Sunday, September 25, 2011

The First Week - Struggle and Success

Today marks the one week anniversary of the start of my flipped classroom.  As mentioned in last week's post, I spent Friday's lesson showing a sample video lecture and modeling how to write and respond in our journals.  I then sent the kids home for the weekend, crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best.

I (being a glass-half-full kind of girl) came to school Monday hoping for my students to be super excited about how much they love the new way we are doing math.  Did I get some of that?  Yes!  However, I also (being a realistic girl) expected to run in to some issues with students who couldn't access the video because they didn't have access to the Internet.  Did I get some of that, too?  You betcha. 

My First Week Struggles
I found that almost 10 of my 30 students were unable to view the video (mostly because they couldn't get on the Internet.  I needed to do some quick problem solving & I decided to show the video on our projector screen for those who couldn't view it at home.  This worked okay but I don't want it to be a long term solution for a variety of reasons.  For starters, it limits the amount of time the students have to practice their skills with me around to help them.  In addition, part of the power of watching the videos at home is that the students can rewind and pause if necessary.  That isn't as likely to happen if a group of students are watching at the same time (it is also a lot easier to get distracted when there is a group viewing the video).

In addition to not having computer access at home, we were also limited as to how much computer lab time we could use this week.  Throughout last week and the upcoming week, our school is giving the MAP test, which is a computerized adaptive test.  I mention this only because it explains why I couldn't take my students down to the computer lab.  After next week, I will be teaching my math class from the computer lab.  I am hopeful that will help ease some of the technology issues as well.

My First Week Successes
Even though I became easily frustrated with the computer issues, my students were relatively unphased.  Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I had the computer lab at the end of the day, and luckily there were no MAP tests being given at that time.  Therefore, I was able to get all students an opportunity to view the videos and then work on their "homework" the next day in class.  While the technology is one of the many things that can help or hinder the success of a flipped classroom, that is not what made the biggest impression on me this week.  This week my successes were all about the feedback I was getting from students.  I took some time to write a few of those quotes and experiences down so I could be sure to share them:

"Mrs. Bush, this is awesome!  I would have totally been stuck at home, but you could help me right away and now I get it!"

"I really like this Mrs. Bush, now I don't have to worry about waiting for my parents to be home to help me."

"You know what, I totally didn't get it the first time you showed me, but I rewound it, watched again, and I think I get it now!"

Even with all those wonderful things being said, I think my biggest highlight of the week came on Thursday when the students were working in class on their homework.  I was working one-on-one with a student who was confused and I happened to look up and see a group of kids working in my side room.  I wasn't sure exactly what they were doing, so I walked quietly over and eavesdropped.  What I heard made all the issues worth it.  Two girls were working a few problems on the board & explaining how to solve them to another student (these were problems beyond the regular homework).  They were teaching him, and he was actually getting it!  It makes me feel all warm & fuzzy just thinking about it ;-)

This week the students will be taking their test on our first unit...I will hopefully have some data when I post next week.


  1. I am exploring flipping my classroom and really enjoy your blog. You are echoing all of the same challenges and successes that I have had as well. Can you go into any detail about how you require that students to take notes while watching the videos? Thanks.

    1. I'm so glad you enjoy reading my blog. That is the whole reason I started blogging when I started the whole flipping process.

      When my students watch the videos they always have something that they have to do with it. It always starts with a learning goal because I think it is important that the students know what they need to get out of the lesson. Then they are either jotting down notes as I go, or solving a few problems with me, then trying it out on their own. The journal they write is what I collect & use for their "homework" grade. I hope this helps :)