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Athletic to Pathetic

I constantly reference basketball in my classroom, as I used to play and coach. I gave up playing over ten years ago, when during the course of one game I had the ball stolen from me and found a pass to me go right through my hands. I knew at that point I had to stop playing competitively, because I had gone from athletic to pathetic in my "athletic career" in one game.

Anyway, when I reference basketball in the classroom, I reference it from the point of a basketball coach (not someone who is pathetic on the court) teaching his players how to shoot a free throw. Once the coach gives the proper technique and then models it, he steps away and lets his players practice. The coach may give pointers here and there, but the point is the coach lets his player practice on his own. The coach only steps in when he sees his player struggle, and sometimes the player will recognize his struggles, and will seek out help. Similarly, shouldn't a teacher consider doing the same?

With this idea in mind, I got an exciting math textbook this week. (Didn't think I'd ever say that.) Funny thing was, I wasn't the only one excited about it. The students and the parents were excited about it, too. So what is it that makes this math textbook so exciting?

What I find exciting about this textbook is the fact that it has a QR code that links out to a video tutor for every lesson, which easily allows me incorporate a flipped classroom into my already blended learning classroom. I will now be able to spend more time meeting individual student needs and therefore personalizing student learning even more. Since they already will have viewed the lesson, it frees up more time to go around to all the students and give help and enrichment where needed, as well as building stronger relationships with my students along the way. I am aware that from time to time, I may find students need a whole group lesson on a particular topic, and by flipping my classroom, I should be able to see that more easily than ever before.  

The students can now learn anytime, anywhere with the flipped lessons. They can watch the lesson when they prefer to learn best. They can learn an actual math lesson from some place other than school. They no longer have to wait on a trusted adult or older brother or sister at home to reteach them the lesson. They can rewind parts they do not understand, and it also allows students to work ahead to lessons they find more challenging without waiting for me. They can also keep up with the class when they are absent.

And parents no longer have to call other parents asking how they solved that night's math problems. Parents no longer have to try to reassure a frustrated child in tears that things will be okay if they don't complete their homework because they don't know how to do it. Parents no longer have to worry about Googling the "right" lesson. Parents no longer have to worry about picking other siblings up, getting back to start dinner, cleaning up after dinner, helping their children get bathed, and then worry about how in the world to help with their child's math. Parents can put their focus back on the real homework, which is building close, strong, and caring relationship with their child.

In the end, incorporating flipped lessons into my blended learning classroom makes sense to me. I have plans in place  for students that have the ability to use QR codes, that have Internet access, but maybe not the capability to use QR codes, and for students with no Internet access at all. With all of that in place, learning can now take place anytime, anywhere.


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