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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Post CPA Teacher Colleague Conference and the Great #ECOO13 Conference... thoughts

The past two weeks have been busy:

Friday, Oct 18th at the lovely Royal York Hotel 

I had the pleasure of presenting the Flipped Accounting Classroom to approximately 50 of my Accounting Teacher Colleagues from around the province.  It was a lot of fun.  What I learned from that experience is that Accounting Teachers Rock and make for a great audience.  They were very interested and had many questions.  I will put a link to my dropbox presentation here for those who want to take a look at it.  Presentation Slides

Also, Jennifer Diebolt, Senior Liaison Officer with CPA, asked me to return for the second conference scheduled for Nov 1st.  Unfortunately, I am not available and have agreed to make a video for that.  I have done it and will post it here in this blog soon.  I want them all to have a chance to see it there first!!  After all, I made it for them!!

October 24th-25th, #ECOO13 Conference in Niagara

Again, I had the great pleasure of presenting on the Flipped Classroom at this amazing conference.  This is the second year I have attended and presented.  I had the honour of presenting with my amazing colleagues @MathManAnusic, @Courtin44, @SimonaM1000 and @MathRocks47.  (I'm @LadyFitzee for those who do not know).  We presented the PDSB's journey to the flipped classroom and although we only had 45 mins, we were able to give a good diverse high level overview of different approached to flipping, advice to get started, as well as, the wonderful support the PDSB provides to teachers like us willing to try new things.  Here is a link to that presentation (you will notice some overlap to the above one I posted) #ECOO13 Presentation

Although presenting was amazing, I took away a bunch of great things away from the conference that I tweeted out.  My favourite thoughts were as follows:

  • "There are people who do things... and there are people who attack people who do things"  (We need to get more students to be the ones "doing" not "attacking.
  • "Every kid needs to be talked to EACH day about what they can do with their technology"  (At CPSS, we have started Digital Citizenship Days - stay tuned for that... I will blog about it and share lessons)
  • "When you hit "like" you are signing the petition for LIFE! - Don't give it away easily"  (Kids need to be taught and cautioned that they could really get into trouble with the "like" button.  Don't "like" other peoples bad decisions)
  • "Teach students to "let it hang" until it hangs them! Don't say a thing..... "  (If students are attacked on line.... teach them to ignore and not attack back.. this is KEY)
  • "Are you bringing people up or tearing people down? LIFT PEOPLE UP!! - Dont' Drive by - Get beat up too!"  (Support those who need it.... even if it means you too, will get hurt protecting or standing up for another sole who really needs the PUBLIC support.  Private support is not helpful... stand up PUBLICLY.)
  • "Kids get in trouble when they THINK they have a secret life"  (Kids need to understand that NOTHING is SECRET in the Digital World.... They need to build themselves a positive brand)
  • Have students "google alert" themselves to manage their digital footprint. (They might be surprised what they see about themselves)
  • Tell Kids "Don't create the armament that will bring you down in the future - Bank the good stuff" (Again, students need to start building a positive brand)
  • "Research from Stanford says NO ONE is a MULTI-TASKER.. we are FAST SWITCHERS"  (We think we are, but our attention is not great... something is NOT ATTENDED TOO)
  • Kids go fast! 110 social decisions per minute. It's not virtual if it can effect your real life. It's one life.  (They really need to think before hitting "send', "share", "like", "post", etc.)
  • Our mistakes aren't googleable but the ones of our kids are. They are building a digital legacy.  (We were so lucky as teens.  We made mistakes that only few people saw.. now when kids make mistakes the whole world can see and it CAN affect them for LIFE)
  • "Kids should be creators not consumers of on-line content"  (Teach them to build, share, teach, be creative... again, build positive digital footprint)
  • In ten years my cutting edge devices will be a joke to the next generation... Needs to be about the teaching not the device.   (One of my favourites.  This high tech MacBook Pro that I'm typing this on will be a complete joke to our kids when they are our age..... so true... what will it be like, in even 5 or 10 years?)
  • Both and reinforced the power of kids teaching kids via technology.  (I have already started with my own kids at home.... create, share and post the good helpful stuff to society.)
  • Remember when the tech at school was way better than the tech at home?! Not the case anymore. A def motivation for BYOD  (We really need to embrace technology and what power it gives students at their fingertips- Use it in your class)
  • No one showed up today thinking. " oh thank god there is electricity here". "Wifi will soon follow"  (Funny, but true.... wifi will be EVERYWHERE soon.. and we will EXPECT it... some of us already do...)
  • "Education can change a family's destiny in just one generation" Jaime Casap. Too true  
  • The Technasium and Flipnasium at Rick Hansen SS provide for a great way to allow teachers to learn in a SAFE Environment.  See my awesome colleagues @jrichea's BLOG and @jimmyblackwood 's blog.  
Finally, Last Minute Thoughts to improve my classroom still....(PLC related)
  • I'm starting a Gr 12 peer tutoring program for my 11 Accounting.  12's on spare, will come in and help me support my students in 11 who are struggling.  I look forward to this.  I've already contacted several parents about this and they are on-board and excited that we are going to try to provide even more support to their kids.
  • I learned from my buddy @MathManAnusic a trick that I can't believe I didn't think of..... I'm going to take up my test via video.  I always hate taking up tests, because so many who did well - it is a waste of their time (they think), the ones who struggled.. need more one-on-one.. so I will do that going forward.
  • I will also make mini-videos on little topics.  Example: in Grade 11 accounting so many kids struggle with the "solving for variables in equations" math issue. (Not really accounting, but it comes up several times).  I am going to make really short video's about this for them too!!
  • I will also try to make more videos with me in it and using different technology i.e. my document camera.
Cheers, until next time!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Professional Learning Cycle (PLC)

