Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Is There Any Doubt?

I've been looking forward to today's TeachThought Reflective Teacher Blog Challenge prompt:

Which learning trend captures your attention the most, and why?

Since the name of my blog is "Mrs. Gibbs Flips Algebra 1," there's probably little question as to which learning trend intrigues me the most.

This blog started because of the flipped learning trend.  Until the 30-Day Blog Challenge, ALL the posts were about flipped learning. And after the 30-Day Challenge the posts will return to the subject of flipped learning.

I talk a LOT about my flipped classroom, but I don't mind at all talking about it some more.  I want to keep spreading the news!

I first heard of flipped lessons from our district tech coordinator when all teachers got iPads in the spring of 2013.  I thought, "Hmmm....Sounds neat, but how could that ever happen?"  It was mentioned again last year when our middle and high schools went 1:1 with iPads.  Same thoughts.

Something clicked for me this past June.  I don't even what exactly made me decide to jump in.  But I suddenly realized I WANTED to flip my algebra classes and I WOULD find a way to make it work.

What captured my attention?  Time.  I thought about what could happen in my allotted 51 minutes with each class if I moved direct instruction to a video.  And I could no longer resist.

I blogged extensively here about what the use of time now looks like for me and my students.

There are many other side effects of flipped lessons that continue to make me a believer. My students have less homework stress. I have a better finger on the mathematical pulse of my students and classes. I am able to have more one-on-one time with more students. More students are more engaged than ever before.

And just today I got to experience - again - one of my favorite aspects of the flipped classroom.  Last night's video (transformation of formulas) was brand new for my kids and something they find a little challenging at first.  Students came to class a little unsure.  But as they worked through today's activity, I got to see the lights come on. I got to see the understanding grow.

In my traditional classroom I rarely got to see that part of the process.  At the end of a challenging lesson I got to see my students leave confused and worried about completing their homework. I got to see them come to class the next day with lots of questions or unfinished homework because they got frustrated and gave up.

But now I get to see more of the part of learning that excites me.  That "A-Ha" moment.  The light bulb moment.

The moment the switch is flipped.

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