Showing posts from 2012

It Takes Two

In FlipYour Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Everday one of the many suggestion Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams give for making videos your students will love is to "create the video with another teacher".   I will admit that I hadn't actually read "the book" before I began flipping my classroom this year. After my initial introduction to Flipped Learning at the Model Schools Conference 2012, all of my flipping research was done online. The Fizz Institute, The Flipped Learning Network, and Crystal Kirch's website were my "go to" resources for what to do.  

When I first started making my videos (just a few short months ago), I made them all by myself.  Then one day after school I was talking with another fifth grade teacher who was taking steps towards flipping his classroom.  He was saying that he needed to make a video for his class.  The more we talked we decided to make one together.  After we made our video, it was easy to see w…

Silence for Sandy Hook Elementary



December 14th

Normally December 14th is a happy day for me.  You see it's my birthday.  This year I was blessed to be able to spend a quiet evening at home with my husband and my three grown boys enjoying a lovely dinner.  A dinner that had been prepared by the wonderful parents in my classroom. 

But this year was different.  I could not stop thinking about the families whose lives were forever changed.  Families that could not sit down together at the dinner table. There are no words that can adequately express my sympathy for their loss. . . .  My heart goes out to those families, teachers, and the entire community!

For suggestions on ways to help your students cope with this tragedy click here,

I Love Math!!!

That message was posted by one of my students after submitting their assignment on Edmodo. This couldn't have come at a better time. And here I was feeling a little overwhelmed because a little video was not loading properly.  Not to mention the fact that after re-reading Delia Bush's post, "How am I Making This Work?", I have come to the realization that I need to create a calendar, a chart or something with their assignments and video schedules for the entire unit. Which means I need to plan ahead... way ahead.  (and if you know me, you know that is really out of my character).

If you are thinking about flipping your class, I would also recommend you check out Crystal Kirch's FAQ's on her blog.  I have mentioned before how her students use WSQ when completing their assignments.  I really want to give a "shout-out" to Crystal for commenting on my last post!  Just those little suggestions you made have made a big difference in such a short time with…

I've watched the video, now what?

I don't know how else I need to say it or what I need to do to help my students understand they are expected to complete a WSQ reflection (Watch, Summarize, Question) each time they watch a video. This idea came from Crystal Kirch.  After the assignment has been posted, I will usually get 1 or 2 posts on Edmodo asking if the WSQ is optional or do they even have to do a WSQ.  I have said it over and over. I have even written it as part of the instructions for completing the assignment. Granted, I don't write it every time. I really shouldn't have to, should I?
I have given them the choice of using a Google Document or completing the form in their math notebooks. I am also thinking whether or not students should be required to use the Google document each time or should they just write their responses in their notebooks or type them on a Word template and then print and glue them in their notebooks.
I am starting to think that requiring them to use the Google Document is m…

What Are You Thankful For?

In light of the approaching holiday season, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about all the things I am thankful for in my flipped classroom rather than focus on the things I want to improve. So here is my thankful list:

I am thankful for...

Students that watch their videos and complete their WSQ forms after watching (and the ones who don't).

Parents that are supportive of our flipped classroom.

Administration that supports what I am trying to do in my classroom.

Tech Support that is always so helpful when I call (and I call a lot) with technical issues.

A tech savvy teacher next door that is always eager to help when I can't wait for Tech Support.

An online community of flippers and educators that are so willing and eager
to share their experiences with others to help make all of our classrooms better!

What are you thankful for?

Happy Holidays!

Creating a Cube

To begin our unit on volume the students created a cubic meter using meter sticks.



Hard at Work!


