Sunday, December 18, 2016

Flipping into the holidays with many things on my mind and on the horizon

Well, today's the coldest day today we have had in Minnesota in the last few years.  Because of the cold weather I have had a lot of time to think about what is going on in my classroom and looking at the future in my classroom and out.

Here's what has happening in my classroom:
I am teaching 2 physics classes in the flipped classroom model and they are doing well.  My college physics class is learning about the flipped classroom and is coming ready every class period with questions, which lead to great discussion.  Unlike my other classes that do a formative assessment along with the video, the college google document is the video, a portion where the students write a summary, a portion where they ask any questions they have, and a portion where they choose learning targets (called test prep questions) that lead to discussions in class.  Here is an example of the form they complete:  They are learning how to study in the way I do things and are doing well.  I have had fun getting to know these students and am confident they will do well in my class.

My regular physics class, which is a traditional level class, has a wide variety of motivation in flipped classroom completion, but their test averages are still over 80%, and they are doing many labs that are challenging them and causing them to learn.  Here is an example of the physics google form, for comparison with my college class:

I know in the future I will be changing and modifying my videos this summer to enhance my flipped learning experience.  I have been touting the successes of the flipped system in the improved test scores of my students.

My physical science class is not being taught in the traditional flipped classroom style, but the energy they have has led me to modify how I do things with them with more hands on than some of my peers, and that has worked well.  They are doing well and grasping information, as evidence by the good first test score and the very high scores they got on their weekly formative assessment Friday (for those of you are are wondering, the score for the formative assessment is just for analysis of what they know and will not be in my grade book at any time).   They will get to take their next test Wednesday, and based on the formative assessments, will do well.

Here's what's happening with my professional development I get to facilitate:
I also had the opportunity to introduce the professional development group I facilitate the idea of flipped classroom.  I introduced them to the ideas through google assessments that are similar to what my students do.  Here is an example;
I think they enjoyed the information and hopefully will use it in their classroom.  They asked the almighty question about how much time it takes to go to this method and I left them with these thoughts:  1.  Don't do this all at once (something I should have listened to).  2.  If you know what want to make a change in your classroom to do things better, you will take all the time you think you need to make the change for the benefits of the students.
The professional development happened during a very stressful time for me.  My mother was in the hospital with what was diagnosed with severe viral pneumonia.  She was in the hospital for 9 days and thankfully is now home and recovering.  I left her hospital room and went to conduct my professional development session on the same day, and the facilitating of information was just what I needed.

As I mentioned in my last post my wife Amy (the strongest and most positive person I have ever met) and I are hosting a foreign exchange student from Kazakhstan and we are trying to show him a different part of the country, but funds are tight.  I know this is a busy time, but if you would be willing to visit our gofundme page at: and support our effort, it would be greatly appreciated.  If you make a donation you will be receiving a token of our appreciation.  Thank you in advance for the help, and thank you if you would be willing to share this with someone else.

As we are entering the winter break time I wish all of you time to spend with your families, time to relax and laugh, and to do things that truly make you happy.  Happy holidays and I hope you have a good end to 2016!  Thank you for reading my posts.  Please comment if you like, or share with friends if you like what you read.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Exciting First Trimester and News!

This is going to be a little bit of a lengthy post, but there are fun and exciting things I need to share:

1.  I thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read this post, I greatly appreciate it.
2.  This trimester I continued to refine my flipped classroom model, not quite to flipped mastery, but I'm working on it.  My conceptual physics class, which is made up mainly of juniors whom I was told is a very challenging class, had a trimester of class like I have never seen before.  I had made it my expectation that they could not take an exam until they watched the videos and completed the assessment that went with the videos.  This year I added a "reflection/note sheet" that they had to fill out.  All they had to do was fill in their score, something they learned, and a question about the section.  I'll admit most have not filled out many questions, but they are filling in scores and summaries and a very large rate.  The result of this?  No student failed my class and I had a 75% pass rate on my final exam (last years pass rate on the final exam was 63%, for comparison).  I'll take that as a win!  Also I had many students say they didn't want to put their initial score down and went back and watched the video again for review!  Instant reteaching opportunity!  Win again!  I'm looking forward to continuing the flipped model and trying to push into more flipped mastery.
3.  My beloved Chicago Cubs won the World Series!  Still can't believe I get to write that!

4.  My wife and I have the honor this year of hosting a foreign exchange student from Kazakhstan.  We want to give him the opportunity to see different parts of the country but, due to many things, we do not have the financial means to do this.  So, we decided to set up a go fund me account to see if we could get some help in this adventure.  If you would be so kind as to visit our page at:   We would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks for reading this!  Please send any feedback you have about the post!

Monday, January 11, 2016

The way I do things

Tonight in our flipped classroom chat we were asked to discuss our work policy/pedagogy, etc.  Here's how work is turned in, corrected, ect:

1.  The students in my conceptual physics class can't take the test until they watch the videos for the particular chapter.  This ensures the students they are exposed the content.  The video assessments (here is an example: have multiple choice questions that are often on the tests at the end of the chapter, and I use the video assessments to drive our discussions in class.  Also, we discuss all answers to the work the students do, so if they are paying attention in class they have the answers to the homework.
2.  The "book work" and worksheets the students do in class I provide them with answers so really the concentration is on learning the material and being confident to ask questions about what they do not know.
3.  For my regular physics class I don't allow revisions or retakes because I allow the students to have a notesheet, or what I call a cheat sheet, that they can use on the test to help them with any information they can write.  For my college in the schools class they are allowed to use the AP physics formula sheet to help them with the math questions on the test.  I figure with these aids the students have the support they need.
4.  For my conceptual physics my students have the option to do a "test buy back" where they can answer the questions on the test up to the next letter grade higher than what they had.  So, if they got a D on the test they can find the correct answers, either by consulting their returned work, talking to classmates, or talking to me, to go to the next letter grade.  The students like this option and take advantage of it.

I know this is not a perfect system, but it seems to be working for me.  If you have any thoughts, questions, or ideas for my class structure please comment below.

Have a good week!