Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Flipping My Classroom

It has been a very long time since my last update. I am currently 8 months pregnant and frantically getting ready for my long term sub.

I did, however, want to post a little update on something that I have been doing in my classroom this year: flipping.  For the uninformed, flipping is the process of making the lecture/learning portion of the class period homework and then making the practice (used to be homework) portion in the classroom.

So far, it is going very well. I am currently flipping the grammar portion of my language arts block. I have found that it is giving me more time to help students understand the material.  Here is a little run-down of how it works in my classroom:

Twice Weekly Video Assignments
- I assign two videos a week. I currently assign videos on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- Assignment videos are posted to YouTube and our school homework pages.  I tell the kids on Monday the videos for the week if they want to work ahead.  Many do!

Question and Answer Sessions
- I assign a Your Turn assignment that is much like an exit slip.  Students that watch the video know what the assignment is and show it to me in their notebook the next day.
- I ask if anyone needs clarification on the previous evening's assignment before moving to the in class work.
- Students that did not complete the assignment or forgot their Your Turn assignment are required to watch the lesson during the question and answer session.  I also reduce the points given.
- I circulate around the room and answer questions during the in class assignment time.

Pros
- I have found that I have more time to answer student questions.
- Students are able to stop and rewind the videos as many times as they want.  Pause even helps!
- Parent feedback has been great.  I have only heard one complaint and that was through another teacher.
- Students seem to enjoy the method, and they know how to access the videos on their own.
- Student scores are the same or better than previous years.

Cons
- I have about 5% of students that routinely do not complete the assignments. Their grades definitely reflect this.  I am brainstorming ideas on how to get them to work on it at home.

Method of delivery:
I use the ScreenCastify.com screen recording service. I then share the videos to YouTube and download the video to my PC to upload to our homework site.  I have half go to YouTube and the other half accesses the videos from the homework site.

Video slides are created with Google Slides. I use Google Slides, because I can access between home computers, as well as, my school computer.  Execution is easy as long as I don't get interrupted by my two year old or the occasional visitor.  I was a perfectionist at first, but I think that students should see that I am human and make mistakes just as much as the next person.  I leave my flubbering and fix my typos right during the presentation. I point out my mistakes or ask the kids if they can figure them out.  I will go back and fix those mistakes next year.

Overall, I have been pleasantly surprised with the results.  Sometimes, I find it hard to keep up with the videos, but it's really the slide creation that takes the most time.

Do you flip your class in any way?  How is it working for you?

Colleen

Monday, April 6, 2015

 As part of our 4th grade unit on the revolutionaries of the past, we look specifically at poems and non-fiction texts that address the key people of the American Revolution.

We read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Ralph Waldo Emerson's poems about the Battle of Lexington and Concord.  We compare and contrast the form and content of both poems in venn diagram or In Regards To graphic organizers.  For example, students compare length and time period written.

We also read these texts in small groups:  (Click on individual pictures to find the books on Amazon (Affiliate linked).)











Students choose which texts appeals to them and they read them aloud together. The groups get to decide which way they read---either choral or taking turns. 

As they read, they take notes on the important people in their books.  In Heroes of the Revolution, there are multiple people, and I have them write notes on each.  

After they complete their reading, I have them synthesize their notes into a poster.  They choose facts to share about their character and draw a representation of the character.  Here are just a few examples of the work I get.  



I have students create the posters on easel paper. I keep a stash in my room at all times for days just like this one.  I just cut off how much I need and go about my day.  That way if students make mistakes, I have the paper right on hand, and I don't have to run to the workroom for more.  (Affliate link).


The students really like learning about the American Revolution and the stories behind the people.

Colleen

Revolutionaries From the Past

 As part of our 4th grade unit on the revolutionaries of the past, we look specifically at poems and non-fiction texts that address the key people of the American Revolution.

We read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Ralph Waldo Emerson's poems about the Battle of Lexington and Concord.  We compare and contrast the form and content of both poems in venn diagram or In Regards To graphic organizers.  For example, students compare length and time period written.

