Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I know I've been away for a REAL LONG time but I figure its time to start posting again. Anyhow here is a post I made on MSP2 about my new experience of "flipping" my math classroom.

So a couple months ago, I was having a conversation on twitter with another teacher discussing homework and how I had kids not doing it, doing it all wrong, etc. She suggested I watch a video link she sent me from youtube on "flipping the classroom." Here's the video link- check it out The Flipped Classroom.

Anyhow, it just made so much sense to me. So I decided to go ahead and "flip" my classroom. I was just finishing up my unit on fractions, so it made sense to start with my unit on decimals.

In the past, I had started many classes with what I call a note book item. This was essentially an explanation of how to do some math skill plus some practice problems on the skill that I would do. Then I typically have students work on an activity (maybe something involving a number line for instance) or play a game to reinforce the skill. Finally, I'd have kids take home a sheet of practice work that I had created. Overall, I wasn't unhappy with this way of doing things but I always questioned how the practice work was going. Sure it worked nicely for some kids but others never did it and would have to stay in for lunch or after school with me. Others would come in and tell me they had no idea what they were doing or worse would do it all wrong and then I would have to "unteach" what the practice had taught them!

Now with my "flipping" of the classroom, I make a video of myself doing the note book item and have students go home and watch the video (and fill out the note book item while watching it- nothing more than copying down what I'm doing).Our district has a district Smart note book license and I have a Smart Board in my room so I use Smart note book and the Smart recorder. This works well for me as everything I need to make the video is in one place. Here is an example Converting Repeating Decimals. Then the next day when students come in, they do a version of what I used to send home as homework. While they are doing these practice problems, I'll wander around and chat with kids, getting a sense of their understanding. I can then do some more work with kids who didn't get it and those that did move on to the game or activity that I had planned for class.

So far, its been working great. The kids enjoy it as they can watch and listen to me in their own time. This means they can rewind me if need be so that they can go over something that just didn't make sense. I think many of them like this because unlike in class where they feel awkward asking questions, the rewinding and watching again doesn't make them stick out in front of their peers. Many also like the fact that its a "video" for homework. It just seems cool to them plus to many who are more visual than auditory learners it helps them retain the information.

All that being said, there are some problems that I'm having. For one thing I still have a couple kids (4) who are still not doing any homework. What do I do with the kids who don't watch the video? I can keep them after but then what do they do in class that day? This is something I'm struggling with. Another thing I struggle with is how best to share the videos. Our district has Google Apps and so I upload the videos and then share with the kids. The problem is that I'm already at 15% of my file space and I'm not even done the decimal unit! I don't want to delete them because I think the kids may want to access them later. I can see possible benefits in putting them on youtube as kids could access them via their ipods, etc too. Of course then kids have to take extra steps (other than just going to google docs) to get to the videos.

I'd love to generate some discussion on here. What are people's thoughts on this? What issues do people have? Do people have ideas or thoughts about my potential problems? Let's get a good talk going!