I’ve been fascinated in the idea of a flipped classroom. The children I work with are grappling with much more than just how to do math problems. As a result, instructional time can be eaten up with the needs of the class. My schedule this year has allowed me to try out the flipped classroom in a controlled setting. Math is scheduled Monday through Friday, but I am not in on Fridays. There is coverage for my group, but they have been spending the time playing various math games. Over my December break, I had time to think about what the group should be doing to help them with the projects we work on when I am at school. I signed them each up for an xtramath account to strengthen their facts, and I started giving them specific math videos to watch on Khan Academy. I formatted the group, so they can practice their quick facts on xtramath. When they feel ready to move into content, they go to Khan Academy to watch videos and complete activities. I took the time this week to teach them the navigation skills needed for working independently on Fridays without me. There are a lot of skills they need on the computer before just handing the assignment to them, and the lessons gave them time to learn the routine. By yesterday, they were confident. What amazed me was that the same content I’ve been teaching was all of the sudden much cooler when in a tutorial video online– I think kids get sick of hearing my voice. The kids loved the control and the fact that it was on a computer. I can pick different videos for different children to help with the specific skills they need to hone. Fridays will now be much more productive, and I’m also collecting data! It’s so convenient, and the motivation and engagement has increased significantly.
The beginning of the year is filled with ideas, aspirations, excitement, and dreams, yet slipping in the vortex of roadblocks, late-nights, and paperwork has already begun.
It’s been a tumultuous fall, both personally and professionally. This year, my position as Technology Coordinator has changed my responsibilities at work, but it hasn’t changed my understanding of the operation. The experience so far has been overwhelming, frustrating, and rewarding. I wear so many hats- teacher, mentor, editor, techie, problem-solver, and the list goes on. I love all the hats, but I’m still working through how to manage all of them without being stretched too far. Having Fridays to decompress has certainly been helpful. I’ve resolved to write more, which I also look forward to.
My incredible co-teacher from last year is a colleague and helps me out in so many ways– both emotionally and professionally. She’s my springboard for ideas and our understanding of each other and the children we work with makes it so easy to try new and adventurous lessons.
I’m in the process of reviewing a lot of Digital Citizenship materials and finding the best way to go about introducing this new curriculum to our population. For those of you who have started this curriculum, have you done all grades at once (K-5)? Or has the process been a few classes a year and build on from there?