Saturday, May 31, 2014

10 TEDs to Create a Learning Environment for Your Classroom

10 TEDs to Create a Learning Environment for Your Classroom

It is my humble opinion that the number one key to the success of a "Learning Classroom" is the development of a classroom environment that values learning over the accumulation of grades.  Creating a community of learning that we all benefit when we all participate in the process of gaining knowledge.   While this may seem "utopian", there is an actual joy that comes about in students who lose the the stress of being defined by a letter.  

I use these TED's in my classroom and as home viewing content to assist in the development of that learning environment for the students entrusted to my care.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Back to the Classroom – Taking It Beyond the Content

Back to the Classroom – Taking It Beyond the Content

Okay so now you have library of digital resources to provide 
content for your students. 
Now What???

You have all of the support mechanisms in line to make sure every student has access to the tools necessary to watch those resources.  The administrators have been pacified, parents have been appeased and the students know what’s happening.

Now it hits you, what happens next in your classroom?  What do you do with all this class time since you don’t need to lecture anymore?  You have all these short demonstrations that you have squeezed into lecture time. Your labs have all been cut down to 30 minutes to fit them in with all the content you had to cover.  And on top of that you have to begin adopting the new standards format set forth by the Next Generation Science Standards. What happens after the video?

There is no one model for the flipped classroom.  Each educator must choose the model that best suits the environment of their classroom, the needs of their students and the, outcomes expected from their specific class, course, department, school and district.

In order to maximize the learning potential of the students, the classroom must be an environment that safe and comfortable for both the educator and the student.

The nature of your classroom model is only limited by your imagination and energy.

While no one model is best, most teachers find that adopting parts of several of the classroom teaching models work best depending upon the nature of the course, subject, topic and learning goals associated with that classroom
Four basic models of the flipped classroom include:

·      Traditional Flipped Model
·      Inquiry Based Approach
·      The Flipped Mastery Approach
·      Project Based Learning

Traditional Flipped Model

This is a good place to begin for most teachers. 

Educators provide access to learning resources in the class and take the role of “Guide on the Side” as students work in peer groups to apply, teach, learn, unlearn and relearn.
Students are encouraged to take an active role in their own learning process.

Inquiry Based Approach

Students learn to take ownership of their own learning by searching for answers about their own questions.  Students can work independently or in groups to conduct the inquiry process.  Students are encouraged to follow the steps of the scientific method in this approach: 
·      State the Problem
·      Research the Concept
·      Form a Hypothesis
·      Test the Hypothesis,
·      Gather and Process Data
·      Form Conclusions
·      Present the Work

Flipped Mastery Approach

This model allows the educator to truly become the “Guide on the Side” as this is a self-directed learning model where students work at their own pace to gain mastery of a concept before moving on to the next topic.  Students can work independently or in peer group teams.  Educators monitor student progress and encourage students to maximize their potential. 

This model provides the best opportunity for differentiation in the classroom.  The accelerated learner can move through the material quickly and provide opportunities to explore content beyond the framework objectives.  Students who process at varying levels can achieve the framework objectives at their own pace and using a variety of digital content and assessment modes.  Students who find passion in specific topics can spend extra time and dig deeper into the content material in order to satisfy intellectual curiosity.  

Project Based Learning

Using real-world problems to inspire students to apply content to the solution, students use critical thinking and problem solving to create solutions.  Learning objectives go beyond the understanding of the content but are dependent upon the application of the knowledge in some concrete demonstration.  Students are encouraged to create self- assessment and feedback loops to monitor their progress and the ultimate success of their project outcome.  This model encourages students to develop the 21st century skills necessary to enter the job market of their future.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Seven Stepping Stones to a Flipped Classroom

Seven Stepping Stones to a Flipped Classroom

The “flipped classroom” is not the newest fad that will save education.  It will not replace textbooks.  It certainly will not replace teachers.  And it definitely will not make every student all of a sudden love school and turn in every assignment.

However, with a little extra work up front, a little more imagination and an openness to change the parameters of the traditional classroom, the flipped classroom could create opportunities to provide more content, create extra time in your classroom, develop opportunities to interact with students and empower them to take charge of their own learning.

Oh there will be push back.  Students will complain, parents will wonder, colleagues will question and administrators may balk.  Student complaints will include things like, “your not teaching us,” “I used to get my homework done while you lectured,” ‘my dog ate my hard drive,” and “I don’t get it.”  Parents will wonder, “why is there no homework,” “what do you do in class all day,”” why is my child on the computer all the time,” and “why are you not teaching my child?” Colleagues will ask, “Why, What and How?” And Administrators will balk at, “What is this going to cost?” and “How are you going to meet the standards?”

