What do I do with the extra time?

This past September I choose to embrace the Flipped Classroom as my method of instruction. This was the biggest risk I have untaken in my short 5 year career. I worked tirelessly all summer making websites, Moodle Test Banks, and countless screencasts in order to make a better way for my students to learn. Reflecting on the first five months of the Flipped Classroom I am quite satisfied with the results and feedback from students/parents. Sure there were ups and downs but I am confident that I created a better environment for my students to learn. Yet at the same time I knew something was missing….

As a first time Flipper I definitely did not make my life easy. I flipped two classes at once, Pre-Calculus 11 and Foundations & Pre-Calculus 10 and did full Mastery / Differentiated learning. I would not recommend this if you want to keep your sanity! I put all my effort into creating comprehensive videos, fill in the bank notes and Moodle quizzes but lost sight of what the Flipped Classroom is all about………creating more time in the classroom to do meaningful learning activities. The meaningful learning activities are where things lacked. I incorporated journaling which was a huge success, we did the odd math lab, but for the most part it was just students doing additional questions with the help of their peers and myself. This was better than my traditional lectures, more time with students doing math rather than watching math but it wasn’t the rich activities I had envisioned. I had the extra time I always wished I had, but was not using it effectively.


What do I do with the extra time?

My goal for the second semester is to add some rich learning activities to my math classroom. I still feel that there is a place for typical math questions but it is my hope the following activities will build on my students learning and also be fun!

  • Journaling
    • Journaling was a lot of fun first semester. One student said I was the first teacher they had ever had not give up on journaling after the first month. (I guess that’s a compliment!) I got my students to journal using prompts that I would give them from time to time, unit summaries, and quiz and test corrections. The feedback at the end of the year I got about the journals blew my mind…….students actually thought they were useful. I loved this because they acknowledged that journals were helping them learn. Journaling’s a keeper, meta-cognition!
  • White Boarding
    • Thanks to my amazing colleague Carolyn (@okmbio) I discovered the world of whiteboarding. Students loved them, we purchased small ones for each student with grids for graphing and they were used all the time. I am just about to get some large whiteboards cut so I can do extreme whiteboarding with small groups. Here are some of the activities I am looking forward to trying
  • Math Labs
    • Math Labs were ugly. The Math Labs that the worktext uses are boring. The idea of doing a Math Lab out of the same book we always use isn’t cutting it. I did a number of them because this was my first run through at a brand new course (new curriculum). My hope for the next semester is to spend a lot of time on this to look for math labs that are interactive, engaging, and allow students to get their hand dirty with math!
  • Student Screen Casting
    • Why am I making all the videos? My thought is to get students to do a review video at the end of a unit. Perhaps in small groups….

I think if I can add these activities to my regular repertoire it will make my classes more engaging and break up the monotony of doing question after question. Are there any math specific activities that you do in your Flipped Classroom?


About flippingmath

Math Teacher, Flipper, Blue Jays Fan
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4 Responses to What do I do with the extra time?

  1. smclea12 says:

    Those some excellent ideas to use for next semester. They definitely will promote deeper learning and be fun at the same time. You do an incredible job at OKM, thanks for being an instructional leader at our school.

  2. “One student said I was the first teacher they had ever had not give up on journaling after the first month.”

    As someone who’s given up on it after the second month of school (while teaching another subject, but I’ll potentially be flipping Geometry), can you say what you do with them?

    My problem with journals is that I didn’t find time to read them and felt that while they were probably good for the students to write them, they were probably more busy work (or perceived as busy work). I’ve had colleagues successfully have students do reflections after tests and I’m DEFINITELY implementing that. But I’d love to hear more from you.

    Thanks for all your videos on flipping. Starting to make my way through the blogs of you and your colleague.

    • flippingmath says:

      I use journals in the following ways:
      – students do their quiz corrections in them, then at the end of the unit or year they have a list of what they struggled with. In the corrections they are ‘supposed’ to tell me what they got incorrect, show me how to do it right, and lastly talk about how they can avoid the error.
      – students do a unit summary, either after the entire unit or after each video. I like to vary it up. Similar to quizzes, gives students a good summary to have. I also find students forget some of the things at the beginning of a unit even though they are technically easier
      – I also do random and/or assigned prompts. ‘How is your work ethic?’ ‘Explain where you would see a parabola in the real-world?’ ‘How is the flipped classroom working out for you’

      I originally thought they were going to just be another thing but after a while a lot of my students have started to buy in. Some feel they are going through the motions, and thats ok. But I think it gives them another tool in their tool box to help their learning. My hope is they may continue to use them outside of my class when they hit University. Maybe I am out to lunch, who knows.

      Great question, how this helps a bit. I feel like I am just starting to get my head around journalling, long way to go!

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