I really wanted to give this a try and wanted to test the waters by starting small. Some good advice I received a while ago was "If you want to try something new, try it in the spring with students you are familiar with and can work out the bugs. This way you'll know if it's something you want to do in fall with your new students." I decided to try flipped mastery with my last period Algebra 1A class on the topic Absolute Value Equations and Inequalities.
Since I was starting small and this was a lesson I usually don't have time for in the curriculum, I only had direct instruction and worksheets. I know that's terrible, but I'm starting small remember??? I posted all the videos on my website, created all the worksheets that corresponded to those videos, and gave each student a packet of papers.
The one problem I ran into here was that since I was starting small and only flipping one outcome, there had to be a deadline. I was going back to my regular teaching habits after this.
What I liked:
I loved that the students could work at their own pace. In that particular class there were about 2 students who were incapable of listening and taking notes at the same time and either had notes they didn't understand or listened and didn't have the notes or the entire lecture took twice as long as usually so the entire class could wait for them to keep up.
I was able to work with students one-on-one during this time. Since I was no longer standing in the front of the classroom, I was circulating. I was watching facial expressions for confusion or frustration, I was making sure students were on task, and I was spot checking for understanding.
With the spring sports season here, I was missing 3-4 students everyday due to early dismissal for games. Those students no longer 'missed' any information, they picked up where they left the next day.
In our district, our homeroom is called PODs and it's 40 minutes long. It's used for assemblies, club meetings, remediation, the problems of the day, etc. Because of PODs I was able to have students come to my room during that time if they were falling behind with the work and not making up for it at home.
Activities, games, and labs will be more personal. Again, I haven't done any of this with the flipped mastery yet. Since students will be a different places at different times, I will be working with smaller groups of students for these things rather than the entire class.
State Exams. If I decide to go all the way with flipped mastery, the motivated students will have the opportunity to finish the curriculum before the state exams are given in May. Every year I feel like I do these students an injustice because they are held back by the slower students and could possibly do even better on the state exams.
Homework. It's now up to the students if they want to do homework. Is tonight a good night to get some work done? It's their call. I feel that this is a great skill to be learning in school.
What challenges I ran into:
Some of my students have very little time-management skills, but again, this is an important skill to have and learn. At the beginning of each class I wrote on the board what the students should have completed to be on pace. If any of the students were not at that point by the end of class, I wrote them a pass to come during PODs. Some of them didn't show up and this falling behind business builds and builds. I believe that under this model the student at least have the opportunity to learn time-management much more than under traditional models.
I feel that flipped mastery is an all or nothing concept. The first few days after going back to my regular teaching, my Algebra 1A students were very challenging. It was only 8 school days that we were under the flipped mastery model, but they didn't want to listen to me anymore. Sitting still in their seats and having all of their attention in one place a the same time wasn't what they wanted to do. I'm still trying to get their attention back. Plus, not all students finished the outcome at exactly the same time. Some finished early and some are still not finished. And the students missing class, this feels like such a hassle now. I really wish I had the rest of my curriculum flipped.
Where do I go from here:
I am still feeling the guilt with the state tests coming up at the end of next month that I decided to focus my energies on flipping the remainder of my curriculum for CP Algebra 1 (CP is College Prep). There are students in there who are bored to tears waiting for their classmates and I can't sit here with the tools and knowledge to let them move ahead and not use it.
I am willing to share all of my materials, you will just need to go to my Algebra 1 tab at the top. It will have the videos, worksheets, activities, etc. Help yourself and of course leave feedback :) As of today (4/5/14) I have most of outcome 19, Writing Linear Equations, available.
For next year:
In our district many of our freshmen struggle with passing an Algebra 1 course in one year, so we split it into a two-year course: Algebra 1A and Algebra 1B. They receive 1 credit for each one. There is one very small problem with this: There are students who are either misplaced or they mature over the summer, but whatever the case may be, but they probably could have passed the course in one year rather than two. This holds them back from taking courses like pre-calculus and calculus because of the required prerequisites. Under the flipped mastery model, these few students could work ahead and potentially pass both courses in one year and be able to move on to Algebra 2 the following year. Almost like they were in CP Algebra 1 instead.
Here is what we have been doing for our summer math program for the past few years.
The students are required to complete 10 problems from 10 sections successfully on studyisland.com. During the first week of school, we ask our students to log-in to their studyisland accounts and show us this information and it is their first grade for the new school year.
The problem is that some of the students pay other students to complete the work for them. We have no idea who took the tests and it has become a real problems in our school.
In order to put some students out of business, why not have the summer math requirement be to learn the first 1 or 2 outcomes for their next course using the flipped mastery model? And, if a student is so inclined, he could complete more than 2 outcomes. When they come to school in fall, they can take the outcome tests they are ready for. You can't hire someone to learn something for you. Maybe these student 'business owners' will become tutors instead ;-)