Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Overshooting a little

Trying to adjust my lessons and plans to this flipped classroom approach is taking a bit of time to wrap my brain around.  I spent all summer gathering materials (thank you to all the people who post on twitter and their blogs, and those at Twitter Math Camp who are willing to share for free....YOU ALL ROCK!) and reading blog ideas and simply gleaning content and materials from anywhere I was able.  I printed out several notebooks worth of stuff.  I was able to even get it organized by chapter.  Now moving on to the next step...using it.  The videos (although time consuming like I knew they would be) are covering what goes on at home, but I want "stuff" that is going to cause engagement while the students are in class.  I had decided that there needed to be much more discussion amongst students with the explanations about their thoughts/process, and my asking kids "why does that work?", "is there another way?", "how do you know?" and so forth.  While I knew that this is the quality thinking that takes time, I guess I didn't anticipate how much longer it really does take.  I've taught for 29 years with the "hurry up and get through HW so you have time to deliver some lecture notes" method that it never dawned on me just how much I was going to have to slow down.  So while I'm planning all these activities that we can get through each day, only to realize that there is NO WAY I can get the students through ALL THAT if I want them to have that deeper understanding that I'm hoping to get this year.  Thus the justification of my title:  I have definitely been overshooting on my lesson plans.  In some way this is actually a relief, because it means I won't have to use EVERY SINGLE THING that I found this summer...and then some!  It means I'll be able to pace all the "good stuff" and I will probably be able to pick and choose which ones I want to use this year, with leftover materials for changes next year if I need to.  HALLELUJAH!  I have been really worried about filling 180 days with awesomeness!  I wasn't sure I'd have enough.  It's so nice to let groups finish a task they are working on, and at the same time, give those who are done something more as a challenge.  That turned out to be easier to come up with (off the top of my head) than I expected.  The challenge now will be to keep track of every extra thing I generate spur of the moment.  I don't want to have to create everything again next year.

Today was a good example of how this played out.  In Calculus they have been working on a set of 15 multiple choice review problems in their groups over the past 3 days.  Some groups were done, so I posted challenge questions on the board for them to work on while the other groups finished.  In addition, they had to post their proof (trig identity) and graph (trig graph) on their vertical whiteboards.  I  overhead students asking their teammates "can I put my answer up?"  How exciting that students WANT to put up their work for everyone to see!  I'm bummed that I have been missing out on this for so long!  I liked this asynchronous workflow because it kept everyone engaged so there wasn't wasted time waiting for all groups to finish.  Sure, not all groups did the same amount of problems and, OF COURSE I would like for every student to complete ALL the problems I gave, but if I rush them, then those that need to discuss a few minutes longer don't get the time (nor understanding) they need.  Over time, I know there will be a payoff for every student. I think inevitably they will all do more problems as a result of the groupwork than they would have done solo.

In stats, I sometimes forget how many iterations it takes on the graphing calculator before students understand the steps for doing things like graphing histograms and copy the results onto their paper.  Every student was working away trying to get "the hamsters" to give them the correct graph that they had already described to me.  Although some of them helped their teammates, most of the time they were intent on working to get the desired results.  I had to MAKE THEM STOP, and claimed their brain needed a commercial break, so that I could show them another graphing calculator tip.  Can I ask for anything greater?  I think not!

No comments:

Post a Comment