Monday, February 27, 2012

Action Research Award Winner :)

I was just notified that I am one of the recipients of the MACUL Action Research Award.  I've been asked to give a short (15 minutes) presentation of my findings during our the MACUL conference that is being held on March 9th.

MACUL is "Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning".  I had applied for this award back in January, since I was collecting so much data anyway, I figured, "why not?"  I guess that was a good decision because I won!  Below I have posted my submission, for those of you who are interested.

Action Research Award Proposal 

Briefly describe your research project 
I am flipping my math classroom this academic school year (2011-2012).  In brief, a flipped classroom is when students watch the lecture at home (via their home computer).  During the lecture viewing, the students are required to follow along in their workbooks or journals (depending on what the lesson requires).  When they arrive at class the next day they work on what would have been their homework in the past.  The teacher is then given time to work one-on-one with students that may have struggled during the lecture. 

State the research question(s)
How will flipping my math classroom effect student achievement in mathematics?  What impact will using technology to teach mathematics have on an “at-risk” population?

Explain why this question(s) is important for teaching with technology. 

Technology is at the core of teaching in a flipped classroom.  Some of technology that I utilize in my flipped classroom are:  web 2.0 tools (Edmodo, Schooltube, Googledocs), a doc camera, a DVD burner, flash drives, Khan Academy and lastly, computers!  My questions are both tied to student achievement, utilizing technology, therefore I feel that that are of utmost importance.

In this section, explain how you investigated your question(s). You should describe the data you collected, the method of collection, and how you interpreted the data. 

Thus far, I have gathered data on three mathematics assessments.  I compared last year’s 5th grade class to this year’s 5th grade class.  It is important to see how the two different groups of students compared on something they both had to take, but had nothing to do with my math teaching.  Therefore, I chose to compare their MAP test scores.  The 5th graders last year averaged 202 on the MAP test, the 5th graders this year averaged 206 on the MAP test.  A slight difference, but nothing significant.

Unit 1 - Addition & Subtraction
For the first unit I flipped only 1 of the 2 flipped classes.  I made every effort to teach the “traditional” group to the best of my ability, as to not sway the findings. 

Unit 2 - Area & Perimeter
Unit 2 was the most difficult assessment last year, so I decided to compare last year’s group to this year’s group for unit 2. 

Unit 3 - Decimals
Unit 3 was not something that I had anticipated being difficult for my students, since last year’s group averaged 89%.  What I found was that my students were having a more difficult time understanding the concepts than last year’s class.  I thought it may have had something to do with my students not being as consistent with their homework viewing on this unit as past units.  In fact, I actually split the results based on kids who did their homework 90% of the time, and those who did their homework less than 90% of the time.  The results were overwhelmingly in favor of students who viewed the videos prior to coming to class.  However, upon speaking with the 4th grade teachers in my building, I found out that this group of 5th graders did not have decimals in 4th grade (that unit was skipped due to a new math program being implemented and lack of time to get through all material).  I feel this contributed to their not as strong (but still good) performance.

In this section, explain the results or findings from your research. Discuss the evidence to support your conclusions. Also include how the results will affect your future teaching.

Unit 1 - Addition & Subtraction
Traditional Classroom Unit 1 Average: 82%
Flipped Classroom Unit 1 Average: 90%
Difference: + 8%
However, I also gauged the amount of growth in each class and found the from pre-test to post-test, the flipped classroom averaged 12% more growth than the traditional group.

Unit 2 - Area & Perimeter
This Year’s Flipped Classroom Unit 2 Average: 92%
Last Year’s Traditional Classroom Unit 2 Average: 79%
Difference: + 13%

Unit 3 - Decimals
This Year’s Flipped Classroom Unit 2 Average: 87.5%
Last Year’s Traditional Classroom Unit 2 Average: 95%
Difference: - 7.5%

Conclusions / Evidence from my results
I have had mixed results with implementing the flipped classroom.  What I have found so far is that when students are truly doing what they are supposed to be doing (viewing the videos at night, and coming to class prepared), the success rate is very high.  However, as the newness has worn off and the students aren’t following the model, the scores drop.

I also find that the students who do not come to school prepared are often hindered by not having access to technology at home.  Within the past month I was notified that I received a grant to help fund my flipped classroom.  With the grant I will be able to purchase a DVD burner that will hopefully help me overcome the technology barrier.

Due to our computer labs being used for MAP testing, I have had a few weeks where I have had to revert to the traditional model.  I found that the number of students who don’t do their homework with the traditional model goes up considerably over the number who don’t do their homework in the flipped model.

How will this change my teaching

When I began flipping my classroom I decided to start blogging.  In the past I had very little experience blogging, but I figured that others might benefit from my experiences (successes and failures).  I have recently hit the 3,500 mark on my blog (  Just knowing that I will be blogging weekly is keeping me focused on the data, as it is a huge part of my reflection.

I have also become a member of several networks, that are now part of my P.L.N.  Through those networks I have interacted with many teachers, and we are learning from each other.  I feel that me utilizing this flipped classroom has got the ball rolling with many connections all over the country.

In addition, I have been learning with each and every assessment my students take.  I am constantly looking at the numbers and reflecting on what went wrong and what went right.  Already I have implemented several changes that seem to be helping.  For example, upon finding the students were being a little untrustworthy when completing the in class “homework”, I began a little game called “prove it”.  Before the students can move on to extension projects they must prove they understand the big idea of the front of me...with no help.  I has really opened my eyes to who is truly understanding, and who is struggling.


  1. Congrats, Mrs. Bush! Well deserved, well written, and well documented!

  2. This is very interesting!!!

  3. Have you published your findings yet? If not, can we get some information about your results?

    Leigh Zeitz
    University of Northern Iowa

  4. I published my findings, so far, on a previous post. You can find it at:

    I also have presentation of my award/results at:

    I hope that helps!

  5. Congratulations! Well done. Would you mind looking at my site regarding Science and Math Teachers.Thank you. Jeannie