Friday, March 29, 2013

The Flipped Classroom Day #1

I am glad to have something to blog about on a regular basis again. 

After some real soul-searching about what was happening in my class, particularly with my honors students, I realized that there was a difference between what they know and what they have learned.  I did feel as if they knew things, but what was more important to me was that they had learned something.  After reading a number of posts, paricipating in a number of #flipclass twitter chats, and numerous conversations with a math teacher who was having success with the flipped classroom with her students, I decided that I would use the fourth marking period as an experiment in flipping my class.

That experiment started today.

I asked my students to watch about 5 minutes worth of video about the expansion of the English colnies to the Mississippi River and then the Louisiana Purchase.  They then worked with a thinglink, in which I asked them to click on the images surrounding a statue and work to figure out who the people in the statue were based on the clues.  (You can see that image and try for yourself here.)  It certainly helped in our discussion about the image today that many of them had some knowledge of the people in the image, but it nonetheless provided an interesting thinking activity.  (Special shout out here to @jluss and @PetroskiLindsay for their help with this concept at the recent #playdate13 held in Boston.)

We had a brief discussion about the image and then went to work ont he activity for the day: they were a member of the Corps of Discovery after the Corps left the Mandan tribe in April, 1807.  They were able to do this through the PBS interactive Into the Unknown, whcih is essentially a choose your own adventure story where they make the choices about what happens next.  After each experience that they had along the way, they made a diary entry in a word document.  Once they reached the end of the journey, they saved their diary as a PDF, uploaded to GoogleDrive, made the PDF public, and shared the link in their blog. 

When I do this with the one class that didn't meet today on Monday, I will start with them opening a GoogleDoc and work from there.  It will save a step and make it much easier for them to link to their diary in their blog.  I will also make sure to give them some time to write a reflection about their experience in doing the activity.

I believe that this was a good first step down the flipping path.  We'll see what Monday brings and the snap debate.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Which Pooh are You?

It has been too long since I did this. I keep telling myself that I have to do it more often, but just haven't been good about it. So, with the 3rd marking period (2nd half of the year) starting today, I decided it was as good a day as any to start. That, and I loved the topic I gave my sophomores to blog about tonight, so here goes.

This past Saturday, January 19, was "Winnie the Pooh" day ( Before I knew this was the case, I had been having a conversation with one of my classes about their personality types and how many Rabbits and Eyeores I thought were sitting in front of me. I looked and found a description of the different characters ( and tried to figure out which one I was. I had sort of decided as I Pooh Bear going in, but when I read the description at the site, I was a little bit angry. While I agree that I believe I have a good heart (some of you may disagree, but there it is), I think I have more than a "little brain" (which many more of you may agree with)!

So, I continued my search for an on-line quiz (figuring there must be one of those in this day and age) to see if those thoughts were true and found this one ( Apparently, the answer is yes and no:

Which Winnie the Pooh Character Are You?

It's a tie!

You are part Winnie the Pooh. Oh, bother. You are sweet, simple, and popular for your honesty and goodwill. Though you may be the biggest personality in the woods, you sometimes need the help of others in the brains department!

You are part Piglet. You are timid, quiet, and like to stay in others' shadows. Though your shyness can irritate some, you are courageous when it counts and are always loyal to your friends.

Now, these two realities may surprise some people, but I find them to be fairly accurate, and I think I am happiest that I possess the two qualities of characters that are best friends.  

Pictures found through at these links: