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Saturday, December 8, 2012


Well, I think I have finally finished making all of my Gr 11 Accounting Videos for this year.  So I think it is a good time to reflect.  I had a discussion with the students about my videos and we had a vote.  One question that they got to vote on was how I should finish the remainder of the videos for the course.  I asked them "Would you prefer, shorter videos (4-6 mins) rather than longer (8-14min) ones".

However, the clincher was... they would be responsible to watch more each night."  It was 90% of the students who preferred shorter videos EVEN if they had to watch more in one go.  They explained that:

  • They can then break it into two or three sessions to do their homework - they felt that once they started a long video... they felt they had to sit there longer and finish it.  If there were shorter videos..... they could do them individually at different times.  They would pay more attention
  • They can easily go back to certain topics and more readily "find" topics/material that they needed to review
  • They felt they were accomplishing more with more videos.   
  • They felt that their attention span would be better with two videos that equalled the same length as one.  (It doesn't really make sense, however, I get it.)
So with this feedback, among other suggestions, I made the remaining 10-15 videos into shorter chunks.  We will see how it goes.

On Thursday, I had a TaSQ quiz (see earlier posts about this) and they did really well!  I'm so proud of them.  They are still watching the videos.  The implementation of the TaSQ quiz has been good.

Other suggestions to make the course better that I'm slowly realizing (took me a bit of time... to figure this out....should have thought of it sooner)...
  • Post any material used to make the video (i.e. power point slides, SMART notebook files, worksheets etc) in my Class Web Site (ANGEL).  Some students would like to make use of them as well as the video's.
  • Post a master sheet of all video links in your class website.  I had a couple of instances where students came to me and said "Miss, I couldn't watch the video.. the link didn't work for me...."... Ok this is a mystery for me, because the other 43 students were able to access the video through the link.... but believe it or not.. I trust this student.  And regardless, if you believe them or not,  if you give them a master list of video links they can't use the "excuse" the link didn't work.  
Other things that I've been thinking about for next semester to make my flipped classroom even better.
  • In my class website (ANGEL), I would like to put mini- quiz's that the students can do to test their own knowledge
  • I will INSIST that all students join my Remind 101 class group. (right now I have 75% of them.. and it works great for them).  This way I will know that 100% of the students can get my reminders.  
  • Post the list of video links right from the start so students who want to work ahead can.
  • Have a "QUESTION" of the day.... related to the topic and the video and use this question as a basis of the lesson.
  • Allow the  class to work in the lab more often to give them more opportunities to use accounting software and other tools.
  • Bell Ringer questions each day (perhaps use these questions in my assessments... this may even get some of the late students to class on time).
  • Get parents to sign up to my Remind101.  (This would be for the one or two students who may need a little extra help to remind them to watch the video's)

During my class time, I also am looking for ideas to build on what I am already doing.  Here is a list of things I do during my class time:
  • Question Time:  Students question each other (and the group they sit with or the whole class) on the previous night's video.  I often get them to come up and write their questions on the SMART board and we answer those questions as a class
  • Group Work:  Students are responsible to submit, or present, by the end of the period a group response to the day's work.
  • TaSQ quiz's ... this has been good to keep them on track.  Often I use this as formative rather than summative.
  • Problem and Knowledge Time: Work on accounting procedures and problems to actively practice what we are learning.
  • Lab Time.... to transfer manual skills we have been working on to the computer (i.e.Simply Accounting and/or Excel) to see how it all comes together.  I still like the manual as students learn how journal entries affect the accounts and financial statements. They would miss this (I believe), if we spent the whole time in Simply Accounting.
I feel this year, now that I'm flipping, I know my students better, I know their capabilities better, I know who to focus on more, I know when to get parents involved earlier, I know when I need to review material for the class before the test, not after the test.

I'm glad that I was able to "trial" flipping with my 11's.  Next semester, I have an 11 Accounting and a 12 Accounting.  I plan to flip both and incorporate my learning's into the 12's class.  I'm just starting to make those videos and I'm really trying to make them succinct and interesting.  I also hope to incorporate as much of the learning's as I can into both sections.  Too bad there wasn't more time in each day... next year will be excellent... I will have the videos done and I can take it TO THE NEXT LEVEL!!!  

My other section will be 11 Marketing, whereby I plan on doing much more inquiry based, project based learning with the students.  It will be a busy semester!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Peel District School Board Flipped Video

Yesterday was a surprise.  A colleague of mine came up to me and said "I saw your video and it's pretty cool stuff - I never realized what a flipped classroom was until I watched it".  I was wondering how he saw my video and what video he was talking about.  Then I realized that PDSB Communications Department has posted this video about the flipped classroom on the front page for all PDSB staff.

