Monday, May 21, 2012

How I began my flipped class

After many questions and much prompting (and frankly some jealousy over some other teachers' videos), I have made a video about my how I came to the flipped classroom. It is nothing super fancy, but hopefully it answers many of the questions about how a foreign language teacher decided to start flipping.

My flipped class story

Here is the AP thematic document I refer to for those who have not seen it. This is from the AP College Board course framework for the Spanish Language exam.

5 W's of flipping video

I am working diligently with my wonderful friend and colleague, Randa Kelton, to finalize our professional development session for Thursday. I don't want to give away too much, but I thought I would share this video given I have given (with an appropriate intro and conclusion) as "homework" prior to my flipped class presentations to cover the basics.

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I am also working on the presentation for the Flipped Class Conference in Chicago in June. (Sold out, but streaming is still available!)

Student Culture Presentations

The culture projects were an interesting experience.  Students could choose their own topics, and I had a wide range - everything from Dali to the Spanish Space Program to local cuisine and fashion.  I had the opportunity to learn many cool things from my students, which was a pleasant change! I had many students that were very excited about their presentations and worked hard for hours and hours on getting them just right. Unfortunately, I had some (not too many) on the other end of the spectrum that didn't follow the assignment directions and/or murdered the language that I love because although their project was well researched, they didn't practice it. I also had too many students that just READ which makes me crazy.

So, I have decided not to do this as a final project for next year. I am going to do it again, just not for the exam. I have also decided that one of my main focuses for next year is going to be teaching my students HOW to present. (I have ideas cooking on that...more to come later in the summer.)

However, since I have never really shared student work before, I wanted to share some of my favorites. Although the language may not be perfect, there is huge growth and effort in each of these presentations.

Animals of the Amazon - This was done by a student that went from "I can't say anything in Spanish" to a peer tutor! She was so excited about her research that she asked if she could add the English subtitles.

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Guitar Music of Spain - This video is great (if you discount the Lady Gaga wig). After the video, he did a presentation about the origin and music of Flamenco. I wish it was on the video as well!

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Honduras Tourism Video - One of my "super smarties" that really struggled with the move to the flipped classroom. It was hard for her to go from being good at "the game of school" to actually being good in the class of Spanish.

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Mexican Fashion - I had a couple of fashion presentations, all of which were really good. I had quite a few projects using this online book tool.

Just to reiterate how much I love the flipped class.....the kids got to allocate their time in class, so many had quite a bit of class time to work on their presentations and ask me questions about the programs and content. Without the flip, this probably would have had to be a total "at home" project.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spanish Resources for the flip and beyond!

In an effort to help the other Spanish teachers out there looking for more information about the flipped class, I have put together some resources for the flip and online news, listening, and other goodies. The flipped information is for all languages, but most of the resources are for Spanish. Please share more if you have some great ones!

Thanks to my new virtual friend Emilia Carrillo for the idea of putting stuff together! We are working on more specifically geared towards foreign language flippers, so stay tuned!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Teaching Listening Follow Up

So in my earlier post Is it possible to teach listening? I talked about some problems I was having with my students listening, and more importantly my teaching of listening.

So, I went back to the two listenings and gave the students the scripts from the listenings to follow along with while we listened. As we did each one, when we got to the questions, I encouraged the students to feel free to change their answer if they felt it was now incorrect. The first listening was very short, about a minute and a half. There were really no unknown words in the listening. In the listening the narrator talked about how fast paced life was now and how she just longed for the slow life. This was the listening that had one of the answers as "we should return to prehistoric times." After a gave the students the answers, we went over them, and I was amazed that there were still about 40% that still had that answer chosen. (Now that is in my regular 3 classes. In my PreAP, they all had it correct.) When I talked to them about it, I even had some students try to argue with me and pointed in the script to where is said that. They totally missed the "no" in the sentence. Out of the three questions in this listening, most had 2 out of 3 correct.

In the second listening, which is about 2 and a half minutes, a guy is looking for something talking to a friend and she is commenting on how dark and disorganized his place was. They talk about the problem, he explains the problem, and then the friend offers to come over and help him organize. Now in this listening , there is a small amount of new vocabulary. Between that and the longer length, I did not expect the students to do quite as well. However, after following the same process as above, I was very surprised that the majority only got 2 of five questions correct.

I am hoping that you Spanish (or any other foreign language teachers out there) might be able to help. I am not sure what else to try. Clearly, it is too late for me to make changes this year, but I want to improve for next year. How can I better present the listenings? How can I best utilize my time in the flipped class to help the students improve this vital skill?

Tech Forum

I was watching the TechForum event in Chicago and couldn't believe when Allison Drew mentioned my blog. She had a great overview of Spanish in the flip at the middle school level and you should check it out.

Watching these presentations I realize I am running out of time to interview my students about their feelings about the flipped classroom this year. I do have them completing an end of the year survey to compile some data about how things have gone this year.

Interestingly, I heard that a teacher in my building was complaining that my kids never do anything and are always sitting around talking, on the computer, or "goofing off". I was a little hurt by that, but after thinking about it, I guess could be how it looks to an outsider. Now, I am not going to say that every kid is on task every minute, but are they really in a traditional classroom? However, if you tiptoed behind any group 90% of the time, they would be talking about an assignment, a project, and asking and/or answering questions.

Many in my school seem to be taking sides on the flipped classroom as administration has supported some of the Math teachers moving to a flipped model. It is scary to think about changing your whole way of teaching, and there are so many misconceptions about the flipped class. Hopefully, the detractors will begin to see the positives of the flipped class as it continues to grow in the school. ;)