Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Flipping and Grouping in the Classroom

Two days ago my county's deputy superintendent spent part of a period with one of my classes.  He was curious how we were doing with our Chromebooks.  One of my students said something like she really liked the class because "We live in an interconnected world and that is how we operate in class from working constantly in groups to having access, using multiple modalities (my word meaning Chromebooks and smartphones), to a world of information." I am not doing her justice, but tomorrow I am teaching social studies chairs how "Flipping and grouping" can change the way they teach.
  • We start class with five questions which are the overarching points for the day.  The kids can use their notes and if they do poorly, they can stay after school to take the quiz again.  After all don't I want them to learn the most important points?
  • Next we go through a "problem set."  To do this we are grouped in mixed ability groups that change from time to time or even can change (such as with a jigsaw) multiple times in a day.  Problem sets grew out of my economics' classes, but now has spread to all of them.
  • As students work, I move around the classroom, listening and helping.  What I have found out is that all students talk with small groups and ask questions and are willing to give feedback to their peers. When a few groups have the same question, I stop everyone and address it with the greater group. Depending on the assignment and the class we also go over it when everyone is done with it. 
  • I get multiple times a day to talk to each student.  Every other day or so I even call up kids who are missing work.  As long as I haven't gotten to the test, I will accept any assignment without a penalty and even let kids redo work to raise their score.   Crazy I know!  But the goal is to as well as possible on the assessments.
  • Also students to not need to be in the same place, but rather can be behind or even ahead depending on their needs.  
  • So formative assessments can be done as many times as a student wants and all of my summative tests allow for second chances - as long as the kids go through and understand their failings on each question.  
Getting rid of my large teacher desk has forced me to move around the room much more than in the past.  Creating pre-made groups fosters better discussion and, in turn, learning.  Simply doing it has made me change how I teach or, in many cases facilitate learning.  In a nutshell this grouping in fours and flipping has changed the way my students learn.  If Facebook's new open campus is a bellwether my kids will be better ready for not only assessments, but also future jobs. 

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