation in order to work, but that’s where peer pressure – the good kind – would be a motivating factor. Since they may not remember where to find the videos at first, I put a QR code and a tinyurl address at the top of the notes page. I tell them that they must watch the video and fill in their notes during the evening in order to participate, and I stick to it. Classroom laptops would be available for those who forget or choose not to watch. Those who did watch the video can then participate in the activities. They can pick their comfort level, they can work with each other, or they can get more guidance from me.
So that’s the plan. It may work, or I may get egg on my face. Either way, I’m trying. And if I do fail, that just means that this plan didn’t work, but I won’t give up. I believe in this so much, and how it builds student-teacher relationships, and how it allows me to scaffold instruction to meet individual needs. I really hope this works, and if it doesn’t, I’ll just reflect on it, fix what I can, and try again.
I am a firm believer in the idea that the “Chapter Review” or “Unit Review” is the student’s responsibility. After all, “review” means “to see again” and I’ve already shown it to them once.
So here’s what I do. I give all students access to the Chapter Review at the beginning of the chapter. As the chapter progresses, I point out which questions they should be able to to at this point.
When the chapter ends, my formal instructional obligation is complete. Now the review is their responsibility, as a class. And that is exactly how I present it to them.
In my class, I give two days for review. On the first day, students are required to make a video of the solutions to any three questions on the review. (There are usually 8-10 questions total on the review.) I advise them to use EduCreations to create their videos, or to post them on YouTube, since these two options have URLs associated with their videos. Once they have recorded their videos, students fill out a Google Form giving me their name, question number, and the URL to their video. They are to do this three times, once for every problem they solved.
After the first day, I compile a list of all of the questions that have been answered in video format, and sort them by question number. On the second day, I present them with a TinyURL that links to the entire list, and I tell them that they can watch any video to help them understand how to solve the problem, and they can watch as many different videos as they need to in order to understand it completely.
Why do I do this? Honestly, while I have complete confidence in my ability to explain the necessary concepts, I feel that, more often than not, students learn better from each other, because they speak the same language, even when they are talking about complicated math problems. I was worried at first that I would hear words like “stuff” and “things” and “this part over here.” Instead, I noticed that students like to use the right terminology as much as possible. In fact, they use proper terminology more than I do!
When I first introduced this method of review, the students were understandably nervous. Most of them, understandably, don’t like the sound of their own voice when they hear it in a recording. Others were unsure that they explained it properly, or even got the right answer. (I post all videos, by the way, because I believe it’s still beneficial to learn from others when they make mistakes.)
As the year went on, students got more comfortable with this idea, and even got creative with it. Sometimes they would alter their voice, speak with an accent, and find other ways to make their videos a little bit silly, but still informative.
This method or reviewing for tests has proven to be very successful over the past few years, to the point where I actually started including videos of former students for my current students to watch. (After all, it’s better to have too many resources from which to study than too few, right?) Students are now taking ownership of their review process, and they are no longer relying on me to re-teach them concepts before tests.
The results? Two years ago, 90% of my students passed the IB Math exams. This past year, 93% of my students passed the IB Math exams. To clarify things, IB students are scored on a range from 1 to 7, with 4 and higher considered to be a passing score. Here is a closer look at how these scores were allocated:
My job in the classroom on review days has shifted. Now I provide formative assessment on their process of studying from others. As I watch, they listen intently. They take notes. They rewind videos if they don’t quite understand part of the process. And when they just don’t understand, they move on to someone else’s explanation. This is a combination of high-level communication skills, collaboration skills, organization skills, and problem solving skills, all of which will prepare them for college and for their career.
Up until this point, I have been creating my videos, and posting them to (i) the “Coppell IB Math” Google Site, and (ii) the iTunes U courses I created for Math Higher Level 2, Math Standard Level 2, and Math Studies. I’ve also been posting the videos on YouTube, just to give my students different options for locating the videos. And I was happy as long as my students were able to access the videos.
Little did I know that, over time, it wasn’t just my students that were subscribing to my iTunes U courses. While I have only taught about 300 Higher Level 2 and Standard Level 2 students, I have noticed that over 1700 people have subscribed to my HL2/SL2 iTunes U course! Similarly, I have taught a total of 10 Math Studies students, but more than 800 students have subscribed to my Math Studies iTunes U course!
Then I started looking at my YouTube videos. By the way, YouTube allows you to see who has been watching your videos, and can give you these statistics in as many ways as you can imagine. Not knowing this until recently, I decided to investigate. First of all I have 198 subscribers, but I only recognize 17 of them as students I have taught in my class. Then I went to see how many views … over 40,000 views!! This raised some questions, like: Which video do they watch the most? Where are the viewers from?