The video is pretty informative and has the perspectives from other PDSB staff who are also flipping.

Take a look when you get a chance.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

This past month's excitement.

This past month has been busy, which has precluded me from blogging recently - hopefully this will change going forward.

We have been working on our 21st Century Learning Framework.  This has been exhausting yet rewarding. Take a look at it here.  We are working on a roll-out plan for staff to use this framework in their lesson planning and "shifting" to more of an inquiry based, partnering stance with students. 

Also, a team of two other teachers, my principal and I, were excited to present at this year's ECOO Conference.  During our presentation we gave a snap shot of "CPSS's journey toward 21st Century Learning".  We were very thrilled to see that we had a lot of interest.  There was standing room only.

I have also been involved in a new PDSB video on flipping.  A very exciting part of this video, is that 2 of my students discuss their experience in flipping.  (Both female students in this video are mine!!).

One of the initial purposes of this video was to use it during a professional learning session on "The Flipped Classroom".  Several of us in the video, as well as, resource teachers from the board, spent a day at Castlebrooke S.S. running a session for staff who are interested in trying it out.  It went very well!

Now for my classes.  Grade 11 Accounting has been going well.  The flipped classroom has actually been a blessing in disguise as I've been absent a lot at all of these workshops, PL sessions and conferences.  While I was away, they kept up with the lessons and the work and we didn't fall behind.  The past two days I've been working with them and can see that they worked very well while I was gone.  Well Done Grade 11's!

Grade 9 Business has also been fun - this is a tough group to keep engaged.  We have been focusing on Digital Citizenship.  To make it a bit more interesting and to set the stage for the remainder of the course... I set up a group Twitter feed @FitzeeCPSS, where my Gr 9's can tweet from this account.  Take a peek at the tweets if you get a chance.  Today we tweeted about Anti-Bullying, as this week our school is very focused on it.  I plan to use this often for the students to tweet about what they are learning. 

Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Assessment Success

This week we had an assessment to see where everyone is at.  I still have that niggley feeling that something is wrong and that there are several students that are not keeping up. I know that it is because it is "right in my face" more than it has ever been.  So I continue moving forward ever faithful that what I am doing is better than traditional teaching.

After the assessment, I was so pleasantly surprised that both class averages are in the high 80's.  I did not change the test up from previous years, so that I could compare results.  I did change transactions and amounts, so that no one could cheat.  In previous years, at this point in the course the averages for this test would have been in the high 70's to the low 80's.

I have to believe that the "one-on-one" contact every day is working.  I have a student that blew me away.  This student isn't much into working hard, doesn't come on time very often, however scored very high!  I think it is working. 

I also had a conversation with a couple of the 11's that are planning to take the 12 course next semester.  I asked them if they wanted me to flip it and it was a resounding YES!!! 

The other thing that I started this week was a "TaSQ Quiz".  Students were able to use their TaSQ sheets to write the quiz.  Students who failed to TaSQ were not very happy.  I liked it. Hopefully, this will motivate them to TaSQ fully each time they have a video to watch!!  It serves as an advantage to them during TaSQ Quiz Time.  I hope to do this 1x/week.  Keep them honest.

Finally, on Friday morning I looked at YOUTUBE to see how many views I had of my video.  There was only 11 of 46 students.  I wasn't thrilled for obvious reasons.  I sent them a Remind 101 and 30 mins later I had 35 students watch it.  By the way this was the morning I thought of TaSQ Quiz!!!

This week, we move on to the Expanded Ledger and the Income Statement.

GRADE 9 Update - This week we were working on logo's in publisher.  We made a contest for them to take a picture (like clip art) off the Internet and duplicate it using publisher (not easy).  They were so engaged it was nice to see.  Also, they were learning all of the techniques that I want them to learn in order to make their Business Logo's. They did GREAT!!!  I'm printing them and posting them on the wall for the Gr 12's to choose the winner! 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Big "A HA" Moment!

This week I was not enjoying my Flipped Class. Something wasn't right.  It took me about two days to finally go "A HA"!!!  I was working with my Gr 11's and several of them were struggling with transactions.  It was really getting to me.  Why?  How is this possible?  The flipped class is supposed to work.  They had watched the videos (well most of them), but they were not "on top" of the material as I had expected them to be. 
It was really started to bug me.  I was thinking "maybe I should go back and teach them as I would have traditionally... they would be sure to get it then.  Right?....... Wrong.....

