Monday, March 11, 2013

EdCampColumbus - My First Time

- 7:45 is too early! They're still setting up. Next year, 8:30 would be fine to lessen awkwardness. - wonderful intro to 3D imaging for the classroom - iBooks, to be expanded to other platforms as well.

ePals looks interesting, but I think I could have figured it out on my own at the website. Should have gone to the eBook presentation, which was my first instinct. - You Make Ebooks

IPad playdates

Http:// - Textbooks are Dead...

Online learning: Quality Matters initiative

Video intro to my flipped class for kickoff? What about an example playlist?

Video games have changed - no book of directions - they are now included in the game itself. How can I do this in my flipped class?
Don't teach vocabulary - use it in context to help kids learn

Open education

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Reflections on Flipping Kindergarten

The other day I received an email from Kristin, who asked for an update on how Flipped Learning was going in my classroom, and I realized I have not been as reflective on the process as I should be. So here is my answer to her: what I've seen and experienced so far in my flipped kindergarten.

Hi! I am happy to answer your questions with what I've done so far.

The biggest (and best!) thing I've done is to take those repetitive daily tasks (letter-of-the-week, "phonics dance", etc.) and put them online so my students can access them from home.

I use MentorMob to create my weekly homework "playlists", and Edmodo to send out assignments. I looked at my students' incoming test scores (from screening and our state literacy assessment), and put them into five different groups. Then I chose online activities at each group's target level, and created a playlist for each group each week (I did all this last summer!). The activities include the week's guided reader, as well as  a letter-of-the-week video, and various games in language arts and math. At the end of each playlist, I inserted a Google Forms survey that the parents complete to tell me how their student did during that week's homework.

Here is a link to a sample playlist of mine, this one being geared toward the average student: 

Things I am still having issues with are:
- My lowest-functioning students are the ones who do not have internet access at home, so I have to try to remember to put them on the computer first thing in the morning, but they're also the ones who receive breakfast when they get to school, so many times they're not in the room until much after the tardy bell rings. We also have to give computer testing several times a year, meaning my classroom computers are not available for homework "catchup" because they are being used for testing.
[Many flippers put their videos on DVD or flash drive for their students to view at home; since my assignments are more game based, I cannot do this. Kindergarten is much more 'doing' than 'viewing'.]

- My intention is for the students to do the "homework" every night (especially the more needy ones) in order to get that repetition, but many are only doing it once and considering it "done". I'm not sure yet how to enforce this.

- I do have at least one student who only has an iPad at home, and many of the activities I have assigned use Flash, which isn't supported on the iPad. I believe she has been completing her homework at a relative's house because of this. I hope to work to find more iPad-friendly sites this summer.

Overall, Flipping my classroom has gone very well, I would say. The kids enjoy the homework (some even look forward to it!), and it keeps the parents informed of the types of things their child is learning (many of our parents still think kindergarten is naps and snacktime and playtime all day!)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Flipping for Kindergarten

This year I have committed to jumping on the "flipped classroom" bandwagon. Being a "techie", it seemed right up my alley. However, in Kindergarten there are no lectures, so having my students watch a video about the lesson at home is going to look different.

I have spent this whole summer reading and thinking about how this process is going to look. I began by thinking I would just have a few students and parents who have internet access at home watch the videos and do the activities after school, and while the rest of the class did the work during the school day, I would have an enrichment-type activity for these students. However, when I introduced the idea to my principal, she encouraged me to give everyone a chance right from the start, so that we can have lots of data, and so that everyone can benefit. I do intend for my activities, and possibly my videos, to be differentiated, so I agreed.

At this time, I am thinking that I will give the class their assignment on Monday, and they must have it completed and a parent questionnaire turned it by Friday. Families can choose to work on one or two activities each night, or they can complete every activity every night (for example, if the parent feels they need more repetition). More on this in a minute.

For my videos, I began thinking about modeling my lesson after this one, focusing on a letter of the alphabet each week (which matches our reading series). I have heard of lots of teachers having their students make videos, which serve two purposes: to show what they have learned, and to teach others in possibly a different manner that might work better for some students. But I had never been able to wrap my head around how to do this in Kindergarten. Just today, as I was reading the Flipped Classroom Ning and have just completed our state's required literacy assessments, I had the idea to allow each student to help me record the lesson for a letter that he or she already knows. Since all of my students already know at least one letter, I should be able to allow everyone to have a turn, and I think including the children in the videos will win more parent and administrative support (my principal is totally on board and excited - I'm thinking higher-ups!)

I laughed with my principal when I explained to her why I didn't get a tan this summer: because I spent the whole summer on the computer curating content for this endeavor!

  • I set up a class account on Edmodo, and learned a bit about how to use it to assign work to my families.
  • I followed many flipping teachers on Twitter, and asked a few questions, but I really found out that I must be "blazing a trail" by flipping Kindergarten - I haven't found any other K teachers yet that are or will be flipping. By the way, you'll want to follow #flipclass to get the best experience!
  • Apparently I was the talk of the staff for a while at MentorMob, as I created 150+ differentiated playlists of videos and activities, one for each of my five groups of students for each week of the school year. So much so that Eric Pitt asked me to do a phone interview to talk about how I was planning to use these playlists in my classroom, and has asked me to do a guest post on the MentorMob blog!
  • I took a course on flipping on Sophia.
  • I played around looking for videos and activities on Khan Academy (nothing for kindergarten), Watch Know Learn (wonderful resource), and Sesame Street (love their own playlists!), among MANY others.

