Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hard at Work!

Decimal Addition to 500

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. 
Hard at Work
 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 important when you are subtracting decimals (that was our Essential Question). I couldn't for the life of me figure out why I kept getting the wrong answer to a student's problem.  Then it finally dawned on me that I was subtracting .02 on paper when the student had actually pulled out .2 from the bag.  Talk about a teachable moment!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

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 the 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 practice items.  Hopefully, I was able to help them understand my reasons for flipping. Now that I think about it, I can also send them the link to my web page about flipped classrooms.  

I did make a Google form for the students to fill out while watching a video.  I liked having all of their responses on 1 spreadsheet.  While walking to lunch, one of my students mentioned how they liked the Google form better than having to attach a WSQ document and could I do that from now on.  Now I'm wondering did he think it was easier because submitting the google document was easier than uploading the WSQ or was it because he did not have to summarize the video on his own but respond to 3 questions on the document? 

I also made a QR Code sheet for adding and subtracting decimals and I have some different activities planned for partner and group work, so maybe we can get back on track next week.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


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.

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 come in class in the morning they use the desk top computers to complete their assignment.  I will also let some of them go to the media center to work on their assignment.  When I post a video, I usually give them 2 days before the assignment is due.  That helps but there are still some students that I have to speak with individually about completing their assignments.  I have a feeling this would probably be true no matter what the assignment.

When I started flipping this year, I focused mainly on math.  I have used screencast-o-maticEducreations, and Smartboard to record my videos. I like Educreations for explaining math concepts. The screen is small on the IPad, but you can have more than 1 page in your video.  The down side is that you can not edit your videos. When I watch the video I usually find some silly mistake that I've made (like calling the dividend the divisor).  In class you can correct your mistake and move on but on a video you have to rerecord the entire video, and being the perfectionists that I am I rerecord the video.  There have been times  when I have recorded the video 5, maybe 6 times before I was satisfied.  I got a 30 day trial for Camtasia, but I have not had time to try it out.  It allows for editing.  I am anxious to see how using this software will make a difference.  I ultimately want to record my videos with picture in a picture technique.  That will come. 

One suggestion I have is to watch the entire video before posting it to Edmodo as an assignment.  I usually post assignments later in the evenings, so I can make sure it is correct before my students view it the next day.  What I didn't realize was every time I create an assignment my parents get an email.  When I delete and re-post the assignment, they get another email. One night I had deleted and re-posted the assignment so many times that a parent sent me an email because they thought someone had hacked into my Edmodo account. 

Moving On
Eventually I want to add a form so the students can check off their videos and WSQ forms as they complete them. I would have the concepts for the entire unit along with the assignment.  This would allow students to work ahead if they wanted to.  I recently participated in a webinar hosted by Crystal Kirch and she shared a form that she uses.  She has the entire unit mapped out with the videos and assignments in advance.  This will take some discipline on my part.  But it is something to work towards.  Now back to those report cards!

In memory of Sweet Sadie


Wow! I can’t believe I have not posted anything this entire school year! I’m not sure what that means. I have decided that I will be retir...