Friday, June 29, 2012

Do You Differentiating Your Instruction?

I went to another professional Development yesterday about:

Differentiating Your Instruction!

What is Differentiation?

Changing the pace, level, or kind of instruction provided in response to individual learners' needs, styles or interests.

In the beginning we were given a classroom practice Inventory checklist to see what you are doing in the classroom to differentiate your instruction! I was surprise now how many items I need to work on for next year! Look at the following list and see where you lie!

Place an “x” on each line to show where your currently teaching practices lie on the continuum

Traditional classroom                                            Differentiated Classroom

Covering the curriculum is my first                        I base my teaching on students' learning needs
priority and directs my teaching.                            as well as on the curriculum.

Learning goals remains the same for                   Learning goals are adjusted for students based
all students.                                                          on their needs.

I emphasize mastery of content and skills.           I emphasize critical and creative thinking and              
                                                                             the application of learning.

Students use the same informational                   I match students to specific informational 
resources (books, articles, Web sites).                 resources based on their learning needs and

I primarily use whole-class instruction.             I use several instructional formats (for examples,
                                                                         who class, small groups, partners, individuals).

I tend to group students heterogeneously.         As appropriate, I group students for instruction 
                                                                          based on their learning needs.

All students move through the curriculum         The pace of instruction may vary, based on 
together and at the same pace.                            students' learning needs.

All students complete the same activities           As appropriate, I give students opportunities to 
                                                                          choose activities based on their interests.

I tend to use similar instructional strategies         I use variety of instructional strategies
day to day                                                           ( for example, lectures, manipulative, role
                                                                             plays, simulations, readings)

All students complete all activities.                    Students complete different activities based on                                                                               
                                                                           their needs or learning preferences.

All students are involved in all instructional.      I use methods for testing out of work and for     
activities.                                                            compacting (speeding up, eliminating,       
                                                                           replacing) work, as appropriate.

My enrichment work provides more content      My enrichment works demands critical and/or
or more application of skills.                               creative thinking and the production of new
                                                                           ideas, thought, and perspectives. 

In reteaching, I provide more practice using      In reteaching, I use a different instructional
a similar instructional method.                           method from the one I used to teach the material
                                                                           the first time.

My reteaching activities typically involve          My reteaching activities demand higher level 
lower-level thinking-knowledge and                  thinking while reinforcing basic skills and     
comprehension-to reinforce basic skills              content.
and content.

I assume the students have limit or no               Before beginning a unit, I use pre-assessment 
knowledge of curriculum content.                     strategies to determine what students already    

I usually assess student's learning at the            I use ongoing assessment to check students'
end of an instructional sequence.                       learning throughout an instructional sequence.

I typically use the same assessment tools,         I allow for learner differences by providing a
product, or project for all students.                    variety of ways to show learning. 

(from Differentiation Instruction in the Regular Classroom: How to reach and teach all learners, Grade 3-12 by Diane Heacox)

I will posted some of the keys points on the workshop tomorrow! Anyone surprised on where your teaching practices lie?  I have to admit, I had more X on the traditional side than I would have liked. I will need to work on that and hopefully flipping my classroom will help my classroom be more differentiated! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Web 2.0 Tools

I attended my first Professional Development Workshop yesterday!

The topic was:
SMART Phones Make Smart Students! Using Mobile Devices with Students to enhance the Learning Experience.

Participants will (1) practice using Web tools that can be used with a variety of mobile devices (including iPhones, iPads, netbooks, etc.), (2) practice classroom management techniques that can make using mobile devices with students easier and safer, and (3) review PISD policies and procedures associated with the use of mobile devices in the classroom. Participants are encouraged to bring their own mobile device, such as cell phone, iPad, laptop, etc.

Our Speaker did a wonderful job presenting many of the popular 2.0 web tools and resources that are out there. Since next year will be my first time teaching, I never have tired any of them. I’m planning to mess around with some of tools during the summer to see which one I like best.  Here were some tools that were presented during the workshop!

 A service that allows grouped of individuals to vote within user-generated polls using mobile phone’s text messing capability or simple web form.

This was great since the students do not have to register for this to work. They can just text in their responses or go to a website. I could use this as a quick warm up at the beginning of the class period

Google forms are a useful tool to help you plan events, send a survey, give students a quiz, or collect other information in an easy, streamlined way. 

I am definitely using Google forms as a student assessment to my flip videos.

This online board maker allows you to post thoughts on a topic or to answer a question in a form of a sticky note.

This is so great as it has the ability to for teachers to approve the note before it get posted. This would also be a great warm-up tool.

A Free Online student response system that allows teachers to engage students with a series of educational exercises and games.

