This was my first week back to school after the break, and we went right back into flipping on Tuesday. I took my two weeks off as a time for some reflection on how things are going in my flipped classroom experience because I don't feel like I ever have the time to just sit and reflect. I warn you in advance - I always promise to be honest in my posts, and unfortunately, this post is brutaly honest.
One the causes for my reflection is looking back at my past 2 test scores. When comparing them to last year's class, they were (for the first time all year) lower. I asked myself, "what happened?" First, I found out that one of the units (decimals) had been skipped the previous year, so the students were farther behind than the previous year's class (excuse #1). Then what happened with the test after that? I thought the kids understood what was being taught. Well, they hadn't done very well getting their homework done on that unit (excuse #2). It was also right before Christmas (excuse #3). Upon looking all this over, I realized how disappointed I was in myself for making excuses. While those were certainly factors contributing to the students difficulty, I should have caught that long before the test.
One thing I love about reflection, is that I always feel like I have a plan on how to improve when I am done. In my classroom, I have been noticing a trend of students doing their "homework" with their friends (which I am okay with when they are actually working collaboratively), but then not truly understanding the material. Therefore, we have now begun a little game in class called "prove it". Prove it is simple, I have questions on the board that come from the most important part of the lesson, and they must prove that they understand the material before they can move on to extensions...if they don't get it right independently, I help them, then they have to try a new problem until they can solve it correctly. This allows me to double check that they really do understand the work before I let them move on. Last week was our first week of trying this, and I feel like it is going well...time will tell :)