It's amazing how hard students will work when a game and a little friendly competition are involved.  
My students practiced adding decimal numbers with a game I found on Math Teaching Resources called Decimal Addition to 500.  This site has several games and hands-on activities all aligned with the Common Core Standards.   
All you needed to play this game was a deck of playing cards.  I added the red counters, so my students could separate the whole number from the decimal.  The students draw 3 cards and make a 3 digit decimal number.  Even numbers are whole numbers and odd numbers are decimals.  They draw 3 more cards and add their two numbers together.  The first player to reach 500 is the winner.  The complete instructions can be found on the web site.   I really like that there are games using Base 10 blocks to really teach the concepts of place value.  We also played Base Ten Decimal Bag Addition and Subtraction.  It was very easy to see why place value is imp…

Getting Back on Track

Last week was conference week. The students also had to complete their Benchmark test in math.  The test was spread out over 3 days, so between me trying to make sure I had documentation and observations ready for conferences,  and the students completing their tests and other missing assignments/videos, I wasn't too thrilled with the activities during math class. In my opinion, the level of students engagement was not what it had been in previous weeks. 
With that being said, almost 100% of my parents mentioned how pleased they were with the format of our class.  They seemed to feel that they actually understood what they kids were learning because of the videos.  I did say almost didn't I?  I had one parent express concern because their child was NOT bringing home math worksheets (like their sibling).  I explained the format of my flipped class and the reasons I have decided to organize my class this way. In the end, I did suggest they have their child use IXL for more pract…


The first 9 week period is over.  I really should be working on my report cards but working on my blog is a welcome distraction.   So I figure this is a good time to reflect on what things have gone well and what things I will revise?
The WSQ Form I got this idea from Crystal Kirch.  It is a way for students to show what they have learned from watching the videos.  I still have some children that prefer to write their WSQ responses in their notebooks rather than type them and attach them online.  This means I have to physically check their individual notebooks rather than checking their assignments on line. On our last assignment  I attached a Google form with 3 questions they had to respond to.  I like having all their responses in 1 place.  This is something I will continue to use.
Videos I still have a few students that are not watching their videos at home.  About 3 of them do not have Internet access at home and the other 2 or 3 always seem to forget.  Right now, when they first …

Edmodo - Easy as 1-2-3

Last year one of my students asked me to set up an Edmodo account for the class.  I told her I would look into it, but somehow I never really found the time.  Looking back, I wish I had made the time.  I had no idea  what Edmodo was not to mention what a difference it could make in my classroom.  So I thought I would give you step by step on how I started implementing Edmodo as an integral part of my flipped classroom,  then maybe you will find the time to make it work in your classroom.  
1. First, I joined Edmodo using my district's Join code.  Then I created a group for my class.  I had to get parental permission for each student to set up their account on Edmodo.   While waiting on the permission forms (it didn't take long- 1 day to be exact) we discussed the importance of good digital citizenship, and the rules they would need to follow to keep their posting privileges:  using respectful language and being courteous when posting, using school language not texting langua…

Factor Tic-Tac-Toe


 We learned that you can use the area model, partial products, and the standard algorithm to solve multi-digit multiplication problems.  So today we played Factor Tic-Tac-Toe to practice using those strategies. Each group of partners had a tic-tac-toe game board, 2 or 3 dice, a white board, and a calculator.  The first partner placed a counter on one of the 2 digit numbers on the board.  Then they rolled 2 dice to determine  what their other factor would be. If they rolled a 6 and a 3, their number could be 63 or 36. Next, they chose one of the strategies to  solve their problem on the white board while the other partner used the calculator to check their  work.
While watching the students playing the game, I realized some students weren't too comfortable with the standard algorithm and preferred to use the area model or partial products.  That really surprised me.  .  .I thought that would be the strategy most of them would choose. This evening I made a video re…

A Child Will Lead Them

What's holding you back from flipping?  If you are worried that you don't know enough about technology to stick your toes into the flipping pool, don't let that stop you.  I call the tech department in our county at least once a week because I can't figure something out. Maybe more.  They are always very helpful. Today was different though. 
Today a couple of my students took the lead.  They used my laptop and Smart Board to show students how to upload files to their backpack and attach a file in Edmodo. Two students took it upon themselves to write a follow-up post reminding their classmates of the procedures after they got home.