Once my playlists were created, I focused first on how to make sure the families were completing the activities at home. Since kindergarteners are VERY honest, I decided this probably won't be too much of a problem. Kindergarteners also cannot take notes or fill out a questionnaire, but parents can. So I decided to gear my questions toward receiving input and feedback from the parents. I created a Google Forms questionnaire for each week that will ask the parents questions based on that week's activities. This will help me with flexible grouping of my students based on their abilities and growth, and will also let me know what the parents think about the number and quality of the activities for future classes.

Finally, I tackled the topic of ideas for those students who don't have internet access, since most of my activities are games instead of videos, and therefore cannot be recorded on a DVD. I still plan on recording my letter videos on DVD for those students. But as far as the online activities, I'm giving some thought to a couple of possibilities right now:

  • Suggesting families go to the Public Library. A few may be willing, but for some this will be an inconvenience, or transportation may not be available.
  • Offering time on the computer before school starts, possibly before we even open the doors to everyone else. One problem with this might be that, usually those students who don't have internet access are the same ones that ride a bus and eat breakfast when they get to school, so they might not be available at that time. This will work, though, for students whose parents feed them at home and bring them to school.
  • Opening up my classroom after school, since I am usually here anyway. I will be limited by the number of computers in my classroom (four), and once again by the students who ride a bus and do not have their own transportation, or parents who work during the day.
  • Opening up our traveling lab of netbooks after school. This will allow me to serve more than just four families at a time, if they have transportation.
  • I am open to other solutions as they are introduced to me.

Before I go, I want to record one idea that I read - I believe it was from @ramusallem on Twitter (I'm paraphrasing). He said that flipping the classroom allows us to offload the lower-level activities of Bloom's Taxonomy - those activities that don't require as much in-depth focus - and allows us to do more projects and activities from the higher levels in class, where students need our assistance and guidance more often. In respect to Rigor and Relevance (a big push in our district right now), it will allow me to do more activities in the B and D Quadrants than I could before, and to focus more on individualizing my instruction.

Friday's the big First Day with all of my students, but the first few weeks consist of teaching the students how to "do school" rules and procedures - it has been likened to herding cats, but that's part of the fun for me. I won't start the meat of flipping until after our Parent Night in early September. It's gonna be a Fabulous Year!

Friday, October 7, 2011

First Week of Math Stations

Here is our first week of math stations (this was the week of 9/11):

exploring colored tiles

exploring unifix cubes

Chicka Roll & Match (roll the dice and cover that number with a piece of fruit)

fine motor gem pages from Making Learning Fun

computers (this week was our intro to computers, so we had Starfall up instead of a math game)

exploring attribute links

Chicka One-to-One Match (roll the dice and put that many tree erasers on the mat)

sort class names by number of letters

We had a lot of fun during our first week of math stations!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

September 11th

We started off the week by talking a little bit about 9/11. I figured, since it happened before my students were born, that it would be a short little overview of what happened, and we would move on. However, they seemed to know quite a lot more about it than I expected. They all wanted to talk about it, so I drew an ever-so-quick (and crude!) picture on the easel:

(obviously, I am NOT an artist!)

Then we had our first "Think-Pair-Share". The students were paired up with the person sitting next to them, and they were instructed to tell their neighbor what they know about 9/11. This gives everyone a chance to talk (which is what they love!), and promotes social skills.

After giving them time to talk to their partner, I asked a few students to share what their partner had told them. Some knew about the heroes - the police and firemen who tried to rescue people from the buildings, and the people who fought with the hijackers. They knew that the "bad guys" came from another country, and they didn't like Americans.

This activity led us into our week of safety lessons.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!

Following Brown Bear, Brown Bear, we read and celebrated Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. I hid magnetic letters in sand, and had the students each find one.

Then they had to match the uppercase magnetic letter in their hand to its lowercase letter on the easel.

Next, we investigated a REAL coconut! We passed it around the circle so we could each use our eyes, hands, and noses to check out this beauty.

I cracked open the coconut (I had never done this before!), and we all got to taste the milk. We were surprised that it wasn't white - it was clear. Some of us predicted it would taste like water - of course we were a little surprised when we found out it is very sweet! Since I was doing the cracking, pouring, and passing out the milk, I didn't get a picture of this activity. :-(

Then we used our magnifying glasses to investigate shredded coconut. This lesson was really just an introduction to using our tools properly and safely. But we had fun!

 (no, this little one is not asleep - she's just waiting her turn with the magnifying glass! :-) )

Then we sorted bandaids. My only problem with this activity was that I didn't have enough different bandaids. I only had three colors, so it was too easy.  So now I know that I need to start stocking up on different shapes, sizes, and styles of bandaids for next year. :-)

Finally, we made Chicka Tree Glyphs using the letters of our names. Girls have pink paper, boys have orange paper, and the number of coconuts = the number of siblings the student has. Enjoy!

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Everyone Wins Giveaway

Kreative in Kinder

Kreative in Kinder is having an "Everyone Wins Giveaway"! This is an awesome opportunity to snag an item of hers just by following her and re-posting about it on your blog! Head on over now for more information!

I promise I'll be back soon with LOTS of pictures and ideas from the past couple of weeks in my class!
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