Thursday, December 12, 2013

Teach Like a Flippin' Pirate

With my current 8th grade math class the set up is currently a flip style classroom.  However, I do not require any videos to be watched at home, so I am not sure "flipped" is the right term.  It is definitely highly differentiated, self-paced and allows lots of student choice for practice and evidence of learning.

The class is broken down into 28 learning targets for the year.  Each learning target is broken down into 4 levels using a 1-4 rubric.

Each learning target starts with a Pre-quiz using our Schoology account.  (love the quiz feature on Schoology, great math equation editor).  The results of the pre-quiz determine what level the students will start working on.  Students are given a checklist (example here) of the work to be done for each level.  Any advice on making this easier to follow would be great...

Each level of the learning target has the a similar setup.
1. Students watch a short video about that level of the learning target.  I would like to get to a point where I have a video I made listed as well as another one from the internet so students have a choice, but I havent had the time yet.  Students are expected to take notes using a Cornell Style system and complete some basic practice problems that closely resemble the examples from the video.

2. There are 3 activities listed to "practice" the skill.  Students are asked to complete 2 of the tasks successfully.  The 3 activities fall under a couple general catgories.
     IXL Practice - a skill is listed from the IXL website (our school has a subscription)
    Worksheet - a single page worksheet with more complex and higher level thinking problems
     Creating - students create a movie, slide show, poster, etc...
     Activity - students complete some kind of hands on lab experiment
     Gaming - students play an online game to practice (using Manga High or some other website)

3. When students have completed two of the activities they take a 5 question "post quiz" about that level of the learning target.  This is also completed on Schoology.  Students must score a 4/5 on the quiz to complete the level.

4. If students fail to achieve a 4/5 they are asked to do some remediation activities.  Generally they meet with me and we work through their misconceptions.  They then have some choices of another task to complete.  These activities are generally similar to above with only 2 additional options.
     BuzzMath - a free online interactive math book with an option to upgrade to premium
     Fix Mistakes - the student can submit detailed fixes of their mistakes on the quiz

This system take up about two-thirds of the classtime.  During this time students are working in groups or on their own, helping each other and asking questions.

The other third of classtime is taken up with whole class activities.  I have used 3-act problems, Connected Math problems, and whole class games, (like we played MathDice this week to review order of operations).  We also play a weekly Monday game that takes the first 10 minutes of class.  We also start class on other days with some peer instruction strategies, or a My Favorite No activity.  Starting with these non-threatening formative assessments to stimulate discussion are very helpful in keeping students on track with their learning.

It is during these times that I really try to implement the TLAP.  Simple things like playing music as they come into class, having interesting things on the board or around the room to peek interest, and just radiating the joy I feel to be there most days.

With a complicated set up like this, we really took things slow at first.  (Hence it is almost the end of quarter 2 and we are on concept 9 of 28).  However things are starting to pick up as students now have the hang of it.  What has really helped is I now have two dates for each concept.  I have a due date, where they are expected to have completed at least 1 level from the learning target.   I also have a deadline, after which I will not take any more work from that concept.  I am still refining this system so any advice would be great there as well.  We do use the Power of ICU system, so that is also helping.

Grading this mess is a lot easier as I switched to a standards based grading (SBG) system a couple years ago.  The students earn a score of 1-4 depending on what level they complete for each learning target.  The student also earns a 1-4 score on a differentiated quiz for each learning target.  The quiz portion can be re-take as many times as the student needs as long as there is some remediation in between.

I am generally happy with the set up of this so far, but the main problem is organization is not my strong suit.  Things tend to get a little chaotic and sometimes I am overwhelmed by it.

Hatter: Pieces of paper? Pointless.


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