Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Off to a great start in 2012 - Reflections on #flipclass chat from 7/2

First, if you are not a Twitter person, you might want to become one just to participate (or follow along) with the #flipclass chat every Monday at 8EST. Even if you can't make the chat, you can read the archive and get some great ideas. I am not big on Twitter, but this is a great resource.

The focus of the chat this week was getting the next school year off differently (and better) than last year. For new flippers, a great way to get started is a great letter for parents/students explaining the flipped class. Last year, I emailed one to every student and parent and then sent it home on the first day. Check mine out here. One of the great ideas from the chat was to create not just a letter, but a video to share with parents so they get a good feel for how the system works. I am going to have to add that to my To Do list for the summer.

Another idea from the chat was to use newsletters to send home to parents to keep them apprised of how class is going. I like the idea of doing this as a video created by the students so they can show their parents something they have learned in the target language. Think of how hard they will work to create this if they know I am sending it to parents! As a parent, I would be pretty impressed to get something like this from my kids teachers. This also addresses a problem I have been having with the Project Based Learning idea - having an audience. I am envisioning the students having to create a visual to go along with their speaking (skit, picture, PP slide) to help parents understand the meaning of what they are saying. The more I think about it, the more possibilities I see.

The topic of Back to School night came up, and the group started discussing the possibilities of flipping it. Of course, I was the one that saw this as a possible escape from this evening (but seriously, I teach mostly Juniors and Seniors, and hardly any of those parents come anyway!) However, in all seriousness, this is another opportunity to send home a video of what is going on in class. (I would be creating this one.) Since the flipped class looks so different from the traditional class, it would be a great window for parents to see it in action. I am thinking I would show the video on Back to School night and then email it to all the parents afterward. This idea works nicely with my goal this year of documenting students working in class through pictures and video. Just to be safe, I am going to add a line to my syllabus that informs parents that their students may be photographed and/or filmed in class which will be shared in the education community. (CYA, but a necessary evil.)

I am looking forward to experimenting with the new Camtasia 8 and trying out the closed captioning on videos. I can see endless possibilities for this. This could enable me to use video clips that I know are a little advanced and help the students with some captions to assist in teaching listening, which is always a goal. It would also be a great way to use a grammar video at various levels. For example, a video on the present tense in Spanish I would be spoken in Spanish, but have the captions in English. However, that same video in a Spanish III class would not have the captions. I have to do more investigating into this. It may be something for the Flipped Class 301!

Hope you all have a great 4th! Here in Colorado we will be without any fireworks since we are in so much fire danger. We still have 11 wildfires burning!