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.