Thursday, March 27, 2014

1st official day of "flipped"!

I DID IT!!  I made a video (well, it took me 3-five minute videos actually) and posted it (them) to my YouTube channel, and subsequently assigned the kids to take notes on them. (I have preprinted notes that we normally use in class, so now the students will simply fill them in at home).  It took a few tries to figure out TouchCast and how to load it to the internet, but I managed.  So what came next?

Let me tell you!!  I spent a few hours the night before thinking through what "the next day" should look like.  For now, it will have to be synchronous (baby steps), so I made an agenda on the board (so I would remember what I needed them to do in class), and composed a "good problem" for them that would check their understanding of what they had learned.  That was the 2nd item on the agenda.  The first was for them to answer the question: Why do we need to know the washer method?  We had just finished learning the disk method and I wanted to know why we couldn't just keep using that method.  Wasn't that method "good enough"?  I was pleased that they had that answer ready to give me!!  But then something happened that I wasn't expecting....they had their own questions.  In my head I was thinking "I should have thought of that/those questions, that's a good question!"  Boy, old habits (me being in control of their learning) are sure gonna die hard!!  So they proceeded to ask clarifying questions and then I decided that they really needed to "get to work" and try the problems I had chosen for them to complete in class.  Once again....overachiever on my part (too many questions for them to finish).  It will take me awhile to cognitively accept that fewer is actually better because they are going DEEPER!!  And they are DISCUSSING!!  I was thrilled about that!!

However, all of a sudden I felt "lonely".  No one was focusing on me!!  What was I supposed to do?!  Of course I knew the answer to the question already, but nevertheless, I was mentally adjusting to me not being the center of attention.  I felt like Cinderella (not the princess version that goes to the ball), the servant version who has to jump on command when a group needed me to intervene because they couldn't resolve their solution without me taking sides (affirming one side was correct and the other side made a mistake) or assisting the group who had another clarifying question.  I have to adjust to a new role!!  The best part is that I REALLY LOVE THIS NEW ROLE!!  Everyday that I am in the front explaining, the voices in my head are screaming (THEY should be DOING something other than listening to you!!  THEY should be active, not passive!  THEY should be discussing, not copying notes!)  I want those voices to go away, and today was the day!!!

Here is the funny part: the mental shift is not just mine!  The first question I heard was "was that ALL we had to do for the video and take notes?"  It really seemed "too easy" for them!  But the math power that was unleashed today from their working together on those "hard problems" they have been skipping (or faking doing) on their homework was such a "rush" to feel!  I can't wait to feel it more and more!

As a side note:  100% of the students in my first period watched the video and filled in their notes.  Only 1 student in period 2 skipped it and two had been absent the day before when the new instructions were given.  I made all 3 of them watch the videos immediately (2 on their cell phones and 1 at my computer) and as soon as their were finished, they jumped right into their groups and started working!!  I don't think I will necessarily have that success rate everyday, but I was thrilled that it started off so well!!

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