Thursday, April 24, 2014

And flip...

I've progressed into flipping all my Math classes, and I'm loving it. Yesterday was roll out with a group of Grade 8's and it was slick. Students were learning comfortably and in a way that suited them individually - some in groups, some in pairs, some in desks, some sitting on the floor. There were groups asking lots of questions throughout the lesson, there were groups cruising quite comfortably on their own with a few check ins, and there were groups pushing through the lesson, practice, and into deeper learning. One goal is for more to get to the deep learning - today one group was investigating the mathematical relationship between the height a ball is dropped from and the height of its first bounce. I was freed up to roam, chat, probe, and guide, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The day wasn't hiccup free - I did pull a few students into the hall for casual conversations, but I felt the freedom to do so knowing the rest of the class was engaged in their own learning. In addition, our hallway conversation was about how we can learn together better - a conversation I am glad to have with learners any day of the week.

This recent flip was not the beginning of my journey, and it has not been a solo effort at all. I think my first forays into flipped lessons were in the context of teaching process skills in digital media applications. I found screen capture videos so much more effective then a one-size-fits-all demo for these purposes. Slowly the tool crept into my Math as I started using it with applications like GeoGebra (which I'd love to do more of). Next I started flipping whole lessons for Teaching partners to deliver in an Island modeling project that involved ratio, rate, and scale. It was around this time I started really digging into the ways members of my PLN we're flipping their classrooms (most noteably Jerry Bleecker @Mr_Bleecker and Graham Johnson @Math_Johnson). This was followed by flipped lessons for a split class of Math 9 and Math 9 B students. This venture has been really enjoyable in that its pushed me to access and make available tools to help students visualize and experience the Math online. When I have time my lesson prep includes searches with like "interactive", "applet" or "manipulative" to see how I can make the math more real for students. Sometimes its with an online example, or resource.

I'm feeling very positive about the change in the way I'm teaching Math, and I look forward to improving the effectiveness with which I leverage video lessons in class. I have seen already the way it enables me to guide my students more. I've also seen the efficiency we gain in class, and am hoping to use that to slowly introduce more and more problems, applied tasks, and deeper learning opportunities in Math.

What's your experience with flipped lessons? What do you see as the potential benefits and pitfalls for your students?