Sunday, September 7, 2014

Two Sides of this Shiny Coin...

I had a parent email tonight that was a bit discouraging. Her son is very disorganized and is just a typical middle school boy. I love the kid, but his student skills need work. So she was very frustrated that I was making them go online for homework. She gave me a piece of her mind about how difficult it was and told me that she fully expected me to give him time in class to watch the video and take his notes.

I responded that of course he would be able to use class time to do the homework, but I also took a few moments to correct her misunderstandings of what was expected. I also informed her that he would miss out on the extra practice that the rest of the class would get.

You see, the class before, he hadn't done his homework either. I let him a watch it in class, but the rest of the class played a practice game based on a popular tv show. He kept looking longingly at the groups as they were cheering each other on and clarifying simple mistakes that their teammates were making. And my heart hurt for him because THIS is the real learning that can take place with a flipped classroom. It's the practice above and beyond what I could have fit into the class period without flipping and the students teaching and learning from each other! And he wanted to take part, but had sabotaged himself...

I wish I could explain this to mom in a way that would help her see that this rough transition is worth the trouble. I know it's new and learning a new system can be frustrating, but the payoff would be that this boy would love his math class and would be excited to see what we do next and would be successful! *sigh*


In other news, I was encouraged as I was reading over the summary responses for my two flipped classes. Overall, they are understanding the concepts well and are getting better at articulating the concepts with their writing. There are a couple who are struggling and they know they are struggling. They asked great questions in their summary and tomorrow, I will pull them aside for a small group lesson to clarify a couple of things. I feel empowered to really meet my students where they are. Not just in lip service, but in actual responsive planning and teaching. It's just more evidence for myself of why I'm doing this and why I believe it's an amazing way to structure a math class.


So...whether you are encouraged or challenged, I'll say to you as I say to myself...keep calm and flip on.