Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Having Fun Teaching Math by playing student

Review is into full swing now, and I'm throwing the reins over to the students... Except for a couple of requests, I'm not doing much video-ing, but I'm getting the kids in groups based on topics of difficulty, and then having them teach each other, and then pick an example to teach the class.

The main thing that I am learning from this (slowly,... oh so slowly), is to shut up and watch. When you're not in charge, and the kids are focused, a math class can be a pretty fun place.

Then I think about how boring my teaching videos are. Yes, they need to be to the point, all business, especially if I keep to my 5-minute rule (incidentally, the idea of "hiding" a question or piece of information in the video seems like a good way to be able to check up on them and keep their interest).


If there's one thing I've learned about teaching, that I've got to incorporate in my videos... I gotta have fun with it, otherwise they won't have fun. So what can I do... free thinking ahead -->

Say random words while teaching, do questions in reverse (hey, they can play with the video), take it out doors (check out Chychochycho on YouTube), have guest lecturers, try it without a board, teach in French, have it written out and erase backwards and then show in reverse and voice over, do voice overs in a different pitch, use manipulatives, tailor the style of lesson to the topic (triangular board for teaching Pythag, scrabble tiles for algebra)...

And I suppose I should get rid of the linear thinking. If I get an idea for teaching something with a bit of a twist, why wait 'till that topic comes along, dive in now, and put it in the freezer for later... Hey, refrigerator mathematics!? Gotta be an idea there somewhere.

I wonder how many people read their own blogs?

Monday, 21 May 2012

Reality Check - After 4 weeks

I was flipping with one class of grade 9's, and the student teacher was doing traditional teaching with the other group. I gave a traditional test to both groups which I haven't yet marked. I'm anxious to find out the results, but hitting that end-of-year wall, where energy has been transferred to exam preparation and review - let's just say the sunny weather of the long weekend has slowed me down... Cheers! Maybe the second to last month of school wasn't the best time to make a change to flipping, but the enthusiasm was there, and so I had to go with my heart. I really don't know the best way to work in the classroom, I'm so used to the sage on the stage role. Guess I'll have to get some feedback from the students this week. I must be doing something wrong, since I usually have a better feel of the students' abilities when I'm up on the stage. Now that I'm in the trenches with them I feel more out of touch. Curiouser and curiouser. Meanwhile we're into review now, and though Crystal Kirch has given ideas on how to proceed with that, I think I'll have to modify the model. next week is a non-homework non-testing week, so any review I want to get them to create has to be done this week.... and it's a three-day week. I'll have to make some decisions on this... tomorrow.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

After a couple of weeks...

So after reading, researching and reviewing, it looks like might work as a platform form my flipped classroom.  It looks like it does almost everything, but I'm still investigating.
I've done about five or six class periods with the flip, including one where I showed the students what they should be doing wrt taking notes and summarizing. and how we proceed at the beginning of the following class.
I did it with one of my grade nine groups (student teacher was working with the other group), and I will be testing both of them next Wednesday. I did the flipping with the weaker group, but I will be working with the stronger for two more classes before the test.  At this point, I don't care which group does better, I just hope they both do well, for various reasons.

Friday, 4 May 2012

I flipped the introduction of linear functions with a brief video - my plan is to keep them under 5 minutes - but that they'll take 10 minutes to watch as they take notes (Crystal Kirch's WSQ idea sticks in my head). I hope to join in on her Webinar next week, but it'll be tough to do on home time.

So the reactions to the video lesson were good, but I was disappointed in my classroom follow-up on it. The system needs some minor tweaking (with a bulldozer!)  I have to remember that I can still use humour in my videos... who am I to deprive the kids of their daily craving of teacher jokes?

Got a bit of a boost watching a few Ken Robinson talks tonight.