Monday, February 24, 2014

A Somewhat Flipped Classroom

I tried my flipped classroom today in my Algebra 1B classes.  I have 2 sections of this class and they each have their own personality.

Period 3:

This class is currently down to 7 students.  I really don't want to get into why the class is so small, it's not appropriate for this blog.  Anyway, it's a small class, but the students who are in there are genuinely curious.  They are good kids who live with heads where math just doesn't come easily.  No special ed or special needs students are within these 7.  

I start class by explaining what we will be doing for the day and why we are doing it.  

"Today we are going to listen to me on the computer rather than me in the front of the room.  This way you can stop the video where you need to to write something down, rewind the video to watch something that wasn't clear the first time, or even ask the real me a question without interrupting the rest of the class.  You are to take notes as you watch the video for the first three problems.  Once you are done with the video, work with your neighbors to complete the last three problems."

For this class it worked out great, except they wanted me for the last three problems.  They were watching the videos individually and didn't make the transition to group work smoothly.  I needed to micromanage this part of the class and tell specific students to move to specific seats.  

At the end of class I asked students for feedback.  One students made her thoughts known right away.  She loved it.  She liked that she could pause the video whenever she wanted, and even rewind.  The other 6 students said they liked it, but wouldn't want it every day.  Fair enough, I can't make a video everyday anyway.

Looking over their work tonight, this class did pretty well.  Except one student, who didn't make the transition into group work.  Even with multiple suggestions to work with the people next to him, he didn't bite.  And so his work suffered.  

Period 5:

I started the class in the same manner as period 3 but there are a lot of conversations that I need to constantly stop.  And a few of the students in class have learning disabilities (7 out of 14) that makes it almost impossible to listen to a SINGLE WORD I SAY! (<--Yes, I'm yelling).  

When it came time to complete the three problems on their own, many students were very needy.  When I probed a little deeper as to why they need me so much, I found out that they only copied the notes from the video and didn't really listen to what was said.  *sigh*  Too bad, go back and watch that part of the video again.  

Looking over the work they did on their own I found that many students don't know how to solve for y correctly.  They don't understand the difference between graphing a positive and a negative slope.  

At the end of the class, I felt like crying.  The kids hate the class, I strongly dislike teaching that class, and I don't know what to do.  I also don't know what the difference is between this one class and all of my others.  I have to wonder if it's all the learning disabilities put together in one class.  

In Conclusion:

I think we have a learning curve here.  What I really like about this method is that each student can learn at their own pace (if they want to).  I need to emphasize what is expected of the students, no matter their abilities, and stick to it.  I'm not giving up, and I will keep you posted.

On a Better Note:

I've been teaching domain and range to my CP Algebra 1 classes and they are doing spectacular.  I will share all of that soon.  In the mean time, go play Domain Rangers with your students!

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