Tonight I added a poll to Edmodo asking students what they thought they still needed help with on Edmodo. I will take those results and form small technology groups, lead by students of course! When I was checking assignments tonight, I saw that another one of my students had used something to do her work on the computer and then she attach…

It's More Than Just the Videos

I know I keep stressing out about making these videos.  But flipping the class is not just about finding and making videos for your students to watch at night.  How will "flipping my class" be different from what I did last year?  When I think about it, I had some content videos linked on my class website last year, still do. I often reminded my students, "you know, you can watch these at home" or "If you need to review, you can go on-line during independent reading and watch that video".  The closer we got to our end-of-the-year assessment, I found myself encouraging my students to watch the content videos whenever they had time; especially the students who needed review or who were absent during instruction for whatever reason: illness, small group pull-out, or whatever. 
I am beginning to understand what Brett Wilie meant when he said "Flipping is not just about the videos"!  I had videos last year. One way my flipped class will be differen…

The Videos Are Coming!

Have I mentioned before that Edmodo is a wonderful social platform for flipping your class?  And I don't mean just for communicating with students and parents, for posting assignments, grades, quizzes, videos and what have you.  NO, I am constantly finding it to be a powerful site for professional development!  Just yesterday I read a post from Mrs. Kennedy.  She posted a link to Learn Zillion, a site that has videos based on the common core standards for grades 3-5.  Just about every standard has videos that can be easily used if you are flipping your classroom.  Did I say it has videos?  I mean really good videos! 

Even though Learn Zillion has wonderful videos (and I do mean wonderful) I still want to make my own.  But do I even need to make my own videos? In Why It Has to Be MeKatie Gimbar gives the following reasons teachers should invest the time and energy to create videos for their students: there is a level of trust between the students and teacher, there is accountabili…

I Finally Did It!

This is the beginning of the third week of school and I was finally able to post a video to School Tube and link it directly to my Edmodo library! I am doing my "happy dance"! That was a major accomplishment.  I can't tell you how many times I have tried to upload a video.  Just when I thought I had it, I would get a message from one of my students saying "I can't see the video".  So I would have them watch the video in class the next day.  I finally ended up using Screencast-O-Matic to record directly from my laptop. So today I decided to try, try again and BAM!  There it is.  I was able to use the School Tube app that was directly on the Edmodo site.  Ultimately I want to record my videos with a picture in a picture.  I have read articles that the students are more engaged when they can actually see the teacher teaching in the video.  Well, this is my video.  It's very basic, but Hey!  It's a start.  I know my videos can only get better. Now if I …

My First Video

I am trying to post my first video and I have encountered a few problems.  Nothing that serious, but it's a little frustrating.  Originally I wanted to post a video for sneak-a-peek, but around 10:00 A.M. I realized that was not going to happen!  Did I mention that Sneak-A-Peek started at 12:30?  I quickly realized it would have been a little awkward for parents to be watching a video while I was standing right there in the room. 
So move on to Plan B.  I decided that I would still make the video, but it would be for the parents that were not able to attend.  Good idea, huh?  OK . . .  I have made the video but I am still waiting for it to be approved by Teacher Tube so I can get an embed code to post it on my class web page.  I have it in my Edmodo library, but that won't do any good since my parents have not joined my group yet.  I will have to wait until all of my parent permission forms are returned and by that time it will be a moot point. So I thought I would post it on…

QR Codes . . Take 2

I was having lunch with a friend of mine today and asked her had she read my recent post on using QR Codes in school.  She said "I read that thing, but it was too complicated!"   When I asked her what she meant by that, she told me when she "clicked" on the QR code at the top of my last post, nothing happened. "The thing just got bigger". (Insert chuckle) :-) You see I had made an assumption about the prior knowledge of people who may have read my post.  Kind of like when teaching children and we sometimes make assumptions about their prior knowledge by assuming they know or have had similar  experiences with something that is crucial to their comprehension.  That's when I realized I had not done my job correctly and  some reteaching was needed.
So let's back up a bit.  Where do the codes come from?   A Teacher's Guide on the use of QR Codes in the Classroom has a list of code generators. I have used Kaywa Code and it was pretty easy.  You ca…

