It is all too easy to go down the rabbit hole that is talking about the dumpster fire that is year 2020. Am I right?
Seriously it's hard to connect with your friends or be in a social gathering (wait, are we allowed to do that yet?) without the conversation being almost solely about what is pandemic living.
And then it gets even worse if the topic of going back to school comes up. I don't know about you, but I almost try to avoid that topic when I am amongst non-teacher friends. It's hard to hear some comments made about teachers.
Then you open social media or turn on the news and things are even worse when the topic of teachers comes up. Let's face it, no matter what your stance may be on going back to school or not, some of the things that "teachers" are doing and saying right now, meaning groups of teachers or teacher unions, are really hurting the perception of all teachers.
I said it.
Some of the stipulations that are being made by teachers about...
We are all keenly aware that no matter what decision our schools have made about starting the school year, it could change in a split second, more than once. But, as the resilient teachers that we are, we want to be ready for anything.
Many of us are preparing for what we're calling a blended or hybrid format, where we'll have half of our students one half of the week, and the other half of our students the other half of the week, or some variation thereof.
Something I've been saying for a few months now, and that was a rude awakening for many teachers in the spring is that the basic flipping techniques that I teach about on this blog and inside of programs like my online course, Flipped Classroom Formula, are ones that not only allow you the flexibility to make. it. happen. in a blended format, but allow the work you're doing now to count after all this distance learning stuff is over.
But, here's the thing. Will it ever be over? Lord help us, I hope so. The...
Whether your building will be in a completely virtual setting or a mixed bag with the blended model, grading is going to shift in some way in your classroom this coming school year.
And, just like in our Flipped Teacher Facebook group last week, I have a challenge for you...
Let the pandemic and the reality of remote learning thrust upon us make a shift in your grading structures. I don't necessarily know what it should look like, or what the paradigm of grading will ultimately be, but I'd like to contribute some thought-provoking points on this whole grading thing, especially in the context of distance learning.
Could this pandemic and the necessity of remote learning be the catalyst we've needed to make some large, and necessary paradigm shifts in education? Particularly with grades?
I don't necessarily have the answer to that question, but it seems to me that if we teachers have been begging for less testing, more authentic,...
Let's get back to the step-by-step, practical, take-action tips that we teachers so LOVE... is that alright?
This week, I'd like to focus on a very sure reality that is shifting for teachers, and that is making video for our classrooms.
Here's the thing, no matter if we go back to a traditional setting, a hybrid model, or fully online next year, we teachers need to be ready for any of those setups to change one a DIME! As a mother, I am predicting that although my sons' school will start normal next year, entire buildings will be shut down WHEN one student or staff member tests positive. I just don't see how to avoid it.
Please know that I'm not saying that to invoke panic amongst teachers (or mothers for that matter). I offer up my prediction as a way to get ourselves prepared (both as teachers and parents, by the way). Prepared for what, you might ask... prepared to be flexible in an every changing educational setting so that it's not over...
The last couple weeks on the blog have been focused on talking to and hearing from students of the flipped classroom. If you haven't checked those out yet, I would encourage you to here and here.
This week, however, we are shifting gears and our focus to be on teachers not who have just flipped their classrooms, but who have done it by participating in the implementation program that is Flipped Classroom Formula.
Flipped Classroom Formula is the online course I built over a year ago to help teachers not just consider flipping and if it will work for them, but instead to get tools in their hands and actually build the thing. That's right, it's an implementation program where I walk teachers through, step-by-step, exactly how to flip their classrooms like a seasoned veteran without the overwhelm of DIYing it.
But instead of hearing me talk about it, I want you to hear from teachers who have been in the program and flipped their classrooms. Keep in mind that...
Last week's post was a walk down memory lane and a bit of a challenge about talking to students in the flipped classroom - how it allows the time and teacher-brain space to have personal, one-on-one conversations with each of your students more often than the opportunity arises in the traditional classroom.
This week, we'll focus on hearing from students of the flipped classroom.
So often, for various reasons, primarily for safety of students, we only hear about classroom experiences from teachers. Meaning, when it comes to soliciting experience inside the classroom when we're wanting to make decisions for our own classrooms, we only hear from teachers.
I am by NO means saying this is a bad thing, because, hey, even our most mature and articulate students are still, well, kids. Less experienced, holding less expertise, and a different, less informative perspective.
But what if we could hear from students about their classroom in objective ways?
Talking to students.
Who would've thought teachers would be craving such a simple, what was an everyday occurrence?
At the time this post is published, it will be exactly two months since the month of Ohio, where my family and I live, teach, and raise our kiddos, declared school doors would be closing for the foreseeable future.
In those two months, teachers started distance learning by frantically getting their classrooms mostly accessible online. Then teachers were hit with the harsh reality that many, and sometimes most of their students are not working remotely or even at all reachable. And now, as we are broken-hearted over the harsh reality that although distance learning has (and still is) saving lives, it is widening the achievement gap that we all personally trying to overcome minute-by-minute, day-by-day inside of our normal teaching lives.
We, teachers, are the ones who know the names of the statistics inside the achievement gap.
And we are screaming from the...
Raise your hand if you are so totally over this whole online teaching thing? If we were together in person (reminisce on physical presence with another human being real quick - big huge nostalgic sigh - now back to reality), I'm sure we'd reflect on all the things we miss about the classroom and being physically present with our students.
In fact, I think this whole pandemic is teaching us a very solid lesson on the importance of physical presence. With our families, with our friends, coworkers, and especially our students.
In fact, your role as an educator sans students you see on a daily basis is probably nothing more than "messenger and grader". Your role doesn't go much deeper than that because without physical presence any attempts to do so seem superficial and not as effective when done online.
Over the last week or so as we've been hearing the news of schools closing for the year and as I've listened to many teachers about their struggles with online...
In a time of distance learning where teachers are flying by the seat of their pants, and essentially building the plane while in the air when it comes to teaching online, we all are feeling the effects of working our butts off and yet not having the same impact we did when in the classroom.
Except for flipped classroom teachers.
Teachers who had previously flipped their classrooms, in many ways were prepared for a unpredictable setting like this one, as well as their students, because of how the flipped classroom functions.
Please hear me when I say that I am not trying to throw flipped teachers' success during distance learning in the face of teachers who had not previously flipped. NOT AT ALL. I'm not here to shame or guilt anyone (see my posts on these topics here and here).
But I do want to use those teachers who had flipped before the pandemic-induced school closures as a story of success when it comes to building accessible and sustainable classrooms. And...
A very common question I get from teachers about flipping is about the videos themselves. Particularly best practices in making them and what happens when students DON'T watch them.
These are SUPER important questions that you want to be crystal clear about before venturing into flipping. You don't want to put all kinds of time and energy into making these videos just for them to be boring, poor quality, and your students rarely watch them. What a waste.
When I hear teachers ask these questions about flipped video, here's what they are really asking...
Is all the work and time investment in making these videos going to be worth it?
Teachers want to know upfront, as they should.
Now that we have a clear understanding of what we're all dying to know before we start flipping, we can give it an equally clear answer.
I'll answer this question by pointing out the power of flipped videos because it will help clarify the impact we will have as flipped teachers,...