Monday, 22 April 2013

Week 1 Reflections

I officially flipped my maths classes this week, and so far I am extremely happy with the results. I know it is VERY early days, but it's been a great start.

I teach 2 year 9 classes, one is all girls and the other is co-ed. The dynamics in each class are very different. The co-ed class is pretty quiet overall (I think part of it is this is the first year they aren't in single sex classes, so they are taking some time to get used to each other). They are well-behaved but sometimes the problem is they don't ask many questions during the lesson and some of them would prefer to sit there doing nothing than ask the teacher for help so they can get on with their work. The girls class is exactly the opposite, they are very boisterous and chatty and ask so many questions that it can take a long time to get through the "teaching" part of the lesson. They are also pretty teacher dependent and lack resilience for the most part.

All maths classes in year 9 are taught in mixed ability so there is a wide range of abilities in the classroom,  and I would say that at the beginning of the year the majority would have said they don't really enjoy mathematics (however this is just based on my feeling when I started, not any hard evidence! There are of course students who love maths and work hard every single lesson as well).  Anyway, my point is that for the first few weeks of the school year I was not feeling great about how much learning was actually going on in my lessons, hence the desire to try something different.

So this is what happened this week. Our first lesson together I went through the WSQ process in depth with students. We had already practiced watching videos, taking notes and writing summaries so the only new part was the "question" part. That night the students went home to watch the video. I knew not all would watch but was unsure about what the completion rate would be. 

In the co-ed class half of the students watched and half didn't. I was ok with that as I knew there would be hiccups to begin with. I had the students who hadn't watched the videos sit in the back of the class to watch them, and had the rest of the class sit in groups at the front to discuss their summaries and questions, and they then worked through the practice questions. Most students were able to complete all the questions I had assigned in class, which the students who watched the videos saw and this had an effect on how many watched the video in advance the next day. I signed the WSQ sheets in pink if they completed their work on time, and yellow if it was done late or in class. The next lesson only 4 students didn't watch the video and again they worked well all lesson, and I was pretty happy with their progress and the amount of time I was able to spend with students who needed help. So that was all good.

The real success was the girls class. This class overall was much more apprehensive about flipped learning. Many of them were a bit panicky about it, telling me they were not able to "teach themselves". I reassured them they were not expected to master the material in the videos and that I would reteach it if necessary in class. The first lesson all but 3 had watched the videos. They had fantastic summaries and questions and worked so hard throughout the lesson. They were really excited about coming to lesson with their notes and just getting onto the work when they were ready. I was able to explain some things in depth to students who were interested that I probably wouldn't have done with a whole class (like graphs of trig functions, when we are just doing basic right-angled triangle trigonometric ratios). And, most importantly, they asked me LESS questions while doing the work than they would have normally. They worked together in their small groups so much better than when I taught the lesson from the front of the class. I was SO impressed with how independently they worked already after 2 lessons. It was incredible! They left the class happy and thanking me, and I just felt like they had a sense of success they hadn't had previously in maths. And, in the second lesson EVERY student came in having completed their WSQ.

Some example WSQs

We also had a parent/teacher meetings on Thursday night and every parent I talked to about flipped learning was really positive about it. Lots of "I wish this is how we had been taught maths when I was at school". And the other Year 9 teachers have been very positive about how their classes are going as well.

I couldn't have been happier with how the flipped learning introduction went this week. It was the type of week you dream of having as a teacher. And also, as a result I was much less tired then I normally am on Friday afternoon. And now it's Sunday and I can't wait for the week to start again (Ok, seriously, if I could sleep in tomorrow instead of going to work I would, let's be serious... but there is no "Sunday night blues" feeling!)

Next week my year 7 and 8 classes will start flipping and I am looking forward to how things go with the younger students, especially my Year 8s who are a very challenging all boys class.

No comments:

Post a Comment