QR Codes

I am so excited!  I have just stumbled upon a ton of new ways to use QR Codes (quick response codes) with my students this year.  I know, I know, I'm kind of slow.  Just last year I discovered I could add the code to newsletters and handouts for parents and they would quickly be directed to my website or a video. 
 But now I find these codes can be beneficial for my students as well.  Imagine that by just adding this code to a handout you can literally send students to videos and other resources to help them review concepts or expand their knowledge.  See for yourself . . . Mrs. White adds QR Codes directly to her review sheets.  Click here to see students using the codes when responding to literature.  Not convinced yet?  There are several videos on YouTube showing other ways to use these codes in elementary classes.  Who knew? If you are already using QR Codes, please share how you are using them in your class.
Education is changing and we're in for a fun ride!!  Are you rea…

Flip Sneak-A-Peek!

I had a light bulb moment early this morning!  Our school has Sneak-A-Peek before the school year begins.  Parents and students are given an opportunity to meet their new teachers and see their classrooms for the first time. It is very informal. What a wonderful opportunity for me to introduce flipping to my parents!

I am going to record a video for Sneak-A-Peek, have laptops set up, so parents can view the short video as part of their visit.  Then I will only have to  say those things I usually have to repeat over and over 1 time!  That will free me up to actually meet and greet the parents and students while they meander through the class. I won't have that nagging feeling that I forgot to tell a parent something.  I will make sure I include instructions on how to join our Edmodo group on the video.  I think this will be a great opportunity for parents to experience the flip for themselves!  What do you think?

Can You Hear Me Now?

I still get a chuckle, when I think about the response I got from my co-worker after asking for her opinion on an external microphone I was going to order.  Megan is my "next door teacher", who is also our resident computer expert.  Whenever I experience a technology problem in class, whether it be with the Smartboard, document camera, or even my laptop, I head next door.  Without giving it a second thought, she walks in my class and with a click here and a click there, magically fixes the problem. It had gotten to the point that whenever something went wrong, as it often does with technology, the students would say, "Do you want me to go next door and get Mrs. Huss?" 
So, originally I was thinking that I needed to order an external microphone to record the videos.   I would like to start flipping right off the bat with a video on class routines and procedures.  Of course, we will discuss what they learned together in class.  Then the videos can be used whenever …

Common Core, Flipping the Class . . .Help!!

In a little more than 4 weeks I will be officially returning to the classroom facing new changes and challenges.  I love a challenge!  As if implementing the new Common Core Standards were not enough, I have made a decision to flip my classroom this year. Why you might ask? 
Flipping my class will free up more time to work with my students both individually and in small groups throughout the day. Students will view and review material at home or at computer stations in class if needed.  Instead of spending precious class time spoon-feeding my students content information, they will spend more in-class time applying what they have leaned while engaged in activities designed to enhance rigor and relevance.  In a nutshell, flipping my class will free up time so I can meet the needs of all of my students.  Will these changes mean I have to completely change everything I currently do?  Absolutely not!
One practice I will continue is reading picture books to my fifth grade students.  Yes!  …

Where Do I Start?

Since I returned from the 2012 Model Schools Conference in Orlando, I have been reading everything I can find about flipping my class. For those of you that don't know what I mean when I say "flip my class" it involves students completing activities they typically do for homework (that often requires teacher assistance) during the school day.

"What will they do for homework?", you might ask.  Simply put, students will watch videos I have selected or created to teach or review content area lessons.  By doing this at home (or in small groups throughout the day) time is available for students to be engaged in activities to practice and apply what they have learned.   In Flipping the Elementary Classroom, Jon Bergmann's advice for teachers who want to begin this is "Don't flip a class...flip a lesson". 
I know I will need to take baby steps towards this goal.  The first thing I need to do is identify the software I am going to use.  It will be i…