This was everyone’s’ favorite application.  It’s so easy to use and it has the ability to import/export with other teacher. You have the ability to have the poll/quiz go at a student or teacher’s pace. There are also app for both the iOS and Android

User’s can respond to prompt. Provide feedback, input comments, etc.

This application was so quick and easy to pull up. It requires no registration from the admin or user! You can keep the room saved for a length of 2hrs-1years. The problem I see with this is that it does not filter inappropriate responses.

 The easiest way to share photo!

We did not get a chance to get to this website so I can’t really comment on it. However, the presenter’s assistant said this website is be far one of her favorite. She  said she uses it for her classroom all the time.

I happened to be on my district’s website and saw this list of web 2.0 tools! There are many on there I have not heard of. I’ll definitely check it out during the summer! Please let me know what other tools that are useful! 

1. Clipextractor -- a YouTube clip extractor
2. PollEverywhere -- Create free text polls online
3. Glogster -- Great way to share posters and images you’ve made with friends.
4. Edmodo -- Social learning environment and one of the best ways to teach with tech.
5. -- Free application to brainstorm online
6. WordPress -- Content publishing system. It’s gone way beyond just blogging.
7. Prezi -- Innovative way to share presentations without PowerPoint.
8. Wallwisher -- An online notice board maker (or bulletin board if you choose).
9. Animoto -- Make beautiful videos from images in a snap.
10. Blabberize 
Make your images talk…that’s right.
11. Weebly 
Create your own website or blog, very easy to use
12. Flickr 
Popular photo-sharing site now lets you print
13. Slideshare 
Don’t waste your presentation after it’s over, share it with millions!
14. Audioboo 
Easily record and share audio
16. GoogleDocs 
The top real-time document creating and editing cloud-based system
17. GoogleSites 
Make your own website while knowing nothing about websites!
18. Diigo 
Popular social bookmarking site
19. GoogleEarth 
View anywhere in the world anytime
20. Wordle 
Create a beautiful aggregation of any amount of text
21. Wikis 
Crowdsourcing at its finest. Like Wikipedia, Wikispaces is very helpful
22. Wix 
Easily make your own flash-based website
23. Ning 
Despite a new cost-based membership program, Ning allows you to have your own social network
24. Primarypad 
Web-based word processor
25. Spicy Nodes 
Innovative way to organize your web visits
26. Delicious 
One of the top social bookmarking sites on the web
27. Myebook 
Virtually publish your book and sell it
28. Voki 
Get your own avatar and even have it talk with your voice
29. DoInk 
Create animations using this simple website
30. Warning Sign Generator 
Make your own caution and warning signs in a flash!
31. Scratch 
Create and share stories, games, art, etc.
32. Kerpoof 
Cool way to make a movie, card, picture, and share it all
33. Tagxedo 
Like Wordle but a step farther as text can be used to build bigger images
34. SmartKiddies 
Creative math and other educational problems to help everyone learn
35. Bitstrips 
Make and share your own comic strips with thousands of others
36. Popplet 
An easy way to share visual ideas
37. Storyjumper 
Easy way to create your own stories for kids and bring them to life
38. Aviary Myna 
Make your own music or remix just about anything else
39. TimeToast 
Fantastic timeline visualization tool to understand history
40. GoAnimate for schools 
State of the art animation tools for schools
41. PBWorks 
Thousands of educational wikis and workspaces (build your own!)
42. Schoology 
Learning management, online education tools, and much more
43. Google Timeline 
A unique way to view the news
44. Online-Convert 
Convert anything to anything (audio, video, text, etc.)
45. ReadWriteThink 
Tons of classroom resources and PD goodies
46. Storybird 
Build your own stories (with images) and share them with others
47. Word Magnets 
Phonics reinforcement and sentence building exercise
48. Museum Box 
Innovative way to understand history
49. Atmosphir 
A build-your-own video game
50. Empressr 
Rich media presentation tool
51. Zoho 
A great alternative to Google Apps
52. EasyBib 
The free automatic bibliography and citation maker
53. ToonDooSpaces 
Easily publish custom comic strips
54. Crocodoc 
Annotate and edit PDFs

Figuring out Flip Teaching

 The first website that I found when I was researching what I could to use to record my videos is managed by Ramsey Musallam. I’m sure most teachers who are flipping had heard of this website because it has such great tutorials and resources!  I am so grateful for his time and dedication for putting it all together.

