Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

Not Just Any Summer Assignment: A VR Summer Learning Experience

This summer, I intend to go to Disney World and other parts of Florida, the Outer Banks, Ocean City, New York City, a Kansas City Royals baseball game, the Grand Canyon, the White House, a NHL Finals game, a cruise, and I plan to go to all of those places without leaving my house. How? With the Cardboard Camera app, Google Cardboard, and Google Classroom. I have given my sixth grade students one last assignment, and this assignment will run all summer long. Their assignment is to bring along their classmates on their summer vacation trips using the Cardboard Camera app, by uploading their images to Google Classroom for their classmates and myself to view on our Google Cardboards (we had a Google Cardboard make and take night in early May, so the students are really into VR now), and finally collaborating on a Google Slide (Take Us With You On Vacation). Benefits to this assignment: 1. Let's start with the obvious. It is really cool. Who doesn't want to try out VR? The students ab…

Top 10 Things I Learned from Being a Principal for Seven Weeks

For seven weeks, I was an interim, elementary principal in one of my district's elementary schools. It was an opportunity and experience that was invaluable. When I began I was nervous and full of anxiety, but when I ended, I had wonderful memories, great new relationships, and a very real and meaningful learning experience.  So as I look back on my seven weeks as an elementary principal, and try to put things into perspective, these are my top ten things I have learned.   Be Visible From my very first day, I knew I had to be out of my office and in the halls, classrooms, cafeteria, and out on bus duty. I needed to show students, parents, teachers, and staff I was there for them. I could not do that from staying in my office trying to sort through all the emails and paperwork. While those needed attention, being visible was more important.  Be Real While I was filling in for another principal in his building, I still I had to be myself as I addressed issues and worked with others. I co…

Flipping Out for Faculty Meetings

This year my classroom grew from about 25 students to about 665 students, as I made the transition from sixth grade teacher to elementary principal. It has been an exciting and enjoyable transition. It has also been interesting being on the other side of things. For example, being on the other side of faculty meetings.

September's faculty meeting I did the traditional approach. Scheduled it. Sent out an email reminder. Met with the faculty and started going over what I needed to say, offering very little time for discussion. But then I did change things up about half way through. I introduced our district's Google Expedition VR kits. I took them on a few virtual reality field trips and showed them how they could be used with any subject. Then before I knew it, it was time for the students to arrive.

As I prepared for my October faculty meeting, I thought about how I introduced the teachers to the Google Expeditions VR kits and how teachers in grades 3, 5, and 6 used those a f…