Monday, December 21, 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 discuss what they have demonstrated. Some of them have been told the Pythagorean Theorem before but never why it's a "thing."

Students also enjoy problem relays. I've played these two different ways. In one relay, a student on a team works a problem, then that answer is inserted into a blank in the next problem for the next student to work. The second way this has been played is for each student on the team to work the next step of a problem. Both methods force students to evaluate the work of their peers. And their competitive sides come out, which is always fun to watch.

I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting ways to teach my subject. As I've said so many times before, my flipped classroom gives me the time and flexibility to try out those new and interesting methods.

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