Then if finally occurred to me... "I just am realizing who is struggling.. WAY BEFORE.. I would have in the past".  Because I am working with each student each day, I now know exactly what each one is capable of, who is doing the work, and who isn't.  Wow.... how powerful is that?  In the past, it would be, more than likely the quiz or assignment that would indicate to me who got it and who didn't.  Now I know BEFORE the test.  Now I can spend more time helping them and pairing them up with other students.  This realization, I think was key.  I seriously, was doubting what I was doing and ready to bail on what I was doing.  Now, I have realized the power of "flipping".  The good news is... I'm going to keep going.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Week 2 - flipping going well!

I have to say I am impressed with my Gr 11 students and their level of engagement in this new FLIP routine. 95% of the students have watched the video's and TaSQ'd.  With respect to the TaSQing that they are supposed to be doing - not only are they doing it, but they are putting effort into it.  I took some shots of them and their sheets. The picture of my students is very representative of what both periods look like... busy students working together and engaged!  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is not just the honeymoon stage.  If you look at their TaSQ sheets they are all very similar and you can see that they are even trying the problems I give them in the video.  They are writing serious summaries and "reflecting" on the video.  We had our first assessment this week and compared to similar assessments at this stage in the course the results were GREAT.  I only had 4 students in both classes below level 4 (A for those of you not familiar with the Ontario levels).  
The other really neat thing is that I had 30% of my students absent for 2 days this week for SHSM certifications and I know that they are going to be able to get caught up easily.  Communicating with them on Angel and Remind 101 has been so refreshing.  As a matter of fact, on Tuesday I texted them through Remind101 at lunch to get them to come see me and guess what...... they did.  Not so easy to find AWOL students in the school.  Now it is!!!

By the way, I have to direct you to Crystal Kirch's blog 
http://flippingwithkirch.blogspot.ca.  If you think I have great ideas - I have to give her all of the credit.  I get all of my ideas from her.  Instead of TaSQ she WSQ's  (sounds like Wisk), which means write, summarize and question.  I wanted to make it sound like a TASK that they had to do.  I highly recommend doing either.  All of the modelling and explaining how to watch the video's the first week has paid off.

Grade 9's:
Yesterday, I tried something new.  Every year, I get the grade 9s to write me a business proposal on a business of their choice that they will be working on all semester.  I usually "tell" them what I expect and what the marking scheme will be.  Yesterday, we took the whole period and I asked them "What is a business proposal?", "What should be included in one?" and "what makes a good one?" etc.  Away they went in groups of 3 to find the answer.  Then I mentioned that I would like them to make one for me, but it was up to them how to do it and how I was going to assess it.  We spent the rest of the period agreeing on what to include in the proposal.  Guess what?... they all couldn't agree on some of the points.  So guess what we did?..... I told them to choose for themselves what they wanted to include.  I can't wait to see what I get!  We even went as far as determining that it must have proper spelling, punctuation and grammar and that it must be professional looking.  Stay tuned for more on this when I see what I get.  For the rest of the course, I will try to get them to choose and be involved in decision making.  Should be fun.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Week one update

GR 11 Flipped Accounting:

Week one was Great. Great students and a great first week of flipping. I spent a great deal of time modeling how the videos should be watched using the CP POWER and TaSQ approaches and we watched two accounting videos in class. One was assigned for homework. Out of the 42 students, 5 did not watch the videos. (I trust them based on their notes and the fact that there were 60 views in YOUTUBE - and only 42 kids!! Some watched twice)I'm pretty happy with that- provided it doesn't get worse.

I am still unclear about how I want to handle those student who did not watch the videos. I sent one to the lab to watch it and the rest were told that we were moving on and now they had extra work to do.

I'm wondering if a little quiz at the beginning of class will be helpful to get them more serious. But I have to think about that more. Comments? The other option would be to get them to ask questions in our on-line classroom environment after watching the video and get them engaged in on- line collaboration. This might be good for some quiet kids.

The other issue is.... Not everyone is bringing ear buds (headphones). Our labs require them in order to hear. I do not want to get in the habit of showing the videos in class, although if I do, there will be no pausing therefore taking notes will prove to be difficult, not to mention everyone will be talking around them.

GR 9 Business:

This class was also great... I've been struggling with the ANGEL ( my classroom website). My learning curve has been fine, but I underestimated timing on a few things with students on their ANGEL learning curve. Not to mention, a few other hiccups with student sign ons, etc.