I am researching what piece of hardware equipment I could use to record my videos. For the past week I have been looking at Wacom Bamboo tablets.  Right now it is a toss-up between the Bamboo Capture and the Bamboo Create.  The major difference for me is that the Bamboo Create has a bigger screen size then the Bamboo Capture but is also $100+ more. I’m not sure if it’s necessary to spend that extra money. I do have the new ipad but I have not really found an app that I could use that my computer will mirror what I write on the ipad without lag…
I am planning to use ScreenFlow to record, my MacBook pro, and some sort of ink pad like Autodesk sketchbook or just use PowerPoint/keynote with OnmiDazzle. I think letting the student being able to see my face while I talk is important because it makes it more personal.
Website to managed videos:
I am looking into options of creating my own website or just use a learning management system like Edmodo or MyBigCampus.

Student accountability:
I am planning to embed a Google form that the students have to fill out while they are watching the video. I’m still not sure what to do with the data. Will I use it as a grade? If so, how much should it weight?  Should I just use it as extra credit? I am looking into Mastery Learning and not just grade every worksheet they complete. I would love to pilot it for the next year. I’m just worry if I’m taking on too much at once!

Again so much to think about, so many decisions to make…… head won’t stop thinking! I can hardly sleep lately because all I’m thinking about is this at night while I’m trying to fall asleep. I guess I’m just too excited!  I’m the type of person that won’t stop until I figure out the answer!! Ahhhhhhh

Cons of Flip Teaching....

I talked to my cooperating teacher when I was student teaching this pasted semester about Flipped Classroom. While she does see some pros with this model, she mainly focuses on the cons. She said it was a bad idea and listed several reasons why she thinks it will not work at the school I’ll be teaching for. She said that if I am passionate about this idea, I should try it, but I might be setting myself up for failure. Several key points that she mentioned are:

Equality: Not everyone will have access to a device that can watch the videos.
In fact, over 70% of the student bodies at the school I’ll be teaching at are on free or reduced lunch. They might not be able to afford to have access to the Internet.  While this is a very valid point, when I was going to school, I qualified for free lunch and my family still could afford a computer with internet access. I am just praying that most students are the same way. If not then I could give them videos on a flash drive to watch on their computer. If they don’t have a computer, I could burn it on a dvd or cd so they can watch it on their dvd player. If there were several students who do not have a dvd player, I would not mind spending my own money on buying portable dvd players so they can use it at home. I will create a survey at the very beginning of the school year to see how many students have Internet accessibility. Being a floating teacher really put a handicap on the situation. I have no place to really call my own so the students could come in before or after school to watch videos if for some reason they could not watch it beforehand.  

 Motivation: How will I get the students will watch the videos?

Most of the students that I’ll be teaching next year are the lower level students.  Chemistry course is supposed to be taken during sophomore year. These are mainly students who were not quiet  ready to take it sophomore year so they take IPC (Integrated Physics and Chemistry) in 10th grade and Chemistry in 11th grade. My future class will compose of inclusion students (where a teacher aid will be in the classroom with me) and many students who simply do not put school on the top of their priority list. My cooperating teacher also mentioned that I could get into a lot of trouble if students do not watch my video therefore they are not learning in my class. She said that if I do it the traditional way and lecture in from of class, at least I could say that I do teach and they just weren’t paying attention. Another teacher from the same school who also taught 11th grade chemistry mentioned that many students tells him that school is a wasted of time. The minute they turn 18, they will not come back to school. The said that they are only in school because the state of Texas says they have too! Students will tell him they know a friend of a friend who makes over $20 an hr welding or have some sort of construction/technician jobs without a college or even a high school degree. I even had a student said that his mom made over $80,000 a year doing what she loves to do which is painting, drawing, and creating murals. His mom never graduated high school. Another student had said that his dad own a car shop and when he finish high school his dad will open one up so he could be the boss.   They feel that high school is a waste of time. How do I motive students like that? I need to find a way to motivate them! That is part of my job! I should have the same high expectation for all my students. If I don’t believe in them, who will? I am their teacher, it is my responsibility to guide them toward the right path, help them see that they are all capable of great accomplishments, and show them how academic achievement will impact their lives in the future.