Hi, It's been 21 days since my last post..........

When I decided to start blogging,  I made the decision to do so, for two reasons.  First, I wanted to keep track of my experience in one spot, so I can go back and see how, over time, the experience improved or not.  And, second, I wanted to Share my learnings & successes (and sometimes pain and agony) with others.

In our board, we are required to complete regular PLC's which, in a nutshell, is a tool that gets teachers to Plan, Act, Observe, and Reflect in groups (while collaborating with other teachers) to improve teaching practice.  So, to be honest, I feel that I Plan, Act,  Observe, and Reflect  on a regular basis AND share learnings with other teachers (which is partly what I'm doing here). But, we have to put the details on this form and they are due at certain times in the semester.  Some teachers get their back up when asked to fill in forms.  Suddenly, the beautiful intent of the process gets lost and the form gets filled in some way or another 'because they have to' but the process gets missed.  At our school, our School Success team has realized that it isn't the form that is beneficial, rather the process.  Therefore,  we have been given the ability to use any medium we which wish to record our PLC process.  So while thinking about all the things I write about here, I decided it would be like killing two angry birds with one stone.

So for this blog post I would like to discuss my PLC for this year's flipped classes.  (BAF 3M0 and BAT4M0).  I have been thinking a lot about improvements to the process and what I can to to make it better.
  • As always, we need to plan with the end in mind.  This year, I am going to change my summative's up for both classes.  I hope to use one of the accounting organization's teacher case studies for them.  I will modify my current exams (always with the focus of improving them) and use them.  I have decided that for my 12's I will use the CGA new case study that I had the pleasure of reviewing for them.  

  • I Plan on allowing students to work at their own pace a bit more (that means move ahead).  They cannot fall behind however.  In order to make this possible, I had to make a complete summary of they whole course and what will happen each day.  This took a long time.. but I'm glad I did it.

  • I Plan on making more one-on-one student connections with the students as I work with them each day and keep them on task and focused.  This partnering with the students, I believe, helps me AND them!!

  • I also plan on being in the classroom more than last year (if possible).  Last year, I was out a lot for many reasons (i.e. speaking at conferences, attending PL, promoting our new AP program etc etc.  It was WAY too much).  I felt like the classroom routine was easily "not followed" by the students. You know the old saying "When the cat's away the mice will play".

  • I try to use technology a lot in the class as well, so I plan on trying some new Apps and Programs this year to improve student engagement and hopefully.
  • I plan on trying to do more collaborative activities and use more case studies this year.
  • I'd also like to try to incorporate more warm up questions each day to get them thinking and engaged.
  • Practice tests would also be something I'm going to use a lot more this year.

