Posted in Education, Flipped Classroom

My First #FlipClass Experience – I’ll Do It Again :) #MTBoS

Last summer I had plenty of teaching “epiphanies”. ¬†Maybe because my son was 2 years old and I felt like a real adult again after having no sleep for two years ūüôā or maybe because after teaching for 14 years I wanted new tricks for my bag of tricks. ¬†Regardless, I had plans of “Teaching Like a Pirate” and flipping my instruction and using Standards Based Grading. ¬†I read books and blog posts and participated in online Twitter discussions. ¬†I was fired up. ¬†Then, I got discouraged along the way. ¬†Technology and curricular issues were obstacles and as the lone wolf trying these ideas I shied away ¬†from my lofty summer goals. ¬†Recently, through conversations online with my PLN and with my in person colleagues I realized that these goals were still viable and I needed to start to take action.

I  recorded my first video (for student viewing РI have made practice videos in the past and never published them for students).

I learned that my phone is effective in recording my voice at an appropriate level, but in the future I need to:

1.) use landscape mode

2.) zoom in more

3.) upload with a higher resolution

I’ve tried using screencasting software but need to work on better means of writing on the screen since using the ipad was challenging for me.

I was surprised that my lowest performing class actually did VERY WELL with using the video.  They asked to rewind, they asked content related questions, and were more on task compared to my other class.  They were so great with the activity that I was encouraged to try to do this type of lesson again next week.  Additionally, I truly see the need to improve the activity for AFTER viewing the video from just doing a typical assignment to something more engaging.

Overall, I feel successful with the activity and am proud of my accomplishment of this goal.

Posted in Professional Development, Uncategorized

My EdCampChicago Experience Today

Before the sessions began I got to meet some awesome teachers from the elementary school level.  We talked math Рhow exciting.  I always get jazzed when I meet elementary teachers who are into teaching math since many lean more towards literacy.  It was interesting because they struggle with students understanding that squares are rectangles just as much as I  do at the high school level.  It also makes me think about my own almost three year old who is learning shapes and knows what a square and a rectangle are and will be expected to know that sometimes they are the same about 7 years from now.  It was a great way to start the day.

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 7.15.27 PM

Formative Assessment Potluck

I get the opportunity to discuss formative assessment as related to math often in the PD that I participate in. ¬†However, this discussion included a variety of grade levels and subject matter. ¬†I loved that the discussion began talking about Dylan Wiliam’s book, Embedded Formative Assessment. ¬†At the South Cook Math Initiative we have done a ton of work with this book so it was awesome to see the work cited at another venue.

Some of the ideas from this session that I liked included:

– sharing a Google document with students during class and everyone is editing

– hold up a Plicker as an exit slip

– use a plicker for attendance as students enter – put the plicker on the back of their ID….just random thoughts

Рhave students come up with their own questions for my Kahoot

My Favorite Four Letter Word: Math

I actually proposed a session for the first time Рand this was it!  I was so nervous that I would be the only nerdy math kid to show up and to my surprise, I was not :).

One teacher talked about how they were teaching time at the grade school level.  Students went home and took pictures of time pieces along with the time they went to bed and then the students came in the next day and sorted themselves.

Standards Based Learning and Grading 

I began this school year with two goals, standards based grading/learning in my classroom and flipping my classroom.   Although I made strides toward both of these goals, I did not achieve them by any means.  This made me sad.  However, I do two things: this is definitely an area that I can improve and that this is a process.  This discussion was invigorating and reminded me why I wanted these goals in the first place.  Even though I know the goals are lofty, I have new plans to work toward them in this last month of school and work during the summer to make them a reality for next school year.  I love the idea of students having a better understanding of what they know and can do with the content and putting the emphasis on learning content as opposed to earning grades.

A quote that will stick with me came from¬†Garnet Hilman¬†who when she talks to math teachers she says, “if you put a number on the top of the paper, your students are focusing on the wrong numbers on the page”

Flipping Your Classroom

I was debating on whether or not to attend this session and am glad that I did. ¬†On the docket for my Algebra I class next week includes a flipped lesson. ¬†I’m pretty proud that I made my own video for it and I am primed and ready to go. ¬†I just need to get in there and get my feet wet because I know that this model will work great for some lessons. ¬†Additionally, I hate copied homework or blank homework.

An idea from someone who has already flipped their instruction was to “flip your parent night”. ¬†He sends home an “assignment” for his parents to watch a humorous video on how flipped instruction works and parents come to his parent night session and he starts with a Q&A session. ¬†Since the parents have already been “prepped” by watching the video, they already have a taste of what their students can expect.

I loved the experience (I always do). ¬†I would like to get more involved. ¬†I think that I will start with working on getting one of our district professional development days to follow more of an EdCamp model. ¬†I’m always inspired after EdCamp and I wish I could say the same about our internal PD.

Posted in Math, MTBoS

AUCTION in my math class – AWESOME! Do I hear an opening bid?

Today I ran an “auction” in my class. ¬†Students received a sheet of problems to bid on, $1000 of play money for each group, and an auction paddle. ¬†They were given 10 minutes to strategize and determine which problems they planned to “bid” on. ¬†The group that was able to “win” the most correct answers, wins the game. ¬†If a group purchases an incorrect answer (like #3) not only do they lose the money and not earn a point but they also owe the auctioneer an additional $200.


I was quickly able to see which groups struggled by observing what they bid on.  Also, based on how high the bid was, I could see the confidence of groups when it came to different problems.

I cannot remember who I got the idea from (if it is you, let me know and I will give you proper credit).  I LOVED the activity and am getting excited for the possibility of teaching Math Foundations next year and making it highly game based.

Posted in Uncategorized

Goals, drawbacks, still learning…

I realized last night that I haven’t been the social media person I was first semester. ¬†I haven’t blogged, been on Twitter, or anything outside of Facebook in a while. ¬†I also have noticed that my classroom has suffered because of it. ¬†I have gotten so wrapped up in the goings on at school that I forgot to focus on myself and my students. ¬†This realization came when I was thinking about going to EdCamp this weekend and how I haven’t accomplished much technology wise in my classroom. ¬†Some of this is due to my classroom set of laptops not working any more. ¬†They are only equipped with Internet Explorer and the tech department refuses to update them to a current version of Firefox or the like. ¬†You don’t realize how much you rely on technology in your classroom until it is no longer at your fingertips. ¬†That has led me to try to go to the library and use their computers but I am often blocked by English teachers (who mind you have their own Chromebook carts that they are not allowed to share, YET they go to the library so that students can print their work….maybe I should provide professional development to them on other means of turning items in as opposed to printing everything). ¬†But this just sounds like a laundry list of excuses and instead I need to take the bull by the horns and just do what I need to do! ¬†So, new goals for next week:

1.) ¬†prepare a flipped lesson! ¬†I had the goal of flipping one of my classes this year and have failed MISERABLY at that – so let’s take off a smaller chunk and just flip ONE lesson next week. ¬†I think I will make it the lesson on solving radical equations

2.) get to the lab for an activity!  I think that we will do this for the lesson on graphing radical functions

3.) Stay positive and set new goals for next year ūüôā

4.) Keep working on my social media presence a little at a time