Apparently, my 5 most watched videos, as of August 30, 2015, are:
- 10,515 views – Derivatives of arcsin(x), arccos(x), arctan(x)
- 8,539 views – Fermat’s Little Theorem
- 5,064 views – Linear Congruences
- 1,906 views – The Chinese Remainder Theorem
- 849 views – Linear Diophantine Equations
And the viewers come from countries all over the world. Here are the top 10:
- 16,206 views – United States
- 3,462 views – India
- 2,926 views – United Kingdom
- 2,846 views – Canada
- 1,452 views – Philippines
- 876 views – Australia
- 778 views – Sweden
- 680 views – South Africa
- 509 views – Malaysia
- 481 views – Norway
For a complete chart of all countries with more than 200 views, click this link: YouTubeStats
I never dreamed that when I would start the Flipped Classroom that my silly little videos would help teach students across the world. And the YouTube watchers (again, not my students) are also very generous with their compliments too!
- “Thank you! I am teaching myself number theory with the goal of making it part of a high school discrete math course that I’d like to teach. This is most helpful and explained quite well. I will definitely check out your other material.” – J.M.
- “I will have a paper 3 IB exam tomorrow, thank you so much for your videos! They are all really helpful! :)” – T.V.
- “Thank you Ian! Finally i got this!” – L.L.
- “wow.. you are saving my life..your explanation is so clear and easy to follow..thank you very much..” – K.K.
- “Hey Ian, I really appreciate this video. You do a great job with these videos. In 10 minutes you clarified something I’ve been wrestling for a week since my “professor” explained it in class. Molte Grazie!” – A.G.
One YouTube viewer from Lapu-Lapu City in the Philippines liked my video on Fermat’s Little Theorem and asked if I would explain Wilson’s Theorem. I told her that it wasn’t part of my curriculum, but afterward, I became curious as to what Wilson’s Theorem was. So I researched it, found a proof that I could follow, and made a video for her. It can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gk2yjoICL68
Let me give you some background: I teach IB Math in Coppell, and our program is still growing, which means I don’t yet teach full classes of 30 kids all taking the same level of IB Math. Instead, I have classes of 10 or 15, sometimes fewer, and it is challenging for school counselors to schedule all of those students, because they are also interested in Band or Athletics, or other extra-curricular activities that are usually only offered during specific periods of the day.
So students have limited choices as to when they can take the desired IB Math class, and equally limited choices as to when they can take their extra-curricular class. As a result, some students are left to choose one or the other. I don’t like this; I would hate for students to make such a choice. This goes against my belief in the purpose of high school, i.e., an opportunity to experience all avenues of education in order to wisely determine where they will go afterward.
And that’s the reason I’m glad I am flipping! Weeks ago, I told the counselor that I am willing to teach any IB math student during any of my available IB math periods. This means I have Higher Level students co-seated with Standard Level students, and I have Standard Level students co-seated with Math Studies students. For a non-flipping teacher, this would be a nightmare! But since I already have all of the videos and post-video quizzes made, my time during class is spent helping each student individually, and students are shown neither favoritism nor neglect.
I’m very excited about this year, because I think it speaks volumes as to what can be accomplished when flipping is implemented correctly. I don’t have to limit myself to one math course per period. With proper organization, I think this year is going to be an exciting challenge!
I still plan to keep those practices that have worked well for me in the past – the collaborative room layout, the Raw Hundo Club, an overview day at the beginning of each unit, a high-level discussion question at the beginning of class, and worksheets that lead to the punchline of a witty math joke. I still plan on using a flexible assessment, but I am thinking of making it mandatory at least twice per semester. This means that twice each semester, instead of taking the unit test, the student must create something of original design that demonstrates a high level of knowledge of the entire unit. The final product and the level of knowledge demonstrated is decided by the student based on a rubric that I provide in advance.
Again, I am very excited about this, my fourth year Flipping my Classroom. I will be sure to share details about my progress throughout the year.
A week ago, my students celebrated my birthday by coming to school dressed in blue shirts and khaki pants. It was truly a thrill to see all of them suddenly have an acute sense of fashion.
This year I also got a special treat, as three of my seniors from last year (from left: Sat H., Daniel C., and Suyash A.) came back from college to visit, and they too were following in the BSKP tradtion.
It was a very memorable birthday! Thank you so much to all of my students! You helped to make this a very special day!