Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2014

NMSI Training, Year 3

For the past 3 summers, I have attended 4 days of "Laying the Foundation" training at a Birmingham-area school.  My "Year 3" training was this past week.

NMSI is the National Math and Science Initiative.  From their website:

"NMSI's mission is to improve student performance in the critical subjects of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  NMSI's programs transform teaching, transform schools and are transforming education in the United States."


"NMSI's Laying the Foundation Program is strengthening the existing teaching corps through professional training resources aligned with Common Core State Standards."

I became involved in the training when our high school began the process of offering Advanced Placement (AP) courses and my eighth grade algebra classes became Pre-AP Algebra 1 classes.

In a nutshell, each year I have been given access to and learned how to teach lessons that prepare students for their AP classes …

Chapter 1 is Ready + Basic Organization

I finished recording videos for Chapter 1 of my textbook (Larson Algebra 1) this week.  Chapter 1 will really be divided into 2 units: a review unit of expressions and equations and an introduction to functions.
I've decided I don't really want to record anything else until these lessons are being used by students and I begin to get feedback.  My daughter (who will be in my class; I am currently the only Algebra 1 teacher in the school) watched one of the videos - she asked to - and she didn't have any horrible criticisms.  But she's already had a good idea or two, and I know other students will, as well.
The eight videos I've made will last at least the first 3 weeks of school; I feel good about that.
My fear is that the start of school will be so busy (as it always is) and I will find it hard to make the next set of videos.  I have this nightmare of being ready to go home from school one day and realizing the kids need a yet-to-be-made video uploaded for THAT NI…

A Chat-Full Evening

So, this post doesn't have anything specifically to do with my flipped classroom, but I had such an amazing experience, I had to share.

I participated in a Twitter chat last fall right after school started concerning technology, since our school had just gone 1:1.  But that was the only one.

I saw yesterday that #ALedchat was on Monday nights at 9, and I learned (through someone I began to follow after reading her story in "Flipping 2.0") that #flipclass was Mondays at 7.

I now had my plans for the evening!

A Twitter chat is a unique experience.  I did a search for whichever hashtag I was participating in, clicked "all," and waited for tweets to show up.  If you contribute, you add the hashtag to your tweet so it shows up in the feed.

At times I felt like I was in a room with 20 students trying to talk to me at the same time.  Notifications (someone favorited your tweet!, someone replied to your tweet!), direct messages (I didn't even know you could do that…

First Videos Have Been Recorded!

While school and my flipped classroom experience don't actually begin for a few more weeks, I want to get in something of a blogging groove and tell about my experiences as I prepare to flip my Pre-AP Algebra 1 classes.

There has been preparation before I actually recorded this week, and I hope to go back and share some of the foundation of my decision to flip my class, but since this week's big development was the recording of five videos, that's what I would like to blog about.

The first few lessons of our year are review for Algebra 1 students, so I feel good beginning the year of flipped lessons with material students are already familiar with.

The first lesson I recorded is about evaluating expressions and exponents.  The second lesson involves order of operations.  I felt VERY awkward during these two videos, and when I watched/listen to them I felt I sounded depressed.  But I decided to leave them as is and work on sounding more excited in the next videos.

A note ab…

Testing, 1, 2, 3.... first blog post.  I'm typically very talkative, but right now I'm feeling scared speechless.

I'm sure I'll loosen up soon enough. :)

Why am I beginning a blog?  Well...I've decided to "flip" my eighth grade Pre-AP Algebra 1 classes this year.  For many of our lessons students will watch a 5-15 minutes direct instruction video at home, and class time will be used for practice and application of concepts.

My goal is to make better use of the time I have with students in class.  I want students to be able to practice concepts when I am available to help them.  I want to be able to have more one-on-one time with students and their particular issues with material.

I have been reading books, watching videos, listening to podcasts, and following other "flippers" on Twitter.

And I have been convinced to go for it.

I will be using the app Explain Everything to make videos.  So far, I have created guided notes in Smart Notebook, exported them as P…