Coming into this new school year I found myself in quite a predicament. First, I am teaching 8th grade science which now comes with state testing. Second, that state testing is covering standards pretty much only taught 8th grade year. Lastly, the first round of that testing in done at the end of February. So, I need to get through a whole year of curriculum before the middle of February so I can prep and get these students ready for the ever popular state test.
Going into summer I knew this would be a challenge. I knew I wanted to give the kids as much of the curriculum as possible before the testing window and I knew that I needed to try something extreme. Here enters The Flipped Classroom. I did not want to spend my precious, valuable class time lecturing. I need class time to be work time- learning vocabulary, discovering solutions to real world problems, making connections, etc. This was going to be awesome!
I was going to try and explain how I am setting up my Flipped Classroom through a couple different posts so not to be on here forever typing. So, first thing is first, the online platform. I had to have a way to deliver lectures online and after looking around a trying a few different sites I have decided on Schoology. (I attached the link so you can check it out). I decided on this site for a couple of different reasons.
- Online discussions- I had decided after talking with a mentor teacher of mine that I didn't want to students to have to do anything too demanding when it came to holding them accountable for the videos, but there needed to be something in place. With Schoology the students are responsible for posting one questions and responding to another students question as their accountability piece. What I like the most about this is it lets the students reply directly to someone else's comment...a lot like Facebook which, of course, the kids love.
- An Order- I am not sure if other sites do this as well, but, I am in love with the "Student Completion" feature when creating folders. I was struggling with how to have the students go in a particular order (you need to know that the Earth has layers before you can understand that plates move) since I wanted to classroom to be sort of self-paced. This feature makes it so that a student has to complete a certain activity of action before they are allowed to move on to the next task. GENIUS! If you notice in the picture I have finished the first activity so it checks green, I'm on the second activity so the title is blue but it isn't checked off yet and the lab is still in all grey so I can't even click on it.
- Update Board- Again, I am sure that other sites have this but I found it extremely useful today. I actually took a personal day today for a doctor's appointment and gave my students a folder they had to complete. I had some trouble with previous classes about grammar and used the Updates to remind the students what the expectations were. As you can see they thought they were funny. :-)
- Apps- This part has made my day off SO amazing! Schoology has a free app on Apple products and Android. I was in the doctors office and participating in Period 3 (and 4... I was there for a while)'s online discussions. I was getting alerts when anyone posted and was able to answer any questions immediately. All from across the island. AWESOME!
I am beginning my first official unit this week and will be posting more details about how the classroom is physically set up and how it all goes.