We will have a shorter amount of time to teach a more intense and rigorous curriculum

In years past, the district gives CBA (Curriculum-Based Assessment) every 6 weeks to get ready for the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) test at the end of the year. Texas had replaced the TAKS with another standardized test called the STARR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness). It is suppose to be harder and will have more in depth questions. The upcoming 10th grader will be the first to take the STARR Chemistry in 2012-2013. I’ll be teaching the 11th grader so they still will be taking the TAKS. However the district still hold the same standards for both the 10th and 11th grader. So instead of having the students take the CBA every 6 weeks, they will take the CBA every 5weeks (at least this is what I heard from another teacher), and to top it all off, it will cover more objectives then the previous CBA! My cooperation teachers said that I should give flip teaching a try. If this fails and the students do not learn anything, it is my responsibility to find time and catch them up.  Then if I cannot find time to catch up, I will be in so much trouble…

There are so many things to think about. I wish I know a teacher in Houston, TX that had success with this that I could personally talk to for advice.  Since this will also be my first year teaching, I am very nervous. However I still think that the benefits will outweigh the cons. I just have to give this a try or else I would always wonder what if? So this summer I have a lot to learn, a lot to think about, and a lot to do to get ready for the next school year. I know that this will be quite a challenge, but I can do it because I believe in myself. I am passionate and dedicated. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Let my teacher career Begin!

I will be a first year teacher for the 2012-2013 school year!

I will be a floating teacher without a classroom to call my own!

I am going to flip my instruction!

I am nervous but at the same time excited!

 Bring it on!

This will be my first teaching job for the 2012-2013 school year as a high school chemistry teacher. I am very excited and there are so many tools and resources out there that I want to integrate into my classroom. The major problem will be that I will not have a classroom of my own and will have to float from room to room pushing a cart. While that will be a whole different challenge of its own, I am preparing myself to take on another challenge. I am going to flip my classroom!

While I was student teaching for a 10th regular chemistry class this pass semester, I notice several things.

1.)   The turn in rate for any given homework is no more than 75%. (Usually 50%)
                  I questioned several students and their responses ranges from:
    “I did not have time.”
    “The homework was too long so why bother.”
   “ I forgot I had homework.”
   “ I lost the worksheet.”
   The most numerous responses were that, “I attempted my     
           homework, but I don’t remember how to do it.”

2.)   How do I help students that were absent for whatever reasons catch up?

                I asked my cooperating teacher and she said, “ it’s the student’s responsibility to catch up.  Tell the student to copy a classmate note and to come in for tutoring if they need extra help. While I totally agree with this statement, the answer still was not satisfying.  I remember being very shy in high school. I did not really talk to anyone or have any real friends. I would be too shy to ask someone for his or her notes. I would also be uncomfortable to come in for tutorial.  Even if I did copy a classmate’s note, it does not mean that I understand the material. Especially in a chemistry class, I need someone guiding me step-by-step thru the process. If I looked at someone’s note, it already has all the steps worked out. This would be a challenge trying to figure out what goes first and what how to get from step 1 to step 2.  When I was student teaching, there were many times students came up to me and said that they don’t understand the material because they were not here. I told them there was not enough time in class to go over the material one-on-one because I have to teach the lesson of the day. I told them to come in for tutorial. While some did, the majority said they have to work after school or have extracurricular activities such as clubs, band, football, softball or cheerleading. When you are a teenager, it’s hard at times to understand which priority would be most beneficial to you in the future.  Many would rather live in the moment and to go dance practice after school than to come in for chemistry tutoring.

     3.)   There is just not enough one-on-one time during a 50min class period.

            When I go thru the lesson cycle, there are usually about 10-15mins left of class for independent practice. I tried to go around to see how everyone is doing, but there is simply not enough time to effectively help all the students that are struggling.  I also want to be able to talk with each one of my students every single day. I want to have time to build positive relationships with all my students.  I believe this is so crucial if I want my students to succeed.

After my student teaching, I reflected back on my experience and I thought to myself, I have to find a way to solve my dilemma for next year when I get my first teaching job. I did some research and somehow I ended up finding the flip classroom model.  The basic concept is to have the student watch the lecture at home so that would free up more class time.  I can have more time to help them one-on-one, more hands on actively, effectively differentiate my instruction, and more time for students collaboration. The flip model takes care of students who are absent. If they are not here, they can watch the video at home. For students who are struggling or did not understand the first time, they can pause and rewind me. I noticed that I tend to teach to the middle level students. I was going too fast for the lower level students, and way too slow for the higher-level students.  With the flip classroom model, students can learn at their own paces! Of course this is not the magical solution to everything that is wrong with education, but this seems like the most ideal answer to my dilemmas. 

In order for me to pilot this at the beginning of the next school year, there are still many things I have to learn over the summer. What hardware and software should I use to record my videos? How do I check for student accountability? What do I do about students without Internet? How will I present the flip model to my students and their parents?  Where should my videos be hosted? Should I make my own website or use a learning management system like Edmodo, Moodle, or MyBigCampus? Will this work since I do not have my own classroom? There are so much to think about.

 My goal for this blog is to use it place to reflect my journey as a first time teacher, a floater, and a flipper.  I will record the struggles that I will face and all the success that I hopefully will have.