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.