So as you can imagine, those plans were in my head since day one.  So how have I been doing so far?
  • Summatives are on my mind... I will get to them soon in my next post when the time gets closer.
  • Some students are working ahead and that is great.  They like the flexibility of knowing what is coming.  
  • With connecting with each student and making better connections, I have been thrilled with my effort so far. 
  •  I've only been out one day (DECA conference) and then a period or so here and there (i.e. awards assembly) so our routines are getting "set in stone". 
  • Technology:  Netbooks, BYOD everyday.  If you came to my class you would see a variety of students doing different things.  Apps:  I've tried http://www.socrative.com and really liked it.  I use this as my new TaSQ quiz this year to save paper.  I showed a couple of other teachers it and one of my colleagues has been using it a lot!!  He loves it.  Also, I'm using http://www.classdojo.com to give badges to my students.  I plan to get Apple TV in my class as well to start sharing more.  Also, I've been using http://todaysmeet.com almost every day to start my class off (when I'm not doing a TaSQ quiz or playing a game).  Students put their questions up on the site and we answer as a class.
  • I managed to get one warm up question in for my grade 12's.  It was a accrual on Interest Payable.  
Observe and Reflect 
In my opinion Observe and Reflect go hand in hand.. because once I observe, I immediately start reflecting (usually when I should be sleeping - which isn't so good).
  • With the students working ahead, I've already noticed "them" (you know those students).  To be happy.  But what I noticed is some are going too fast and missing things.  I have to get them to "cool their jets" (often told to me by my principal) and slow down a bit.  Also, I need to be more prepared for them to be working ahead with resources etc.  This is keeping me on my toes.

  • I've done a better job with the 11's than the 12's at connecting.  Some students need me more and I can spend a lot of time with one student, or keep going back to one student.  One thing that I think I need to do is try to get them to collaborate more.  I don't need to be the only one helping them.  The students who are doing well and the students that are moving ahead can be asked to help those students.
  • Being in the class more has been good, but I am worried as I have a few things coming up (i.e. Awards assembly, ECOO Conference2013 (which I will be presenting at in Niagara Falls with some colleagues re: PDSB journey to flipping), ICAO teacher colleague conference, feeder school visits etc.)  I really have to limit being out, because I truly, believe it will impact my student results.  
  • With respect to todaysmeet.com, I really like this.  Last year I had students put their questions on the SMART board, but it took a long time and only one could do it at a time.  Todaysmeet allows as many students who want to post to do it all at once.  I've also found that the questions they are  asking is getting better with student practice.  Students seem to like starting the class like this. 
  • What I found with the warm up question, the 12's really became engaged quickly.  It took them longer to complete it than I had hoped but I think the payoff was greater than the cost.  As a matter of fact, they asked me to put up 2 more questions that were similar to see if they got it!!  So I did.  (That is called being flexible and going with it in the moment... something that a control freak (like me) isn't very good at!!)  So my thoughts on that are to use more warm up questions.  I think this will work well with the 12's as they have more problems than the 11's.
  • Other thoughts:  So far so good.  I would like to do a PLC for my BOH class as it is not flipped and I'm trying to use other 21st century approaches with them.  More project based, more inquiry based.  
So now, the cycle begins.  Now that I reflected, and added more plans... I can act on them and re-reflect again.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Happy New Flipped Year!

So here we go again.  I'm excited this year as it will be my second full year of flipping.  I'm planning to take "what worked well' last year and continue those and stop things that "didn't work so well". 

So what did work well?