I figure all this time upfront will pay off.

Also, I've discussed with them ways that I'm going to get them engaged and how I want their input on projects and assessment. Already, I'm thinking a twitter session vs. a traditional stand up presentation will make them happy.

Each student will have a lot of say in this course on topics etc. In the past, I would use a Business Proposal assignment, however, this year I'm going to get them to design the project and the assessment in collaboration with one another. We will do it how they want.

Other Stuff:
Also we are planning for our presentation at this year's ECOO conference and making our project plan for our TEDxpeelvilliageEd. conference for the spring.

Lots to do and lots to update on.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Day 1

Today was Day 1 of school!!! Our classes were short and sweet (due to some grade 9 orientation activities)! I had a good chance to introduce flipping to my 2nd Period Gr 11 Accounting Class (1st period was full of homeroom admin stuff - blah). 

I mentioned to the period 2 class that they were my guinea pigs and that we would be getting a lot of attention this year because we are "flipping" the whole course.

Not one student in my class had ever heard of "flipping".  So I spent some time talking about it and getting their feedback.  They all thought it was very exciting, I think, because they think it will be "less" work at home (which we all know is not true). Tomorrow, I will model how I want them to "actively" watch the video using the CP POWER Video (that Mrs. Matei and I made at the end of the year last year) as a guideline.  To view video click here.

All of the students seemed excited and therefore, I was excited. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Lessons from a softball coach

My daughter played softball this year and I was inspired by her coach. I had a conversation with him about his great turnout and success rate. I asked him "How did you get all the kids to come to all practices and games and be so enthusiastic?". His response was simple. "Reminders and enthusiasm". This made me reflect on my teaching. I think I got the enthusiasm part down, but the reminders could be better. In the past, I've only reminded students during class time or if I see them in the halls. I think I could do better! In fact I know I could do better!

I remembered hearing about remind101.com. A simple system to text MSG your students reminders without giving out your phone number.

So I signed up all of my classes. On the first day of school I'm going to print the simple one page instructions and get them to sign up. Stay tuned for feedback on this process.

So with my classes on ANGEL, as well as: student driven assignments and assessments, flipping, remind 101.com I've already moved closer to 21st century learning. For me and for them!!

Stay tuned for more "Fun with Fitzee"

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

1 week to go... ideas flowing

Yesterday I spent a great deal of time working on my “Angel” (PDSB’s virtual classroom) websites for both of my courses: Grade 11 Accounting and Gr 9 Busin
ess. You can see a screen shot of this here… I’m excited. I have day-by-day lessons linked to my YOUTUBE channel and videos.

For my Gr 9′s, I’m going to experiment fairly early in the course with student driven instructions and assessment. They are going to come up with an assignment themselves and the assessment criteria… I’m planning on doing as much of this as I can this year! I really want to develop a “partnering stance” (Prensky) with the students and engage them fully!

Stay tuned for more “Fun With Fitzee”

1 Week to go - Aug 27

Here I am…. getting ready to go back to school. I have made almost the entire Grade 11 course in video’s. Now I am working on making my class site so students can follow along… Some things I am thinking about are:
  • Making a video for parents to watch so that they can understand what it is all about.
  • Forming teams with “roles” in each team for the students to play. ie. group leader to keep the group on task, scribe – someone to take notes.
  • Providing more of a “kit” to go with each video so that the students can organize their notes etc.
I have prepared two video’s however, one in conjunction with another teacher, to help the students think “about how to watch video’s”…. One video is called CP POWER and it is all about: putting cell phones away, paying attention, getting organized, watching carefully and wearing ear phones, becoming engaged and finally, re-watching and rewinding if necessary. The other video that I made is called TaSQ (sounds like TASK). I want the students to TaSQ while watching… which means they have to Take notes, Summarize the video and prepare a Question for the next day.

Hello World - July 7 2012

This will be the first of many posts.  I will be updating you on a regular basis on the progress of "flipping my classes".  If you are unsure of what flipping is.... watch this video that I made to explain a bit about it.
About me.... I am a high school teacher at a GREAT school in Brampton, ON.  We are on a mission to change our school to a 21st Century School.  I am interested in flipping for several reasons mentioned in the video.  I also was fortunate enough to visit The Flipped School in Detroit ( http://www.flippedhighschool.com/).  Where I learned a lot of stuff.
I plan to Flip my Grade 11 and Grade 12 Accounting classes next year.