This school year I started my Flipped classroom in a technology induced euphoria: 1:1 computing. I felt that Heaven had come to Earth and settled in room 57. All of my plans for taking my Flipped classroom to the next level with cloud computing and collaboration were about to come to fruition, at least, that is what I was hoping.
This isn’t Heaven
After the first nine weeks, I noticed that my students were not as enthusiastic about the Flipped classroom as compared to last year. I figured it was because of all the house keeping that had to be done with incorporating 1:1 computing and the Flipped classroom procedures. “It will get better the second nine weeks.” I said to myself. It didn’t. Instead, I found myself abandoning the Flipped model and returning to a more traditional setting. This bothered me greatly and I knew something had to be done.
I went to my “thinking spot” and started solving my problem by asking questions.
1. What is it that I like MOST about Flipping my classroom?
Well, that’s easy. I love the converstations my students have with each other about math. Watching them discuss and debate answers to problems and being a part of nurturing that learning environment, was what I liked most about Flipping my classroom.
2. Do I see this level of conversation in my classroom this year?
The answer is plain and simple. No.
3. Why not?
I had to step back and watch my class for a few days to find the answer. Let me just say that the problem was, forgive the cliche, ” As plain as the nose on my face.” It was the 1:1 computing. Well… let’s equate it to an obstacle instead of a problem. Basically, my students were spending more time on their laptops than in conversation with their peers. It wasn’t all of the students, nor the same students everyday, but enough of them to cause a breakdown of the most powerful part of the Flipped classroom: The Conversation.
4. So, how do I make it work?
My district was offering a PD on grouping and management. I went…for the recert hours. I walked away with a plan.
Solution:I decided to blend grouping techniques with technology using strategies that encouraged conversation.
Trial 1: Morning Warm-Up:
– Respect – The students used their laptops or their own device to independently complete the warm-up posted on Edmodo. They wrote their answers in their composition books. This is an Independent 1:1 computing activity.
– Justify– The students partnered up with a friend and justified their answers
to the warm-up. They were free to change or keep their orginal answers.
No computers were in use for this part.
– Consensus– They migrated into their pre-arranged groups of 3 or 4 and discussed the answers as a group and came to consensus on all of the problems. The captain of the group then direct messaged me their answers. Only one computer per group for this part.
While all of this was going on, I was moving in and out of the groups listening to the discussions and taking mental notes of common misunderstandings. After the groups submitted their answers, I put the warm-up on the IWB, with the answers. I went over the problems, based on my observations, that needed to be reviewed more in dept. The entire process took about 15-20 minutes to complete.
The conversations they were having were music to my ears. Blending the tech. into this process was seamless and beneficial. Because it worked so well with the warm-up, I’m going to try another grouping strategy dealing with the follow-up to the screencast from the homework assignment.
By the way, let me give credit where credit is due. This is the link to presenter of the PD.