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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!