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Showing posts from December, 2015

#flipclass Flash Blog: How do you Catch a Unique Lesson?

Unique up on it, of course!

Sorry...that was bad...couldn't resist.

In tonight's #flipclass chat, we're discussing unusual teaching methods or lessons.

I have to admit, I don't see many of my methods or lessons as very unusual or unique.

Yes, #flipclass is still unique and unusual to my students. Getting to do the activities I do in class is not math-class-as-usual, but they're still not all that unique, in my view. They're just a welcome respite from listening to me for 30-45 minutes and then working problems from a textbook or worksheet.

Two classroom lessons came to mind, though, that students enjoy.

When I introduce the Pythagorean Theorem, I use an explore-flip-apply method. We do a visual proof of the theorem, where students cut out squares off the legs of a right triangle and arrange them so they cover the square off the hypotenuse, seeing that "a^2 + b^2  = c^2." I love the look of understanding that comes over students' faces when we disc…

A Flipped Review

I am not a fan of the review process. I believe it's necessary, I believe it can be beneficial, but I have often struggled with the best way to do it. At the end of a semester, with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, students are often distracted. Many give a little less than their best effort.

There's frustration. For students, for me. "How do you work Number 1?" "I don't remember how to do Number 7!" "I don't think we ever did anything like Number 13!" I can point kids to notes and and places in the book, but that is often followed by, "I still don't get it." And frustrated students lead to even less engaged students.

And then there's the boredom. I get bored, students get bored. Try these problems (that you don't remember how to do), ask me questions about these problems, watch me work these problems. We'll repeat the whole process tomorrow. Boredom leads to even less engagement.

I began brainstorm…

#flipclass Flash Blog: Teaching Study Skills

I hope I teach more than math. I hope I teach skills that allow my students to be better students.

There are lots of skills students need to be successful in school. Note-taking, time management, how to study for a test. In my class, how to watch a video is an important skill.

Why are these skills important? These skills allow students to feel in control. They give students confidence. They are skills they will adapt and use once they leave the classroom and begin "adulting."

How do I teach these skills? Mostly as opportunities present themselves. Those opportunities might come up through events happening in my classroom or conversations students are having with me or each other. When I notice specific skills needing improvement, I might take a few minutes out of class time to address them. Some skills need addressing multiple times.

Why is it important? Why take time out of class to address "soft skills" when there are standards to teach?

For one thing, some of th…