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Prioritizing…planning…getting more excited #flippedclass #flippedlearning

So I have been learning so much through my participation in the #SummerLS challenges. I’ve researched standards based learning, flipped classrooms, the Teach Like a Pirate philosophies, and dabbled in other ways to integrate tech into my classroom. The more I read, the more I see how all of these endeavors can really compliment each other. Additionally, I’ve read that especially when it comes to flipped learning and standards based learning that you can feel like a first year teacher again with an overwhelming amount of work and possible burnout. I want to avoid burnout because my enthusiasm is amazing right now and I don’t want that to end. So after a great deal of thought, I am planning to do the following to try to address all of these new ideas but prioritize them in order to actually be able to do them justice:

1.) I am going to revamp the first several days of school to include a hands on getting to know you activity (like the playdoh…maybe the playdoh…maybe something else…but they will get their hands into something and I will get to know my students better). I am in full belief that the days that I “lose” through this activity will be MORE than recovered later in the semester.

2.) I want to really give flipped learning a go. I’m still on the fence on whether I want to do it with my AP Stats students (I haven’t taught AP in several years and this is a newer version of my old book) OR if I want to do it with my Algebra I students. I am leaning towards the Algebra I because I believe that if I can make this work with freshmen students I can do it with ANYONE. Also, they are freshmen so they don’t know any better šŸ™‚ just kidding. The other thing is that if other teachers want to try this I don’t want them to say things like “well of course you are having success, you did this with AP seniors…there is no way I can do this with my ________ (fill in the blank) students”

3.) I am very excited to create “learning experiences” in my class and begin to ask myself the right questions (inspired through reading Teach Like a Pirate) in order to spur that creativity. In a podcast I listened to today, someone referenced the book and had a Pirate Day where students got to CHOOSE what classes they attended for an entire day. I was reminded of the idea from the book about if students did not have to come to your class, would they come anyway?

4.) I want to build up my teaching community. It is going to be a personal mission to learn about the other adults in my school. I’ll start with everyone’s name. The problem will be when I have to find out someone’s name that has been working in my building and is not new to the building…but I’ll figure out some way to artfully manage that social situation.

5.) I do not want to abandon all of my learning about Standards Based Learning. However, I think that I need to further build my support community (both virtually through Twitter and within my school district) in order to be able to do it well. With the flipped classroom it makes sense to grade/teach SBL and it just makes sense… period. But, without the community support of at least one other teacher in my school I am not sure about how I would feel taking that on. So instead, I think I will spend at least first semester (if not the whole year) starting the conversation with my colleagues about their grading practices and hopefully through thoughtful questioning, we can together decide what would be best for students.

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