Monday, February 9, 2015

#flipclass Flash Blog: Deciding What to Teach

There is so. much. to. cover.

Of course, I start with the state standards. In Alabama, Algebra 1 has all of the Algebra 1 standards and half of the 8th Grade standards (Advanced 7th Grade gets the other half of the 8th Grade standards).

That's a lot of standards.

And then there are the ACT standards for the End-of-Course test. They're similar to the state standards for Algebra 1, of course, but not exactly the same.

Standards need to be covered, and depth needs to happen.

How do I decide what to focus on?

I started my teaching career at the high school level, and we have great vertical relationships with the current high school math teachers, so I have a good idea about what standards I need to ensure my students are comfortable with and which standards are most needed to provide a proper foundation for my students when they reach their high school math courses. Those standards get more time.

The EOC standards are a little more focused than the state standards. Since the EOC standards are tested (currently; I heard that test might not be given after this year), I make sure I cover those.

I also focus on standards that build students' number sense and understanding of the most important mathematical foundations (the 8th grade standards I am responsible for often fall in this category).

Flipping my classroom has allowed me to go more in depth with the standards I teach. For one, it has slowed me down. If it can't be covered in a 15 minute video, it is too much for one lesson (and was probably too much for a 50 minute class period in my traditional classroom). I am able to answer students' questions about material as they are working with it; questions I might not have been around to hear if they were doing "normal" homework.

Since I have a much better feel for who is (or isn't) understanding what in the flipped classroom, I can no longer plow through with large numbers of lost students. I know when I need to reteach or even just clarify, and I now have time - and make time - to do that.

This year I am the happiest I have ever been with the depth I have been able to achieve with my students. I am more confident than ever in their understanding of the first of our "big three" concepts - linear equations. I have taken longer than usual to get it all covered, but I am not regretting the time I've spent.

I just hope I'm not in a panic when it comes time for the End-of-Course test, and I haven't covered everything....

1 comment:

  1. Yay for flipped learning allowing you to delve deeper! I spend so much less time reviewing because through daily conversations, I know what we are getting and what we aren't.