  • Remind 101 - This was a great tool.  I love being able to send reminders to students at any time.  I used it a lot.  For those of you who are not familiar check it out. I suggest you use it.  This year, I also plan to get more parents to sign up for this.  This may help some students who need that extra "nudge" from home.  The other thing that I liked was, I gave responsibility to 1 student in each class to also send daily reminders on my behalf.  (This was very helpful)
  • Teaching students "HOW" to "ACTIVELY" watch the videos.  I think I saved myself a lot of heart ache with this step.  As a matter of fact, I reviewed this today with my Gr 12's again even though half of them just flipped with me semester 2.  Tomorrow I will be spending the whole period on this with my 11's who are new to flipping. 
  • TaSQ - "Take Notes, Summarize, Question" (see my video here).  This is what I ask students to do while watching my videos.  First Semester, I started off my classes with the Q's.  It was a good way to start class and get the students collaborating.  Often, I would get one student from each group to write their questions on the SMART Board and we would tackle as a class.  Second Semester, I tried to go digital with this and asked them to put their Q's in the discussion board in Angel.  This didn't work well.  It was difficult to follow, students didn't participate well and they didn't help each other - which was the reason I thought it would be beneficial.  (When I go to Edmodo in future - I think this digital communication and collaboration will be easier - I just think the platform for sharing is more user friendly with Edmodo than Angel - so I will try this again in the future....) For now....I will just continue with the Q's in groups to start the class off.  I will add Todaysmeet.com (see below for more on this) as a venue for sharing questions each day.
  • TaSQ sheets - Students told me that even though they hated doing these, they were very helpful for their learning and review.  This semester I am going to take a complete set of TaSQ sheets from a "diligent, neat, conscientious" student.   I think this will be helpful for me to help remind me what is in each video.  I have over 130 videos now and it is really challenging to remember what they all have in them.
  • Quiz's on-line for student use.  From Ch 5 on, in my Gr 12 course, I posted on-line quiz's in Angel that correspond with each video.  This was to help each student test their own personal understanding.  I liked this so much I will add a quiz for each video in the Gr 11 course and the first 4 chapters in the Gr 12 course.  (This takes a lot of time... as I needed to re-watch my videos to make the quiz - so I am assigning 1-2 to each student in each class to prepare for me when they are TaSQing.)  Advice for those just making videos: Make a quiz for each video as you make the videos!!!!  
  • Summary file with links to each video.  I have an excel spreadsheet for each course with links to each video.  This is helpful in so many ways.  I can send it to each student so that they have all the links in one spot.  I can use it to help build plans.  I have been able to share my videos with other teachers.  I am continuing to build these files to add more detail to them.  Exercises to match each video.  Corresponding handouts for each video etc. etc.
  • Surveying students at the end.  I will do this each semester.  They give you good suggestions. 
  • Have students create videos again.  This worked well for my 12's last semester.  I might try it with the 11's this time.

What didn't work so well? (and what am I doing about it)..

  • Angel - Angel is the LMS that the PDSB has been using for several years. (Similar to D2L or Blackboard).  In my opinion, this didn't work well.  But I think I just had bad luck.  I had so many issues with Angel from students loosing their content as they submitted tests (yes, they spent an hour doing a test and then hit submit and PRESTO... it disappeared.) to Angel not working on exam day, to my Angel Back ups not re-loading etc etc.  So I started to get my courses ready on Edmodo.  I was ready to take the plunge then I did a vote with Gr 11's and Gr12's most of which had exposure to both Angel and Edmodo.  I was SHOCKED, they wanted to use Angel. So I decided to stay with it for at least one Semester.  I'm not sad that I spent the time getting Edmodo loaded with content as I believe I will be forced to move away from Angel soon (by our Board)
  • Keeping all students at the same spot.  Some students could have easily moved ahead and others could have used more time on some concepts.  Now that I have one semester under my belt and I feel like I am more organized, I will try to allow students to work at their own pace.  This will require some figuring out, however, I think it will look something like this:  I will give them a "Unit Summary" which lists all videos and work for the unit and the date for the final assessment for the unit.  I will pace everyone that needs help with this by saying each day "you should be "HERE" today and "THERE" tomorrow.  For collaborative activities, I will need to ensure everyone is ready for them.  What worries me about this?  Well, that some students will save ALL the work for class time (i.e. watch all the video's during class).  I'm not sure why this bothers me?  Should it???
  • Being out of the class so much last year.  Last year was so busy.  I would be surprised if I was in the class a full week all year. I spent a lot of time at conferences, sharing what we are doing, presenting etc.  This took me out of the class too much.  This allowed for routine to fall apart in the class a bit.  I think if I was there more often, I would be able to enforce the "routine" better.  (The good news is the class was Flipped so students were able to not miss lessons due to me being away).
  • When I record new videos I will definitely keep them short (less than 10 mins).

What other things am I implementing this semester?

