All Means All

It has been an terrible couple weeks. Not because of school, but because I have been sick and I just cannot get over it. I am uncomfortable, a bit ornery, an really tired. My class has not suffered because of a wonderful program called student teaching. My student teacher took over about three weeks ago and has done a wonderful job adjusting to our flipped model.
I bring this up because I have been doing everything I can to get over this sickness. I took a day off and slept the whole day, I have been pounding the Vitamin C like there is no tomorrow. I have taken different forms of medicine to try them all out. The one thing I have not done is slow down much. I have college classes I am taking, an endorsement class, a student teacher (I still need to do the planning and lesson building with him), and I still have this habit of learning more about what to do in class. So I guess I have not been doing everything. I need to take some time off and relax. That just might help me get over this sickness.
Which brings me to my main point. If we look at learning as being healthy and not learning as a sickness, why are we not always trying to do everything possible to get our students to learn? I was reading the book "Simplifying Response to Intervention" and there was a part that said, "All students can learn, except the ones we decide cannot." It goes on to say that we say that all students can learn ann yet we pick out a couple in our classes that we feel will never learn. They are the ones that tend to cause all the problems. They are the ones that we tired off telling the same thing to over and over. The authors go on to say that, "all students mean all students that will someday be financially responsible adults.“ So if they are not learning, we need to treat that situation as a sickness and try everything possible to get that student to learn. Programs, interventions, differentiation, before school programs, after school programs, and even those things that are out of the ordinary.
There is a sickness in some our classrooms that needs to be taken care of. It makes us uncomfortable and the first solution we think of is to not worry about it. That does not take care of the problem, it only keeps it hanging on and transfers it to another teacher. Don't give up or forget any student in the class, or any class. I think of the show Phineas and Ferb. Dr. Doofenschirtz is a problem, and yet all the stories he eludes to when talking about why he is doing something evil tell about something bad that happened to him when he was young. He is looking for love and acceptance.
So what do we do? Keep working and finding solutions. If there is a kid that is making us uncomfortable because of the problems they are causing, find a solution. Do not put those kids off and let them by without finding a solution that works for them. All students can learn, means ALL students can learn. They deserve it.
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Completing the Math Flip

The next piece of our Flipped Classroom has started. We set up the homework for students to complete each night. Most of the students are seeing the need for the homework. We have a couple students that are not completing the work, but they get to complete it at school. That is where the next piece is coming in.

In Math class I have previously been doing the normal schedule where I have students practice their times tables as they come in to help with that skill. After a few minutes I get the students started on the notes for the math topic we are learning that day. After taking a few notes we work on a few problem and practice as a whole group and then do a few practice problems as I roam the room helping students that need a little help. Before I send them to their Language class, we review some concepts from previous lessons and then they head out.

That has all changed. It has taken me a few weeks to set up the way I wanted to work the class. The homework is Sal Khan teaching about the concept and the student taking notes and looking for specific vocabulary. We only have video homework 2-3 times a week. The rest of the time, we expect students to practice skills they need help with (times tables, subtraction, Carrying, borrowing). They can also work on the IXL math site for practice of specific skills we are working on that week. If they do not understand what is happening in the video or a specific piece, they write down a question on the bottom of the page that we can answer or go over the following day.

The next day I start with a question that goes with the homework so I can see what parts the students understand and what they need help on. I let the students work as partners and then explain what they did and how they ended up with their answer. I like to use whiteboards for this part of class. I walk around watching, listening, finding those that need a little help. After about 10 minutes I have them show me their work by holding up their boards (I hope to use the Educreations App soon  so I can play back what students did). I look to see their explanations and decide on four that need a little extra help and four that need basic skills help. This is also where I pull back students that did not complete their homework so they can show that they understand the concept. If they do not, they will watch the homework video so they will understand what we did.

After the question we work on the skills students showed from their practice and review steps to help us in finding the answers as a whole group. We practice a few problems going over the steps and answering questions about the topic. We have a discussion about missteps that might have happened and what to look for when we come upon a problem

We split the group into a couple small groups and a large group. Our resource teacher take the students that need basic skills and she works with them on the one concept I need them to learn that day while working on basic skills. I take the other small group and go step by step the help them understand what piece they are missing so they get the concept and can do a few problems on their own. The large group works on a math page to reinforce the lesson as partners, helping each other using a Tip, TIp, Tell format. If a student is unsure how to do a problem, the partner gives them a  tip to get them started. If they get stuck, the partner gives them a different tip. Finally, if they do not know what to do, the partner helps them through the process of getting the answer by telling them each step and letting the student figure out the problem. If they get finished with the practice page (not drill and kill, busy work) they are able to work on IXL to go into harder problems or review problems they need help on.

The last 10 minutes is spent as a large group reviewing past skills as partners using Kagan Strategies of pairing students. We use the Tip, Tip, Tell strategy as the students use one book, one pencil, one dry erase marker. They complete one problem and pass it to the partner to complete. The student with the book has to explain to their partner what they are doing and thinking as they work on the problem. The partner listens and tips them, if needed. The final minutes are spent as a class having students show how they arrived at their answers and the class cheering their successes.

This is what I imagine a flipped class being. 10 minutes of lecturing, 65 minutes of partnerships working together, small group work, differentiating and discussing skills and strategies. So much better than the 45 minutes of lecturing and 30 minutes of drill and kill. At least the students think so.