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Showing posts from May, 2016

That's a Wrap (...but Always Planning)

The 2015-2016 school year is finished.

It was a good one. Oh, there were tough times and struggles and frustrations, but that's part of the process.

I feel good about growth I made as a teacher and where I'm headed with my practice.

I feel good about the foundation I laid for my students and hope what they learned with me will benefit them in high school.

Here's my evaluation of what I see as the major aspects of my classroom.

Flipped Classroom
Flipped learning is in my bones. It's who I am. I recognize the teacher I was before, but I am a completely different teacher now.
I did not experience the "love fest" from this year's students that Year 1's students provided, but they were very clear in their end-of-year reflections that they liked our flipped classroom.
My flipped classroom began to change this year, and I see it continuing to transform. I see shorter videos and more discovery/exploration before content videos.
I experimented with an in-class …

End-of-Year Student Reflections and Evaluation

We've almost made it! The end of another school year is here.

I love student reflections. I like to check in with kids periodically to see how things are going. I want to know what's working, what's not, and their perceptions of things. Students often have very good ideas, and I want to know how they think I could improve my class.

I realize that I'm not always going to get the most serious of answers from 8th graders, but overall they do very well with reflections.

I gave this year's end-of-year reflection in a Google Form. I really like the recent updates to Google Forms.

The Google Form had 30 questions where students evaluated various characteristics of me on a scale from "Strongly Disagree" to "Strongly Agree." Students rated everything from my patience to organization to enthusiasm.

Nothing really surprised me about the responses to these questions. There were very few "Disagree" or "Strongly Disagree" responses, so I l…

Improving the "Unit with Room for Improvement"

Last year I wrote a blog post about "The Unit with Room for Improvement."

So, how'd it go this year?

Much better!

I divided the not-so-successful unit into two units, as I decided last year it needed to be. We did polynomial operations, tested, then moved into factoring.

My students rocked polynomial operations! It was one of the most successful tests of the school year.

(As a side note, I taught multiplication without FOIL, hoping to help students understand it better, and I think it worked. I sort of needed the "OI" part when it came to checking their factoring work, but they seemed to even check their work better this year having NOT been taught to FOIL.)

As we got ready to transition into factoring, I was once again staring at the calendar. So few days left, lots of interruptions coming, but factoring AND quadratics left to go. The panic tried to set in.

But I determined to ignore it. I was going to take my time and make sure students understood material as…