  • CLASS DOJO  This App and Website, will allow me to "track" students actions real time by assigning badges etc.  I started this today and was so surprised at how easily this was done with my iPhone.  My iPad was struggling with this (not sure why... .I'll figure it out).  Students seemed to be intrigued by this.
  • Apple TV.  This will make my life easier as I will be able to share stuff from my Mac, iPad, iPhone etc.  Currently, the teacher computer in my class room is SO PAINFULLY SLOW I want to POKE MY EYES OUT.  This will just make me happy.  Looking forward to this addition to my room.  
  • Also, when I record new video's I might try a couple using the FIZZ method.  A colleague of mine has recently started using this method, which I had known of from Katie Gimbar.  But strangely, when someone you know tries something and lives through it - It seems easier to try.  The thing that sucks about it is no Editing (or not much).  Students will have to hear my "uhm's and OK's".
  • Today's Meet.  I think I will try to use this for student collaboration, idea generation, student sharing etc.  We've used it in meetings and presentations, but I have never used it with students.  I will be using this tomorrow for the first time in my Biz Mgmt Class (which is not a flipped class - I'm trying to use a more inquiry, project based approach in this class)
Well I think that is enough for now.  Thanks for reading, and if you have any good advice to give me, I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Results from a Full year of Flipping

The Flipped Classroom Survey Results (Semester 2 June 2013) and Comparison to First Semester

Well it’s been another full semester and I can say, “Fitzee officially flipped out” for the whole year! The following is a summary of my Semester 2 Grade 11 Accounting students’ feedback regarding the flipped class. There is also a comparison of these results to my Semester 1 results.  The results are from one class of students. Semester 1 had a larger group, as I had 2 full classes.  Also, I was going to survey my Grade 12 Accounting students however, I totally forgot on exam day.  (I’m losing my mind – but that’s a whole other story).

Question 1

As you can see 95% of my students enjoyed it (although you would never know it on some days).  These results are very similar to what I saw Semester 1 – 92%.  I must have improved by 3%!  Truth be told, I think Semester 2 was worse, the class didn’t seem as engaged and I had much more of a challenge trying to get them to watch the videos and I was out of the class more often due to conferences etc.  However, according to this - they certainly enjoyed it!

Question 2

47% wish all of their classes were flipped.  That is almost half!  That is crazy in my opinion.  Half of our students wish all of their classes were flipped!  Plus the other half were neutral.  Compared to Semester 1 this is a bit lower.  Semester 1, had 51% saying they wish all of their classes were flipped and 35% were neutral.  So what does this tell us?  Should I flip everything? As my principal would say “hold your horses”.  I agree.  I still have numerous items that I am working on to make it better for next year (mostly based on their comments that you will see below).

Question 3

73% agree or strongly agree (21% neutral) that the videos were the right length.  This is interesting, as they complained like it was torture after I ask them how the video was the night before.  The other interesting thing is that these were the exact same videos that I used in Semester 1 and 62% of them agreed or strongly agreed (28% neutral) that they were the right amount.  I read an article recently “ISTE 2013: A Conversation with Jon Bergmann of the Flipped Learning Network” http://www.k-12techdecisions.com/article/iste_2013_a_conversation_with_jon_bergmann_of_the_flipped_learning_network and in that article Jon Bergmann suggests that the videos should be 1.5 minutes for the grade level.  i.e. grade 10’s should have 15 min video’s.  Grade 12’s should have 18 min videos.  In my personal opinion.. 18 mins is WAY too long.  15 mins is WAY too long.  My new goal is to make them all 10 mins or less, and where I can’t, I’ve been splitting them, based on the feedback from first semester.

Question 4

Well this is good news.  Almost 90% disagree or strongly disagree that they would NEVER take a flipped class again.  (Sorry for the double negative).  For those with “summer brain” that means they would take one again! Compared to Semester 1, 95% would take one again.

Question 5

Well this was a new question that I added to the survey this semester.  I kicked myself after the last one for not including one like this.  This is GREAT news for me.  I always struggle with how to effectively measure the results of using a new method of teaching.  Still, it is not the most scientific, but better than nothing.  Based on their own opinions of how they learned, 74% felt that they did learn better as a result of this method.  And 21% were neutral.  The 5% who didn’t agree I wanted to look at deeper.  This was one student who (yes, one student, 1 out of 23) was not successful at getting the credit and was not interested in getting it either – no matter what I tried to do to intervene.  So all in all, I think I will try the flipped class next year with some improvements to be mentioned later.

