Just another Flipped classromm

Month: February, 2012

Project Based Learning and the Flip

For the past few weeks I have been experimenting with PBL in my Flipped classroom. Web quests have been the tool of choice for this implementation. Instead of a steady stream of screencasts for homework, I focused on research with a final project to show mastery. For example, we were about to dive into integers…adding and subtracting. I felt the concept was too abstract for my kiddos to master through screencasts. So, they did a webquest to build conceptual knowledge around the topic. They had to define integers, learn the history of negative numbers, and research ways integers are used in daily life. Their final product was a presentation of their research through either Glogster, Active Inspire, Power Point, or a Prezi.

This is how it went down:

1. On Monday I introduced the Webquest and let them get started.
2. While they were working, I pulled small groups for remediation based on the last test.
3. Homework was the contiuation of the webquest.
4. Tuesday, I met with the students in small groups and introduced the rules for adding and subtracting integers, where I taught them how to use a numberline for assistance. Homework was a screencast created by Khan explaining integers using a numberline.
5. Wednesday, 20 minutes of class time was given to students to present their research in small groups.
6. Thursday was for those who didn’t get a chance to present on Wednesday.
7. I continued teaching the rules for adding and subtracting integers in small groups while the students worked on finishing their math web quest and started working on their science webquest.
8. By Friday I had met with everyone on adding and subtracting integers and had a chance to assess for understanding.

Here is what I learned:

1. The webquest gave the students a bigger picture of the concept. Through the research, they learned about the history of the concept, how its used, and why. This created connections and helped them get ready for the math part.

2.The webquests was a great tool in creating that independent learning environment. It allowed me the freedom to work in small groups.

3. The final product provided an opportunity in public speaking, which I used as a learning opportunity.

4. Keeping the webquests to a week time created urgency and better time management.

Building the connections was the most powerful part of the webquest. My students now saw the purpose of learning about integers and this made them more receptive to learning the rules.



Today my students take the test on the unit that will reflect some of the changes I implemented in my flipped classroom. I’ m anxious to see if the changes produce positive results. I mentioned in an earlier post some of the changes I decided to make with the self-pacing, projects, and adding “I Can” statements. I’ve also implemented a new strategy that requires the students to think, write and share about a problem that I post on the board. I’m hoping to see positve results.

The Results:
71% passed the test the first time.
After the retest the percentage of passing increased to 81% (The retest was taken 5 days later.)

OK, the passing rate is a lot higher than the last unit where less than 50% passed the test the first time administered and then with the retest only about 60%. Then again, the culprit from that unit could have been that the topic was fractions. None the less, I’m going to take the increase in percentage passing as confirmation that the changes implemented where a move in the right direction. If the next test proves to be positive, as well, then I will definitley know that the changes were good ones.

I want to spend the rest of this post talking about the new strategy I have implemented. It’s called TWS (Think, Write, Share). First, I want to thank www.flippingwithkirch.blogspot.com for the inspiration. I loved reading about her WSQ strategy (Watch,Summarize, Question) and thought I would like to try something similar that would blend more with the discourse strategy in my classroom. So, I did some research and read about a take on Think, Pair, Share where the pair was replaced with Write. So, here is how it works:

1. I post a problem on the IWB that has been solved incorrectly.

2. The students think about this problem by answering two questions in their journals.
– What vocabulary does this person need to know to solve this problem?
– What does this person need to know how to do to solve this problem?
3. After giving them about 10 minutes to THINK, they are given 5 minutes to write and explain to this person where he/she went wrong and then how to find the correct answer.

4. They get into their discourse groups to share and discuss their reflections, with the intent of coming to a group consensus on how to guide this person to a better understanding of the concept.

5. They meet back as a class and one person from each group shares their groups concensus.

Once they have mastered this strategy, I’m going to have them do the thinking and writing as part of their homework and the sharing in class.