Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Flipping again

I've been trying to figure out how to flip my class this year, after a hiatus of a year.  They've had homeworks of viewing podcasts the past few days, but today was the day they got started on the real demonstration of learning!
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The unit I planned is laid out here.  I tried to give students some choices on their activities--some choices are more artistic while others are more straightforward written assignments.  One of the disappointments of my first time flipping a core course was that most of my ongoing class activities were written ones, and I didn't want that to be the case this time.

So today they got to work.  There seemed to be a pretty even split between those who wanted to pursue the more creative approach and those who wanted to go the more straightforward path.  It was interesting; I felt I needed to keep reminding the students to refer to the rubric as they completed their work to determine the expectations.  I've been raised in an environment of rubrics for assessment and expressing clearly through them the expectations, but I've also been reading a lot about the ways in which rubrics force students to focus on the grade rather than on the learning.  What a conundrum.

Interestingly, I just discovered the work of Dr. Lodge McCammom, and viewed his TED Talk yesterday.  His co-presenter mentioned that she would be completely exhausted after a day of traditional direct instruction (and, presumably, that this is not the case when she runs a flipped class).

I was EXHAUSTED by the end of the day.  I was up and all over the (fairly large) computer lab.  I found that I kept going back to the same students in each section; they had lots of questions and weren't making an attempt to figure it out on their own.  Something to work on with them is that this is a safe space in which to make mistakes and that it's important to figure out things on our own or maybe even with a partner.
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With that said, I got to engage in one of the best things about the Flipped Classroom--I got to engage with each student at least once during the period.  I was able to, hopefully, demonstrate that I care about them and want them to do well.  I think they may have just been happy to not have a test this go 'round.

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Thanks for learning along with me!