Sunday, September 16, 2012

Week Two - Sept 10-14, 2012

I can't express enough how much I am enjoying this "new" model of teaching.  I am getting to do things with my students that I have only dreamed of doing before, but never had the time!

The Videos

  I finally got some survey results back from my kiddos and you can see them here http://goo.gl/68YVJ
The kids had lots of positive things to say, and the survey really showed me that my kids are choosing to access the videos in a mirad of different ways.  Which tells me that it may seem like I have too many options of ways to watch the videos, but that is actually BETTER because the students choose the avenue with which they are most comfortable, or enjoy the most.  
     This week I only had 4 kids not watch their videos.  They saw that when they don't watch their videos they don't get to participate in that day's project, so man they were not going to miss our projects!

The Projects

     This is my FAVORITE part of what's new with my class.  We've been learning about place value so Monday and Tuesday my students were able to work on a two day project practicing using those skills with REAL-LIFE applications.  I gave them circulars from HEB, Walgreens, and CVS, and told them they in their groups they had to plan a party for 10 or less people.  They had to make sure they bought decorations, food, drinks, silverware, cups, and plates.  If they had left over money they could also buy games.  Then I gave them a budget of $50.  They had to stay within that budget when planning their party.  After they went through the circulars and cut out the things they wanted (and added them up to make sure they were staying in their budgets), they then had to create a giant invitation/poster for their party, posting the things they decided to buy.  Beside that poster (which got hanged in the hall) they had a sheet of white paper where they had to NEATLY do their work, proving they stayed within their budget and how much change they were going to receive back.
     I did very little explanation on what to do.  I just gave them their boundaries they had to stay within, and what their goals were to accomplish, and they did AWESOME.  And best of all they had FUN and learned a skill they will all use the rest of their lives.
     The other "project" we did, was we had to prepare ourselves for our first Test.  So I put them into groups of four and they were given STAAR formatted questions that they worked through with their group.  I modeled how the conversation was supposed to look and how they were supposed to work together, and then I worked around with different groups helping out and explaining things they couldn't get within their groups.  It was amazing to me to see how seriously they took this time, and really worked within their groups to gain deeper understanding of how to do those test formatted questions.

The Test

     We took our first test on Friday.  This is the same test my students from last year took as well.  There was only one glaring difference between the test from last year, and this year's test.  On this year's test we added second and third steps to every problem to make them more challenging so that we could really grasp wether our students understood the deeper thinking skills or not.  I was shocked to see that this year's group of kids did BETTER on a HARDER test than last years kids I taught!!!  That was proof enough to me that the flipped classroom model IS working!!  I was shocked to see how much deeper their understanding and thought processes were because we had done those real-life applications  in class that had allowed them to really understand what was going on and the impact math has on their lives.  There of course is still work to be done, but I am very encouraged by our first test scores.  And last year I had no one make a 100, but this year I did have one student!  Again, on a HARDER test!  That was exciting!

Overall Thoughts

     Week 2 of my flipped classroom went great.  I'm still tweaking things here and there, but the excitement of my students, and the difference I can see in their thought processes is beyond exciting to me.  My kids love coming to class, and that excites me so much as a teacher.  There were two awesome quotes that I heard this week....a 5th grade girl told me "I've never loved math, and I love this class!", and a 5th grade boy sent me a message on Edmodo (keeping in mind this boy is not a lover of learning) "Can you please hurry up and post some new videos?  I'm ready to learn something new!".  I was beaming with pride after hearing those....and yes I made some new videos the next day!  I can't wait to see the difference a whole year of flipping is going to make in these student's education!