Saturday, 25 July 2015

Sample letter about the flipped classroom

Since we do the bulk of our online work on D2L, this is the type of assignment I would give to my students on a discussion forum. The intermediate students at our school are allowed to bring their own devices, phones are the device of choice for most, with one or two with iPads, laptops and/or surfaces. Any student that wasn't able to watch this video at home, would be able to watch it at school on their own device. For this assignment, students could write, type, speech to text, etc.

Last year as an intermediate division we had an issue with homework completion. Whether it was Math practice work, research, watching a video or posting on D2L, there were a handful of students that didn't do their homework. I would spend the bulk of my recesses and lunches catching them up, or I would have to show the video again in class, while those that had done their work did enrichment tasks. Or if they did complete the work, it was far below the expectations and success criteria simply because of lack of effort. As a divisional team, we are still struggling with how best do address this, not just for flipped classroom activities. My teaching partners assured me it was the age, but in turn, I reduced the amount of "homework" and increased the amount of "classwork" and I told them the harder they worked in class the less "homework" they would have. This worked really well with my group last year and I foresee it being the same with this coming group, as I have taught them before in the past. For this activity, I would probably group them in homogeneous groups eventually and I would work with the small groups to develop and self-assess their questions.

I really struggle with the idea that, for example Grade 7 students should be doing 70 minutes of homework a night when they just did a full day of school. Granted, if they are not using their time at school purposefully, or if they need to review concepts, "homework" is ideal. Having two young children at home, I know my husband picks them up from the bus, rushes home to get dinner ready, they usually play during that time. I arrive after my long commute, we have dinner and then it's the bed time routine. They are only in Grade 2 and SK, but I don't know where I would fit in time for "homework." Of course, should there be homework I would ensure they completed it. Hopefully my parent community would see the value of this activity and my students would be able to easily meet my expectations.

Sample flipped lesson:

Dear families,

In an effort to maximize our lab and collaboration time in class, I'm asking that you support our Science students by allowing them to watch Science videos at home. I usually provide the students the slide show for the unit in advance and I add points, thoughts, and questions that come up during our time together. Please refer to the big ideas and overall expectation of the unit, as well as the content from the textbook.

The textbook is a wonderful resource, but since Science is all around, I like to include current events and local issues in my lessons and that is possible with your support.

First up, please watch The Water Brother's Episode - "Water in all the Wrong Places." The video is about 26 minutes long, as you watch it, students need to be writing down thoughts/questions/connections to water issues in Ontario. Please write down the time on the video as a reference. Remember to pause the video as you write down your question/note. It is much easier for students to do this independently as not all students would have to pause at the same time, which would be the issue if we watched the video together during class.

Example: 0:58 What are the fruits/veggies that California exports to Canada?

Once you have finished watching the video, circle the questions you think will lead to the best discussion. Please reference the questioning circle as you hi-light your best questions. We will be using these questions during our discussions throughout the unit.  Please have the questions completed by the beginning of class next Tuesday.

I will be assessing the following expectations during our discussions in class:
  1. use appropriate science and technology vocabulary
    use scientific inquiry/research skills to investigate local water issues
    investigate how municipalities process and manage water
Thank you for your continued support!

Your partner in education,

Mrs. Skibinski

Unit Slideshow

1 comment:

  1. What a great way to get family involved. As a parent of a student in Grade 7 (now grade eight), we would take this opportunity and activity and discuss it at the dinner table. Rarely do I get work home from my son. When the content has meaning and is applicable to real world, the flipped lesson has so much potential and the support from parents is most often very positive!