For your interest, here are the (unmodified) text response questions and the answers that I received!

The Best part about the Flipped class was......
it was easy to learn
You can work when you want to so you are more focused. If you do not get something you can watch the video again to understand great exam prepartion too.
Being able to pause stop and replay
you always know what is happening in class
The 24/7 available lesson.
I can catch up whenever needed to if I ever fall behind. Also a great way to help you during the exam time because you can go over the videos again and study.
being able to do the homework in class this way you could get help from the teacher and your fellow peers at the sametime.
You get to do homework at class
I enjoyed the flipped class because I could take notes at my own pace and learn the lessons while at home. Also at the same time I could come to shool asking the teacher questions about things I do not get. I also think the best part is being able to rewatch the lesson again to get anything I missed
being able to pause the video and keep up with taking notes.
having more knowledge and getting more information a day before.
i can watch the lesson whenever i wanted to pause it stop it and watch it how many times i wanted to
get to spend more time with the teacher in class
I was able to get help from the teacher in class when i needed it
Being able to watch the videos at home at anytime.
you could watch it on your own paste and you can pause and play whenever you wanted
that when we get to watch our lessons we can alwasy go back and replay anytime unlike in class if you missed the lesosn you missed it.
i could review the lesson again if needed and see the lesson if i was absent
watching the vids at home so if you missed something you can go back and check it
Ability to learn the lesson if you can't attend class
that if i missed class i would still be caught up
Using videos to catch up with the class rather than a traditional textbook
Switching desks around.

The Flipped class would be better if.......
the vidoe are short
the videos were a bit shorter it would be easier to pay more attention the longer the video the more distracted you tend to get.
Its good how it is
it had a quiz at the end of the video
The flipped class would be better if the videos weren't always so long and boring.
it would be better if it the videos weren't so long and boring some of the time.
If maybe everyone just spent at least 15-20 minutes a night on each subject like they should everyone in the class would be up-to-date and we wouldn't have to skip things out on the schedule and lessons you had planned for us. If everyone else was caught up we would have been able to have an extra day of monopoly and also be able to work on our summative assignment.
every student participated in it.
better if there was a quiz at the end of each video to see if what we watched went into our head
the teacher introduces the lesson in class before watching the videos
while watching the video we were able to ask the techer about something we didnt understand. I guess its better to find out more about it whil the lesson is fresh in your head. I guess if the teacher gives her email to the students it would help more. This way if students have any last minute questions at home while studying they can ask the teacher using email rather than struggling to find out on their own.
The videos could be found directly in youtube
there were more examples added to the vidioes
the video's were a little shorter about 6-7minutes because some of the video's were about 14 minutes long and there were WAY too many notes to take. overall it was a good experience!
some videos wernt as long
there was more examples
Some lessons were taught a bit more in class as well
i liked it the way it was
no comment it's good as it is

The worst part about the flipped class was.....
videos are too lomg
nothing really.
i would usally forget about the video after school
some are boring and takes forever to finish
The worst part was that if you didnt remember to watch the vidceo you would have no idea what was happening in class the next day.
If you miss a lot of videos you have to catch up
Watching the very long videos...
A good majority of the class was ever caught up and everyone took advantage of the fact that they can just watch the lessons at home. So they would watch it at literally the last minute/day.
Forgetting to watch the vidoes at home.
when the video's were long
too many distractions espically going home and watching it on a computer/laptop
If the internet is down cant really watch the videos
I didnt really find anything that bad but sometimes i had the issue of not getting to watch the video because i was so busy with what ever going on at home.
When Angel or the videos didn't work.
the vidios were a little too ling sometimes
nothing really except for the really long videos which can be shorter (if possible to cover all items of lesson).
sometimes angelo did not work and therfore i could not watch the videos
forgetting to watch videos
Sometimes you didnt have time due to other homework to watch the videos
One mind can only learn so much by themselves as opposed to a teacher teaching it; if a video is watched and the teacher takes 25 minutes during the class to go over the video that's when it's a win-win situation for those who actually watched it
Talking to group members.