Getting Around

Sunday, November 25, 2012

#msSunFun Flipping the Math Classroom, a Beginning

I will never be able to completely flip my classroom in the touted way, mostly because a good third of my students have no technology at home. My attempts at using slow netbooks in the classroom haven't been super so far, though I haven't given up. I have, however, been working toward flipping my classroom in a low-tech way. This week, I'll be putting some of my planning to the test.

In any event, I prefer "blended learning" to "flipping," mostly because I want to move to a self-paced environment rather than me calling the shots just in the reverse order.

The Friday before Thanksgiving my students took a unit test (tests are collaboratively designed, so I have to call them that for now). I was on vacation last Monday and Tuesday, so the kids haven't seen their scores. Actually, they probably will never see their scores because I didn't put scores on them! Avoiding the whole points debate, I simply wrote comments and checked off whether each problem demonstrated proficiency. I did keep a secret score sheet for the class that matches the departmental key scoring, just in case I get in trouble. Many students struggled with some of the concepts. Since I used a proficiency rating scale, I know who needs help with what.

I am creating my own version of the "Wall of Remediation," which I think I'm going to call something like "Panels of Practice." Once I get it created, I'll post pictures so you can see why that's my working title. Each student will get a little checklist of the worksheets they are to work on and in what order. Students who aced the test will get two mystery challenges, culminating in a class presentation that will move us all into the next unit. I will have the answer keys out and available.  The worksheets aren't regular worksheets, they're backwards-faded worksheets. I'm not great at creating these and this is my first time using them with actual students. We'll see how it goes.

If everyone finishes all their worksheets (they have to turn them in, unlike regular homework which is just a completion grade), I'll let them do online practice in Acuity or on Khan Academy.

Against the departmental schedule (which says we are moving on to geometry tomorrow), we are going to do this for three periods. The last unit was equations and inequalities, and I can't see moving on until they really get it. Then, on Thursday, anyone who didn't master a particular standard will reassess on that standard only. We have a departmental "B" version of the test, which I'm chopping up so students don't retake the stuff they already know. This is more work for me, but I think the kids will appreciate it when they realize they don't have to remember everything.

As I said, I'll try to post pictures when it's all ready. Thoughts?

Ideally, this will morph into the way the classroom is run all the time. I'm not sure I'll get any support from other teachers (other than my mentor) or administrators moving into this way of doing things, so it's all about the baby steps.

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