Saturday, August 25, 2012

The first week with Flip 201

There is nothing like the first week of school. It is a time when everything seems possible. All the students are capable of receiving A's and learning all that we can teach. The students all have a fresh start and have the ability to continue on a great path or change directions to get on the path to learning.

I love the beginning of the school year, and not just because I can talk to children other than my 2 year old twins. I love looking at my new students, getting to know each of them as individuals, and seeing how all of the plans I have made over the summer are received by the students.

Of course, as we teachers know, another interesting thing about the beginning of the school year is how something that was so easily explained last year is totally confusing the next. For example, this week, many of the students seem confused by the assignment sheet. (A sample is on important docs tab.) I explained it to the group, I explained it individually to many of the students, but the students are still confused. Even in looking back at notes from last year, I don't remember this being as big of an issue. So, I am faced with a few choices: 1)In addition to the current assignment sheet, give a cheat sheet in date order, 2)Change the current assignment sheet, 3)Keep the assignment sheet the same and keep giving them the "what's due tomorrow" list on the board.

The problem is, I really like my assignment sheet. I like the students to be able to make their own plan and keep up with the due dates on their own. I enjoy helping them make the plan to stay on track. I think that learning how to tackle the assignments and completing them in a way that works best for each student is an important part of the life lessons that the students get from the flipped classroom.

So, what to do? I think I am going to continue just giving the students the "What's due next class" reminder for the remainder of the review unit. When I begin the first "real" unit, (after Labor Day) I am going to give them the blank spreadsheet and go over with them how they can make a plan for the unit. Hopefully the more that the students work with the spreadsheet, the easier it will be to understand.

Otherwise, I think the students are settling in nicely. They began giving their "Who am I?" present review projects, and so far I have been pleased with the results. They are doing a good job about not reading (of course I did tell them they would get a 0 if they read!) I am going to be doing baseline speaking assessments with the students Wednesday and Thursday and am excited about being able to do a better job of tracking student progress throughout the year.

Back to school night is Monday, and although I would love to have some classroom pictures with the students, it is probably not going to happen. The first week just went by so fast. I think I am going to send home a newsletter to parents with something I put together toward the end of September. This way parents can see the flip (and their students) in action.

Now for week 2.....