I am a strong believer that you need to vary things up in education. With my last unit of the year I plan to flip things in a different direction… My Grade 10 math students will be running the show, they will complete a peer-teaching unit. They will conduct the lesson completely on their own. Assessment, practice, handouts, videos….everything will be left up to them! The unit I have chosen lends itself quite nicely to it (Solving Systems of Equations) because each lesson is not dependant on the lesson before as with most other math content. So, a student who is preparing to teach the 4th lesson can do so, for the most part, without knowing the first three lessons.
Students will be given this document which tells them what I am looking for: http://www.mathjohnson.com/docs Otherwise I want them to be creative with their lesson. I plan on giving them two classes to research their content and come up with a plan to teach it. I’ll act as a facilitator to keep them moving in the right direction and see where things go….. Letting go of the control of my classroom is tough to do, like many teachers I like control, but I think this is healthy!
Here is why I am doing it:
- If you can teach it, you probably know it. Once in a while I see a student who can bumble their way through a question and get the correct answer without really understanding what they have done. This is not what math is about, I want my students to really understand and be able to communicate what they are doing. As a teacher they’ll need to be able to do just that!
- Each student will become an expert in something. Something is better than nothing! Each student will have a chance to work as a group and lead a lesson and then circulate to help others. I especially like this for those students who are as confident with their math ability because now they can work with others and be the experts.
- Change is good. The first 6 units of the year may not have been a lot of fun for some of my students. This may be an opportunity to get them engaged in the learning. When we think and work in diffract ways I believe some amazing things can happen!
- Teaching is a wonderful profession. I want my students to see what it is like to be a teacher. Why not put them directly in my shoes and see if it is for them? Do you like helping? Thinking on your feet? Prodding? Inspiring? Facilitating? Questioning? Answering? Lots of money? (jk) J Drinking coffee?!?!
- Teaching is a difficult profession. I want my students to understand what it takes to make an effective lesson and be an effective teacher. Arriving to class without a lesson plan and expecting amazing thing in class to happen is unrealistic. I often feel that students lose sight of the work their teachers put in to help them learn. Perhaps this will open their eyes!
- Students are creative. I have left this project wide open for a reason. I want students to let their creative juices flow and see how they can revolutionize a math lesson.
- I want to learn. This is one of my biggest reasons for doing this. I want to see what students come up with when they are given the reigns of the classroom. What works for them? What do they do in other and classes and other disciplines? As a math teacher I get locked into doing things one way but that doesn’t mean there is only one way. This year I moved from a traditional ‘chalk and talk’ / ‘drill and kill’ teacher to a Flipped Classroom teacher, maybe next year it is something else…..
I plan on making this a two part blog. The second part will have a recap on what students came up with and how they presented their lessons. What worked and what didn’t work……and what I learned about my students. It’ll be interesting to see if my students flip their lesson like I do, go with a traditional lesson or do something altogether different……Stay tuned!