Post-Flipping the Classroom

I wrote about my plan to try flipping a lesson here and am finally getting around to recapping the experience. Overall, it was very positive and I’m definitely interested in flipping an entire algebra unit later this school year. I teach two honors algebra 1 sections, but only flipped my lesson on “Finding X- and Y-intercepts” with one of them.

Class Section #1: Students were assigned to watch a 6 minute video I created and posted on youtube. I put the link on my class website and also emailed it to my students. I gave them a notes page to fill in as they watched. The video had 3 examples, and after the second one, I instructed students to stop the video and try the third example on their own, and then watch me solve it after they tried to. However, I forgot to ask if anyone actually did pause and restart the video. Oops. I took Algebrainiac’s advice and gave students an entrance slip to complete as soon as they walked in. It had one problem to solve and asked students to be honest and tell me whether they had actually watched the video or not. I immediately sorted the entrance slips into Correct/Incorrect piles and chose an incorrect one to project and go over on the board.

  • Entrance Slip Results: 17/21 students watched (2 forgot, 1 was sick, 1 had a broken laptop). 12/21 nailed the entrance slip. 6 passed it in blank (the four who didn’t watch and two who didn’t get it). 3 made minor calculation/sign errors which made the graph wrong.

Continuation of Lesson: Our periods are 48 minutes in length. After students got settled, completed the entrance slip, and reviewed the entrance slip, about 8-10 minutes had passed. Since the majority of students did well on the entrance slip, I decided to continue with my plan to have students extend the concept to some word problems. We did the first one together (in hopes that some of the students who did not succeed on the entrance slip would start to pick up the concept) and then students worked in groups to complete the other three problems. I made the rounds and targeted the students who did not get the entrance slip right. After about 25 minutes we discussed the problems as a whole class and I gave students an exit slip with two problems on it.

  • Exit Slip Results: 15/21 nailed it. The other 6 all made minor calculation/sign errors, but understood the concept.

Class Section #2: Students did not have any homework the night before. We started class with me giving the same notes (in person) that the other class had watched online. However, the notes page had a few more examples on it. We did three together, then the students tried a few on their own, and I had student volunteers solve some on the board. After that, students got into groups and worked on some practice problems. At the end of class, I gave students the same exit slip as my other class.

  • Exit Slip Results: 11/16 nailed it. The other 5 all made minor calculation/sign errors, but understood the concept.

Reflection:  The exit slip results were pretty close in both classes, but I love how with my first class I knew immediately that 12 students completely understood how to do it before class even began and we could use class time to do an activity that I didn’t have time for in my second class. I think I would see better results if the flipping was more consistent, hence my desire to try if for an entire unit. The students seemed to really like it, they said it was really cool and low pressure watching me and taking notes at home. One of my ELL students watched it after school in my classroom when she stayed for extra help on another topic, and I observed her stopping, rewinding, and rewatching. She found it very useful to listen to me repeat things and then have time to look up words in her dictionary.

The only major frustration I have doesn’t even have to do with flipping. I should have been psyched that students in both classes were able to complete the process of calculating an intercept and graphing it after one lesson, but I don’t know what to do about the fact that negative signs and simple arithmetic cause my students to get problems wrong so often. How do standards based graders deal with this? Do you give full credit because the concept is right? And ignore the fact that the student divided 6 by 3 and got 3?

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Pre-Flipping the Classroom

 

My school has started to hold “Flipping the Classroom” discussions after school to promote awareness about flipping and encourage us to try flipping with a supportive environment. I must say I am intrigued with the idea. I don’t think completely flipping my classroom would ever work for me because I try to expose students to many concepts through hands-on, investigative group activities… so my students are not just taking notes on a daily basis anyways. However, I do believe that it could work great for certain topics. Technology shouldn’t be too big of an issue since all of my STEM students have laptops and Internet access at home.

 

My current plan is to flip one lesson in one of my two algebra 1 classes. I am going to make a video on how to calculate x- and y- intercepts given an equation in standard form. I will give students an accompanying notes page to complete while they watch the video (this will hopefully keep them focused and allow me to see who watched it). I’m going to assign this the first week in December and give students two nights to watch and record notes. Then, in class, we’ll do one more example together and I’ll have some group activity for students to complete. At the end of class, I’ll give students an exit slip to assess their ability to calculate the intercepts.

 

Why am I only doing this with one of my classes? For comparison. If flipping didn’t exist, I would introduce the topic at the beginning of our 48-minute class, give notes, do examples, let students practice, and then assign the exit slip. So I’m still going to do this with my second class, and then compare the results of the exit slips. I can’t wait to see how the classes compare.

 

Since I’m a newbie at this I would definitely appreciate any advice other flippers have!