Saturday, November 24, 2012

New blogging.

I am decided I need an outlet for the education books that I read. This blog that no one reads will be the perfect place.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

This is an idea I found at
This is something that we could use to have students synthesize math concepts.  I would use this during the second half of my flipped pre calculus class.

It would be great to create cards like this for every unit and have students organize the cards into particular groups.  In Geometry, I could have many pictures of quadrilaterals and ask students to find all of the cards where the quadrilaterals have diagonals that bisect each other.  This is a method for getting students to use higher order thinking on Bloom's Taxonomy.

Let me know if you have any great ideas for using these or have created some yourself.

What we used to call "Homework"

In a traditional classroom, the teacher teaches during the hour and gives homework for students to practice the skills.  In a flipped classroom, how will students practice their skills.  The precalculus teachers came up with an idea of "Mastery Problems" instead of homework.  These problems will be given to students in class.  The problems will be divided into 3 levels of difficulty.  Level 1 will have low level questions to get students ready to answer the questions that involve a little more thought.  Level 2 and 3 homework will involve higher level thinking.  Students will be told that the chapter tests will mostly have questions in level 2 with a small percentage of questions coming from level 1 and 3.  Students will choose which problems to do, but all students must be working during classtime.

This is our idea.  Let me know how you assign practice in a flipped classroom.  Also, let me know if you have any other ideas.

Video Lesson Stategies

For our flipped class, we are using video lessons to deliver the content.  We have come up with a few options on how we make the lessons.

Last year, I made a lesson that mirrored what I would do in the classroom.  For Precalculus, the lessons ranged from 10 minutes to 25 minutes.  These are very long, however, this is a class that I used to teach for the entire 52 minute class period.  How do I compress the content?


#1  Create many videos per lesson.  We could make 2 to 5 videos that are each 5 minutes long.  I don't quite understand why this would be any better.  Students would just have to click on many different links rather than just one.

#2  Create a short concise lesson that does not have any examples.  Then, create multiple lessons that "fishbone" off of the main lessons.  These will have many examples for students to gain understanding.  It will be more like a choose your own adventure lesson.  I like this idea, but I wonder if students will just watch the main lesson, even if they need more practice.  Are students good at assessing whether they need more practice?  I would like to think so, but I'm not sure.

Let me know what you think of these ideas.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Quizzes for a Flipped Classroom

On great advantage of a flipped classroom is the amount of extra time that is created by the video lessons.  As teachers, we need to figure out what to do to increase learning.  I believe that regular quizzes should be part of this.  As we are developing a flipped classroom for next year, there was some disagreement on how to quiz.

Current Method
Every other day, students take a 5 point quiz that usually takes about 10 minutes.  When I hand back the quizzes, students should work in small groups to fix all of the questions that were incorrect and write a couple of sentences about what they did wrong and what they will do in the future to not make those mistakes.  I intend to use these as a formative assessments so I give them an opportunity earn back their poor quiz grades.  On the chapter test, students that score:
 90-100 get all quiz grades moved up to 5s,
 80-89   get all quiz grades moved up to 4s,
70-79   get all quiz grades moved up to 3s,

I believe that they should be rewarded for grades below 70.  I also do not lower students' quiz grades because of a poor test grade.

Other teachers' ideas
One teacher proposed having a daily quiz that is 3 questions(5 min) at the beginning of class.  These would be would not be worth points in the grade book, but will determine what the class will study for the rest of the period.  He also prefer one quiz per chapter that is graded that takes up 30 minutes.

Some teachers didn't like my quiz plan where students can gain their points back with a good final exam.  They believe that it encourages cramming.  Also, they believe that students should be rewarded for preparing for each quiz.

We also talked about using online quizzes to assess students such as google forms, naiku, mastery manager and the many other apps/websites that allow this function.  Does anyone have experience with these?

How do you quiz with a flipped classroom?  How effective was it?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Precalculus Classroom For Next Year

This past year, I have been using video lesson for instruction in my precalculus class.  It has been really exciting to watch students take control of their learning.  They do a wonderful job explaining math to each other.  The best part is that their average test scores improve when I use video lessons to guide the instruction.  The increase in test scores is not from the video lessons, but from quizzes and synthesis that is done because the videos created more time in class.  The precalculus class was formerly a class that was teacher led from bell to bell.  It has changed to be a class where students learn the lesson the first half of class and work on the homework or take a quiz the second half of class.

Although I am proud of how well the students have done, I believe that the students can do much better.  I have many changes that I will make next year.  The biggest change is that I will have a team of six precalculus teachers that will be teaching a flip class along with me.  We are going to decide together how best to teach this course.  We have had one meeting and it has really increased my excitement about what we are doing.  We still have many issues to talk through such as...

Video Lessons-  At home vs at school    small initial video with many additional videos or one long video?

Quizzes/Tests-  The group discussion focussed a lot of time on quizzes.  How are we going to quiz?  How often?  How many questions? Should quizzes be graded?  Bellwork/Warm up quizzes.

HW/Mastery Problems- Homework implies that it is done at home.  We talked about creating a set of problems called mastery problems that will be used in class.  These problems will be separated into 3 levels of difficulty.  Students will be able to choose which section of problems they will practice.

Notesheets-I noticed that video lessons were more effective when students wrote down notes as they watched the videos.  Without a notesheet, I found that students did not write much down that can be deciphered later.  When I made notesheets, students were better able to use them to study for future quizzes/tests.  I would like to incorporate the WSQ ideas from Crystal Kirch into these somehow.

Tests- Tests will be summative without option of makeup.  We still need to discuss make up of the test into familiar vs. non familiar problems.

How to split up the class period

What projects/hands on activities can be done?

How do we use the ipads that we are given?

AP Stems-We would like to take stems from AP Calculus free response questions and change the questions to be more in line with precalculus material.

Equity-DVD's?  Library time?  Ipads available afterschool?

Moodle?  Should we put our course on Moodle or should we continue to use a google website?

Blog Blog Blog

Crystal Kirch has inspired me to start a blog about math teaching.  I am currently in the process of flipping my classroom.  I have been using video lessons for instruction for over a year.  Next year, we will extend the flipped classroom model for all Pre-calculus courses at my high school.  I am still deciding whether I should do it for AP Statistics and Geometry.  I am also involved in the process of developing a Geometry textbook for our district.  I am excited about many new ideas in math education.  I hope people will enjoy my posts.