To get a handle on all of this and make the transition easier, there are basic step that will make the process move a little smoother and provide opportunities to get all of the publics on board. 
The Seven Stepping Stones for implementation of the flipped classroom include:

1.     Brainstorm
2.    Create
3.   Design
4.   Prepare
5.    Set Outcomes
6.    Build a Library
7.    Create a Portal


The first thing to do is decide how you want to transition into the world of flipped learning. Do you want to spend the summer creating an entire semester of content and go “whole hog”?  Are there specific lessons or content areas that make sense for your subject matter? Do you want to have a flipped day?  Monday will be flipped homework and Tuesday will be the Flipped Classroom day.  What content can you create or find easily?  Is there a special unit or class project that flipping might enhance? Remember not all lessons can nor should be flipped.  The teacher facilitator must do what is best for all students and must maintain their own sanity.

Create the “flipped” homework assignment.  Determine what the students will watch.  What is the content that the students will need?  Do you need to make your own video?  Is there something already available on line or from your textbook?  What media can or should be used?  Is this a lesson or a unit?  What will the students do?  And, how will you create accountability?


Design the classroom follow-up activity.  How will the classroom become student centered?  Will the activity be a project?  Will inquiry be the focus?  What choices will the students have in demonstrating their knowledge?  How will the learning be assessed? How will the students take ownership of the content knowledge they have been exposed to?

Get students prepared for the “flipped experience”.  Outline expectations and
parameters.  Encourage the students to take charge of their learning.  Demonstrate 
how to use the media.  Explain all the options and choices available. Be proactive in 
assisting students who have special needs or lack access to the technology.  Offer 
options and possible solutions for all students to feel they can be successful.

Set Outcomes

Determine expected outcomes and processes for assessing the learning.  Prepare for success but be ready to support failure and develop areas for improvement.  Provide opportunities for growth and varieties of methods to demonstrate learning and mastery of the content standards.
Build a Library

Develop a library of resources that can and will engage all students. Provide choices 
in what the students can watch.  Evaluate media for the effectiveness of delivery of 
the content, engagement for the students, presentation of the content standards and 
development of formative assessment. Encourage students to use other resources to 
further their understanding of the content. Allow students freedom to take care of 
their own learning.

Create a Portal

Determine how to deliver the content.  Does your school offer a platform for the organization of the content library?  Do you need to develop your own portal?  Is there something already available that can be adopted to fit the needs of your students and your classroom?  Can you use a platform like Moodle, Blackboard, Ted Ed, Vimeo or YouTube to put your content in a format that is user friendly for both you and your students?

Now it is time to start “Flipping”!!!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Online Resources for Flipping Your Science Classroom

Flipping Your Science Classroom
Online Resources

General Flipped Classroom Resources                                                        Flipped Learning Network                                                     Flipped Learning Network                                                     Turning Learning –On Its Head                                             Flipped Learning Journal             Twitter Flipped Search                              EdReach                                                       Ed Tech Coaching                                     Flipped Out Learning

Shared Digital Resource Sites                                                                     TED Ed                                                                          TED                                                              Learn Zillion                                                 Kahn Academy                                                   CK-12                                                   Bright Storm                                                                     Socratic                                                             Sophia                                             Teaching Channel                                                        You Tube                                                             Teacher Tube                                                                     Vimeo                                              Periodic Table of Elements

Online Tools                                                      We Video                                                  National Archives – Digital Vaults                                                        Screenr                                      Screencast-o-matic                                               Educreations                                                Gamestar Mechanic                                                             Scratch

Blogs to Follow
Jonathan Bergmann                   
The Self Directed Learner                   http/
Aaron Sams                               
Ramsey Musallam                     
Greg Green                                
Brian Bennet                              
Crystal Kirsh                              
Graham Johnson                        
Corbitt Simons                           
Timonious Downing                  
Matinga Ragitz                           

Science Sites                                                            PhET Science Simulations                                             Bozeman Science                               Crash Course                                                      Science Is Fun                                      Steve Spangler Science                                                         Understanding Science                                       Earth Exploration Toolkit                                                Periodic Table of Elements                                                        Videos: Ri Channel                                                     Science Live                        Interactive Sites for Education                         24/7 Science            NASA Simulations