We also read these texts in small groups:




 





Students choose which texts appeals to them and they read them aloud together. The groups get to decide which way they read---either choral or taking turns. 
As they read, they take notes on the important people in their books.  In Heroes of the Revolution, there are multiple people, and I have them write notes on each.  
After they complete their reading, I have them synthesize their notes into a poster.  They choose facts to share about their character and draw a representation of the character.  Here are just a few examples of the work I get.  



I have students create the posters on easel paper. I keep a stash in my room at all times for days just like this one.  I just cut off how much I need and go about my day.  That way if students make mistakes, I have the paper right on hand, and I don't have to run to the workroom for more.  (Affliate link).



The students really like learning about the American Revolution and the stories behind the people.

Colleen

Friday, April 3, 2015

PEEP in for a Sale


Hop on over for 20%  your savings at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.  All of my store will be 20% off on April 5th only!  

Is it time to open your own TeachersPayTeachers.com Store?  Use this link to get started. 

Hoppy Easter! 

Colleen



Thursday, March 26, 2015

Joy in a Jar

On my desk, a small glass jar sits.  Each day, my students fill it up with notes to me from students and with what we call virtue tickets (or good news prize tickets).  Notes range from nice to know things like “I like your dress and please copy my essay for me” to need to know like “Suzy hit me or Johnny is being bullied”.  

Students mostly feel comfortable enough with me to write their names on their notes and if they don’t in case someone else sees it, we have code words that are picked at a different time.  The little notes are our little secret unless of course it’s something that needs to be addressed.  It’s nice in the hussle and bussle of our day to have a place students feel comfortable expressing themselves.  It feels good to be heard even if it’s by a paper ear.  
To my surprise one day recently, a student left me a larger than normal note .  Most are scrawled on paper scraps or sticky notes.  This particular note was handwritten in Sharpie on a piece of full sized notebook paper and was addressed with “Please Read” and even requested “Please Retern”.  This in itself intrigued me.

I opened the carefully folded paper and found it was a story written by the student.  I read the title which suggested a scary story was about to be told.  I read the story word for word.  

I was so impressed with this student’s willingness to share this with me.  I was even more impressed with how it ended.  I would not be able to come up with a more suspense-filled ending to a scary story.  I am hoping this young author continues the story. Or at least leaves me more! For this language arts teacher, it was like finding a little love note.
Do you have a system for your students to tell you things? What are some ways your students leave you little "love notes"? Leave me a comment with your answers.

-C

Monday, March 16, 2015

Which, That and Who versus Whom

Relative pronouns and adverbs may come easy to some people; however, they often allude many. Take for instance who versus whom.  It is one of them most misused elements of grammar, yet there is an easy way to remember it.

I teach my students who versus whom by giving them the hint that who replaces he/she and whom replaces him/her.  I point out that him ends in m and thus needs whom.  I tell them to replace him with her if it's a female and then revert back to him. 

It's little tricks like that that make studying these nuisances of the English language more bearable for the faint of heart (or patience).  

In discussing relative pronouns, we look at the difference between which and that.  That is used when the information is necessary to the meaning of the independent clause.  The pronoun which is used when the information is not necessary.  This dependent clause is offset by a comma in front of which.  
A little trick I use to help my students remember if it's which or that is if it's need to know info or not.  I liken it to reporting versus tattling.  You need your teacher to know THAT something is not safe.  I explain the information in the dependent clause with the pronoun which is often something nice for the reader to know instead of what they must know right now (just like in tattling).  I also reference the comma that when tattling the teacher doesn't always need to know so you could sometimes wait to tell him/her.  A comma is a pause so I let them know that a comma is like the waiting time to tell the teacher.  Silly and sounds complicated, but they really seemed to get it.  

I have placed my Clauses, Relative Pronouns, and Relative Adverbs on TeachersPayTeachers.  It includes definitions, hints, and examples.  I use these notes in my students grammar interactive notebooks.  They just cut around the border and glue right in. The corresponding slide presentation can be seen here:  Relative Pronoun and Adverb Slide Prentation.

 TeachersPayTeachers Link