This last week my students ran the show. As I described in my previous post, students were put into groups with that task of creating a lesson and presenting it whatever way they wanted. I wanted them to be creative and try and take some risks. In addition to the lesson, they need to make an activity, assign practice (if they felt it was warranted) and assess the classes understanding.
Here is what the 5 groups came up with.
- 3 out of the 5 groups did rather traditional lessons. They created a PowerPoint with fill in the blank notes, completed some examples in front of the class, gave students some questions out of our textbook, and concluded the class with a short quiz. Each of these three groups knew there stuff and conducted their lessons with very little assistance for me.
- One group also did a direct instruction lesson but took some risks by using a TedEd video as the hook to get the class engaged. Then they created a Prezi which the students thought was pretty impressive to conduct their lesson. Lastly, they gave the students a Socrative quiz which students could take via their iPhones or the class set of computers. (Students in this group unfortunately learned that when the internet is slow it can derail a lesson, the life of a teacher!)
- One group completely blew my mind. A couple boys approached me because they wanted to a flip video. I gave them my tablet computer and they worked together, one doing the audio, and the other writing out the lesson. They did a great job and seemed to have a good time making it. The part the stole the show was the scavenger hunt. I have never thought of doing this in math class. I have heard of teachers doing this before in other subjects, and two of my #canflip colleague Carolyn Durley (@okmbio) and Scott Harkness (@hark07) have done this before with QR codes. Anyways, the group put multiple choice questions all over the school that had three choices. Two of the three choices lead to dead ends where the students would lose time and have to go back to the previous question. The correct solution led to the next clue where students answered their next questions. It was fascinating to see students running all over the campus in every which direction. I couldn’t tell who was leading but everyone was engaged and having a good time. Students were physically running in math class from question to question, was a beautiful thing. My hats went off to this group, they did an excellent job……This is definitely something I plan on adding to my repertoire.
My Reflection on the Peer-Teaching
What went well:
- When you give students freedom some amazing things can happen
- Students got a chance to work on presentation skills
- The class time seemed to fly by, I had a couple students comment on this
- The energy in the room was high
- Students did a great job giving positive comments and constructive criticism after the lessons
What needs to improve:
- I need to spend more time exposing students to different ways of teaching, then hopefully they’ll take more risks.
- I’d also like to spend time with students on how to make good presentation, how to involve your audience, etc. These are not necessarily math skills, but they are important skills that students need to build.
- Students aren’t as tech savvy as I think. Some groups stayed away from technology altogether. Perhaps they just haven’t used any educational technology before?
- Some students did not contribute to the degree I wanted them to. I need to find a way to make each person more accountable, rather than just the group.
- I was surprised how many groups went back to traditional direct-instruction that dominates the classroom time when my class is a Flipped Classroom. Do they find this way easier to learn? Is it the easiest way to teach? Is it the most effective way learn? Did they do it this way because they are most familiar with this method?
- Lastly, and perhaps most importantly……students love candy, and they see candy as a great incentive. 3 out of the 5 groups had candy prizes!!!
The Peer-Teaching unit was a success in my opinion. It was great to take myself out of the equation and see the students taking the lead. Nice activity to break things up and end off the year.