Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Couple of Observations

This week has been one of the first back since we finished up our MAP testing & I've reclaimed our computer lab.  I've found a couple of trends.

Trend #1:
There are still many students not watching the videos before class, which is incredibly frustrating to me.  Especially when they have the opportunity to watch them in the lab at before school, at lunch, during recess, etc.  I began flipping my classroom because I felt that many of my students would "tune out" when I was doing a more lecture style lesson (even when I use whiteboards, hands on tools, etc.)  I wanted something that would allow me to help them more individually.  What I am finding is that many of the students who tuned me out are the ones who are also not viewing the videos, and are therefore spending the bulk of class watching the lesson, and not getting the one-on-one help they need....sort of defeats the purpose, huh.

Trend #2:
That being said, I have found that several of the students who were not doing their homework for our two week trip back to the traditional method are doing the videos.  I would say that on average I have 5-10 students who consistently don't watch the videos.  When I look at their scores on their tests they correlate to very poor performances (not surprising at all).  So what's the deal?  Are they not watching the videos because they are uncomfortable with the math & don't think they'll be successful?  Or are they not doing well in math because they aren't watching the videos?  It's the age old question: What came first, the chicken or the egg?  I wish there was a way to get them to really put in 100% for a unit and see what happens.  Our next unit is going to be relatively short, so perhaps some bribery is in order.  It goes against all that I believe in as a teacher to bribe students to do what they should be doing anyway, but if I can just get them to give it a real shot, I think they might surprise themselves.

A Couple of Positives
I hate to have a post with a bunch of negatives, as I'm typically an overly optimistic person, so I have to add a few cool stories that happened recently.  I was talking with a student of mine (one who typically won't do traditional homework and who struggles in math) about why she didn't do her traditional homework, but she almost always does the video homework.  She told me that her mom watches all the videos with her and is using those videos to help her learn English (and a little bit of math too).  A totally unintended consequence, but very cool none-the-less.

On another positive note having nothing to do with flipping my classroom, but a lot to do with technology integration which I view as incredibly important, I recently found out that I have been approved to take four of my students to the MACUL (Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning) conference.  There is a student showcase that happens every year during the conference where students get to show off how they use technology in the classroom.  My students are going to be showing how they have been creating Weebly Websites as an e-portfolio.  I told my students this week about the conference.  I let them know about how I chose the four based on everything they had put into their webpages so far.  This announcement happened to coincide with the day of our school carnival, where I got to sell tickets all evening, and I had two of the students approach me with their parents so that I could tell them about it.  One word to sum up their expressions...pride.

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