Making my First Flipped Lesson

I had to miss the last two weeks of school for a family emergency. Before I left, my students were struggling with factoring quadratic equations. I think that is a good place to start. They’ve had a break from it, so their old errors won’t be so fresh, but it is also something they’ve seen before. I found this video on youtube that does an excellent job of explaining the concept.

I also checked  the video on my phone and it displays well on a small screen.

I will display this powerpoint throughout class. The first slide is for when they come in. I’m expecting some excitement – I’ve never allowed cell phone use in my class before.

I think this lesson will take two days. Let’s see how it goes.


Planning my First Flipped Lesson

I started following Kirk Humphreys (@kirk_humphreys) on twitter a few days ago. He has a flipped classroom unlike any I’ve ever seen. His students have taken complete control of their learning. They even decide how they will be assessed (sometimes). I have been researching for several days and decided that Tuesday, I am going to introduce my students in my Algebra I class to flipped lessons. I am not sure what is going to happen.

My students will watch the video on their phones (computers are all being used for the state test) and take notes in class. I will then have a student go up to the board and show the class what s/he thinks s/he understands about the topic in the video. When finished, the student will pick another student who will do the same thing. The other students are to listen, question, correct, and try to understand what is being presented (They have already been trained to do that). When students are satisfied, I will display:
“Prove to me that you know these standards by giving me examples and solving them to prove your understanding. You may make your own problems, find your own problems, or look up your own problems. You may collaborate with others, but you must turn in your own product, a I need to assess you individually. You may use any way you like to prove to me you understand the standards.” (credit for everything in quotes to Kirk Humphreys).

At the end of class, I will assign another video, this time for homework.

To accomplish this, I need to have both videos available to students in an easily accessible place before class on Tuesday. I’m thinking Google Drive. I will also have small whiteboards, wall white boards, graph paper, colored pencils, and graphing calculators available for students to use during class. I’m excited!


I joined twitter in 2011, but hadn’t really used it much. I never tweeted anything. I didn’t really follow anyone. I had not looked at it at all in years. I tried, halfheartedly, to do the math twitter blogosphere thing without using twitter. I occasionally found interesting lessons from bloggers. I’m making an effort to be an active member. There are several reasons for this.

  1. I am losing my love of teaching. I need to reignite it. My district’s forced testing regime has ruined my flow. My evaluations have incorrectly labeled me as Ineffective or Minimally Effective every year and the state won’t fix the errors. Many of my colleagues are disheartened and are giving in. I need to look outside my school and my town to find others who still love their job. I actually started looking for another job last month. It took an intervention from my fiance to remind me why I started teaching in the first place.
  2. SBG without SBL doesn’t work. I started grading my students by standard. I started spiraling their homework and tests. I didn’t change the way I teach. I just had more specific data that showed that they were not retaining information. I felt like a failure, but didn’t know how to fix it. Other math teachers in my building are seeing the same things in their students. I don’t want to just say “that’s the way it is”; I need to change.
  3. I need to feel like I’m part of something greater than myself. I have felt so alone with everything that is going wrong in education. I didn’t think anyone could make it better. I was tired of trying to make it better by myself and then getting crushed by the state evaluation. I need a network of people that are positive and inspiring.

I started being an active member of the twitter part of #MTBoS 3 days ago. Today is my first blog post (on a blog I made years ago and never used). I am officially a Math-Twitter-BlogoSphere-er. Wish me luck.