Loggerheads

I’m at loggerheads with myself. Why, might you ask? Well, it’s because I’m on a neverending mission to be an awesome teacher. Let me explain.

I was really intimidated my first few weeks as a brand new teacher. I did the usual teacher thing. I begged, borrowed, and stole a ton of lessons and resources. I taught using notes, drill and practice, and boring lectures. It worked okay for most of my classes.

I had one class it didn’t work for at all, so I changed it up. I gave a brief overview in one of my other posts, so I’ll be even briefer here. Basically, it works kind of like a traditional flipped classroom, with the exception that my students don’t need to watch the videos at home. I recorded brief (less than 8 minute — usually 3 – 5 minute) videos for each lesson. I play one lesson per day, which sets the average pace for the class. Students who are faster than the average bear can watch a video on my laptop with headphones in, as can students who are a bit behind the average bear. (Out of my nicely sized class of 18, about 10 students are average bears.) The students then complete an assignment that correlates with the video. Rinse and repeat. Every few days, I do a “skill check” which is like a mini quiz that assesses the different indicators/skills for the unit. I assess each skill twice within the set skill checks. I use these instead of the ominous unit exam. At the end of the unit, the students complete a project to pull it all together. Let me tell you – this model worked great for my class! I’ve tweaked it a bit for the next unit to make it even better. I’ll keep you posted.

For my Math 9 course, I’m trying a similar thing, but flipping it. I’ve significantly adapted the Polynomials unit that I’ve posted above. Again, I’ll keep you posted on how this goes and what changes I’ve made.

I also teach Career Ed. It is going pretty good, as we are using the laptops a lot of lots of exploration. It’s mostly inquiry-based, but I know I want to revamp how I taught the course already.

And now, the loggerheads part. I also teach Psych 20. I am having a terrible time trying to figure out how to deliver the huge amount of information they need to know without giving them pages and pages of reading or pages and pages of notes! They are bored and don’t remember the notes anyway.

Last week, I gave half the class one article and the other half of the class another article, both on schizophrenia. They then used Old School Twitter (hand-written) to tweet back and forth with their classmates to summarize what they learned. That was an awesome activity, and my students learned a ton.

Sadly, that’s all I can think of to deliver this information to them,  besides notes. I need some good suggestions! It’s a social psychology course, if that makes any difference. Any advice would be much appreciated!

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