Monday, March 4, 2013

Collaborating as a team

Now that we are already into March of this first year of flipping our math classroom, I am doing my best to stop and reflect on all that we have learned and achieved this year. One surprising aspect of the flipping process is the relationship we have all created throughout this journey. We were all friends before and respected each other as professionals but there is something about the vulnerability of watching each other teach that really encourages a sense of collaboration and comfort. It was so hard at first to know our teammates would be watching us teach and possibly giving us feedback. And then there is the fact that it's hard not to take it personally when students don't perform well on the problems that you taught the videos on! All of that honest work, has made us all so much closer and that much more respectful of one another. We truly work as a team, using data and best practice to drive our instruction. I have always thought I was doing that but this year, WE are truly working as the PLC format is supposed to be done. We have common exit slips almost daily at the end of math time and we share those exit slips, asking How can we help the students that didn't get it and What do we do with the students that were proficient? Even the process of what to ask the students in the exit slips has been a collaborative process.
Of course now that TCAP is creeping up on us, we are feeling nervous of how the data in that assessment will show. Will the flipping process increase our scores?We truly think and hope it will. The data we have been collecting shows that our students know what they are supposed to know and we are fully aware of what they don't and are constantly helping them reach proficiency.
In the end, we can all agree that we are better teachers, professionals and friends, from this process and that is something to be thankful for.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What do we do when they don't get it?

In an earlier post, I asked the question, "What do we do when they don't get it?"  As we have progressed further into our school year, we are figuring out ways to answer that question.  The first is the use of the exit slips.  We are getting quick feedback on our students' level of understanding. After we get this important information, we are intervening immediately the next day.  We are using intervention time or time during the next math period.  We are no longer waiting until the test to find out that our kids need extra help.  The exit slip is so much more reliable than homework to assess a student's level of understanding.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Posing Math Questions

One of the best things about flipping our math classroom, I have found this year, is the level of questioning the students are doing on a daily basis. For homework, students are watching our created videos and taking notes on their notecatcher (see our Franklin Math Google Site link to the right). One part of the notecatcher that every student has to do is ask a question. (We are grading the notecatchers on effort so the students have to exert effort when posing a question, or they will receive a 2 on effort and have to redo it until it is a 3 in effort). The questions they are asking are so much deeper than they ever use to ask teaching math the traditional way! Today, a student in my 5th grade math class asked "Are half protractors used more than full b/c half protractors are built off a straight angle (180 degrees)?"-we are learning about the relationship between angle measures. Another student inquired how our essay writing unit connected to naming an angle with three variables with the vertex in the middle. He said "Isn't naming angles kind of like writing an essay? You have to start with the introduction (first point), then support your thesis (vertex) and end with a conclusion (last point)?"
We spend 5-10 minutes at the beginning of every math period discussing the questions that students wrote in their notecatchers (we read notecatchers and grade for effort and prepare answers to questions before math every day). That discussion is an exciting way to start math b/c instead of just naming our learning goal and giving instruction, we are inquiring authentic, meaningful questions(usually trying to connect our goal to real life) which motivates the students to then do their independent work. It is truly fun.
This has also enriched our whole day b/c they are learning to ask deeper, more meaningful questions all day. In my reading conferences, I am finding that I link their questions from math to reading when we discuss how reading is going for them. So, this work we are doing in math is helping and integrating itself into our whole day. It is truly awesome and so fun, not words I always used to use when teaching questioning strategies and/or measuring angles!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Exit Slips

I think one of the best things we are doing now and is having all students fill out one exit slip the last 10 minutes of class every day. We all ask the same question to all 5th graders (and Tracy and I ask the same question to our fourth graders). The question is always based on the learning goal that was focused on in the video as well as the independent practice and games. Then, we all score the exit slips 1,2,3 or 4-based on their proficiency. A 3 means they 'get it' and a 2 usually means they got it but made some computation errors or other smaller errors and 1 means they didn't get it all (after we helped them on the learning goal in math). Our goal is have 85% of our students score a 3 or more every day. Not sure any of us are there yet but the goal makes me work harder and be more aware of their performance.
The most powerful part of using exit slips is our collaboration and data collection. Every day after math, we can say how many students did or did not get the learning goal that day. We then can work with those students the next day and keep checking in using exit slips until they get it. This is so much more efficient than grading a whole study link page AND I am excited for conferences b/c I have real, authentic and meaningful data to share with parents. I am grading less papers yet I know my students,every single one, so much better.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

First Unit of Flipping Complete

We just finished our first unit in EDM using the flipped process.  We moved a bit slower than usual because we wanted to spend time teaching the students how to watch the videos and how to take notes.   All of us are feeling that we have more time to meet one on one with students and push them to become more independent learners.  One of our questions is, "What do we do when they don't get it?"

The team process has been amazing.  I feel like we are all better teachers because we are working so closely.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Amazed by Learning Process

Okay so our team has completed almost 3 units of math instructional videos and have them uploaded, along with matching templates (daily directional to do lists for the kids like vocabulary words, journal pages to do, games to play when done) to our Franklin Math Google Site and I am amazed at how much we have grown as teachers in this short time. Every time one of us prepares to record a lesson, we first have to discuss what the learning goal is and how to phrase it, then we discuss what the essential parts of the lesson are so we can teach it in 5 minutes or less (we use Jing then upload to Camtasia), and finally we watch the lesson to see if how we taught it is 'good enough.' Our discussions as teachers are so much deeper than they were last year because we are talking about the true meat of our teaching. We are sharing how we each solve the problems and what strategies have helped us learn better (and ones that have not).
One AHA I had while watching Sheryl's videos was how helpful it was when she discussed non-examples when teaching rectangular arrays. As easy as arrays are, it solidified the concept when she showed non-examples. That helped me when I taught the lesson subtracting with decimals. I remembered to show how to not line up the decimals when subtracting. I am a better teacher today than I was yesterday from watching and talking with my teammates.
Tomorrow, we all meet up again and some of our teammates will be recording for the first time. I know they are nervous as it feels like a big change from what they are used to but I am excited for them to see, as Neil, Sheryl, Alberta, Tracy and Jill and I have learned, that this flipping process is not only helping the students learn, but we are learning just as much.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Video of Steve Kelly talking to MI Board of Ed about Flipped Classrooms

Here is a video that I love taken from a guy who is National Board Certified and thought he was a good teacher "for 1997" as he says so he decides to drive out and meet Jonathan Bergmann to see Flipped Learning in action. He goes back to his school and takes on Flipped Learning. I like how he talks about the fact that is not about the videos but more about "quality teaching." Take a look..