Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Next Time My Class Would...

Here is a much needed update and reflection on semester 1. I honestly felt like I was a second year teacher all over again. Granted I did have a new prep (and this semester I have 2 new preps), but it was definitely more to do with the new methodology than it was anything else. You can see which classes I decided to "flip" and the reasons, etc at the post here.

Some of the highlights included:
- the bulk of students performing at the level I had anticipated based on the past performances
- a small group of students showed improved results and actively showed their engagement in the way the class was run
- I knew my students better this semester than I ever have before - I was able to write detailed report card comments with less referral to written/technological records
- the freedom to help students that needed it in class
- having conversations with students about math, school, post-secondary, etc that were valuable

Some of the low-lights included:
- students that did not connect with me and ask questions (a smaller group of students with weaker math skills that ultimate resisted the changes I had imposed on them), despite other students being fine with asking questions (though this is not necessarily much different than any class)
- ELL students that still did not work with others as often as I would have liked
- students not using the check-in questions I created for them to check their understanding
- repetitive nature of class (particularly in physics) became boring

Some of the things I might do differently when I get a chance to do a senior class this way again:
- use Office 365 or Twitter to try to create a more interactive nature outside of class instead of using Angel (means I can no longer use the quiz aspect of Angel but could make use of something like Google forms that the video could be embedded in and contain questions for students to answer and submit)
- for Physics make sure to have a demo/simulation/additional "fun video" to go with every lesson so there is always something to do in class beyond "the work"
- create critical thinking tasks to be done in class (for same reason as demo/simulation need)

- provide students with a "shy" way to say "i need help" (though I did try creating online discussion boards with the ability to most anonymously and that did not seem to help)

I am doing some "flipping" (which I would much prefer to call shifting) in my Grade 9 Science class this semester. It has allowed me to talk explicitly about note taking this semester and I hope to keep that up. The idea being to create a bit of additional time so that I can give them a bit more time to work on assignments in class and so I can check on their progress in class more often.

Good luck Semester 2 everyone!