Flipping your classroom is NOT an easy task. It's great. It causes students to take ownership of their learning, but it is SO HARD!
Last week, I thought I'd try a little flipping of my classroom. I created and uploaded a video for students to watch and then follow along. I was not screen sharing, THEY were to do this without me. The video showed them how to embed their math Number Corner Google Slides onto their website page. Most kids understood. Some still needed hand-holding. But that's okay, there's a learning curve. And the best part, since students were working on that, it freed me up to help those who needed that extra help.
I'm not really sure I could create an entire flipped classroom, as I am a co-teacher 2-3 days a week. But I like the idea of flipped lessons. I like that in a virtual setting, I can still provide 1:1 assistance to those who need it.
The major setback I saw about doing an entire flipped classroom, is that currently, students have "asynchronous learning" outside of our 2.5 hrs of instructional time that they need to do. Most of our students, are not doing it. It is VERY frustrating. So if I can't get them to perform outside of class, how am I expected to get them to work without me? It's going to take some practice, and a lot of planning, but maybe I'll try it after winter break.
Whenever "The Learning Pit" comes up, I can only think about one pit--The Pit. The pit from Parks & Rec., and Andy's music video. It really sums up 2020 better than anything else, really.
To help my students out of the pit, I have been making the workload in my classroom a little more fun. I use digital escape rooms with a math theme that incorporates their current standards being learned. I also use breakout rooms so students can concentrate without feeling "watched". Then I pop in and help 1:1. I find it's more personal this way.
I like to find what students are successful at, and then let them shine! For example, one student was really into acting. I didn't know this, until I organized a talent show. This student shined brighter than I ever saw them shine. And in participating, they made friends with other students who also enjoyed performing arts. It really boosted their confidence. Now, when I call on them in class, they are not as shy as before. And we have incorporated performing arts into a few of our units!
Technology is important to me. I rely on it to keep me informed about the weather, the news, and to keep in touch with my family. Now that I teach 100% virtually, I rely on it more than ever. My students enjoy creating Flip Grids to show what they know, learning through escape rooms, and even creating art through Jamboard.
Here is a montage of things I've created in my first semester at Touro that showcases my technology integrations. It's important to give students voice and choice, and teach them different opportunities to showcase what they know. This helps them out of the pit.
I think that if we were to have a major overhual of our educational system, it needs to start with a strong secretary of education who doesn't believe public schools are the enemy. This person should pair up with the correctional departments to create a lesson design to keep money funneling to K-12 public schools, rather than our penal system. Let's backwards map this B! By doing so, our schools could fast forward into the current century!
We are so far behind other countries. The world is smaller due to the invention of the internet. We can accomplish so much more in a fraction of time. So why are our schools keeping students' cell phones in their backpacks? We need to use the technologies students already have, and teach them to use it responsibly. Teach teachers innovative ways to forward think. Teach students to be advocates for themselves and their communities. And by teachers and students, I mean AAALLLLL teachers and AAAALLLLL students.
I'm hesitant to share my "findings" with the world. Or anyone outside of this class. I am certain that I am not confident. And I'm certain that I'm in doubt of my efforts.
This school year has been a doozy. Not seeing family, and then having deaths in my family (not COVID related) has taken a mental, and physical toll on me. BUT, I have been determined to push through.
In my research, I'm finding I am having a lot of "I would've done this, this, and this differently." So maybe I'm having regret about how I did my research. Once I truly began reading research articles, I got excited. I kept finding more information (not rabbit holes) to support my idea that teachers need quality and on-going professional development. And I'm sad to say, I don't feel like I have provided the quality PD that I researched.
Working part-time as a magnet coach, and the other part as a teacher, really spreads me thin. Due to the pandemic, I'm having to manipulate curriculum for my teachings, and then create brand-new curriculum to support teachers. My job is going away next year. I have been tasked with creating lesson plans and rearraging my room, so anyone can walk in, grab a lesson, and start working with their students. I'm basically designing myself out of a job. From home. Without training. And it's heart-breaking.
So on top of mourning dead family members, I'm also mourning the loss of my position next year. Which makes me feel like a failure when it comes to my study. I'm doing the best that I can in these "unprecidented times". And that's all I can do at this point.
When I first started my research, I was really hoping to do help my colleagues in some major way. I envisioned my research would show holes in our lesson design process, and I'd help fill those gaps. I envisioned students talking more in class using academic vocabulary, and their teachers singing their praises! I envisioned all classrooms using the 7 Habits as a way to bring their class together and move forward in a harmonious way. And envisioned most of my colleagues asking for help as needed.
Geez was I wrong.
I don't want to say my research wasn't a success, I think it taught me there is more than what I fantasized about. Yes, I knew teachers would be over-burdoned by their workload, but I didn't take into account that I ALSO was over-burdoned.
Teaching during a pandemic hasn't been easy for everyone. Because I'm tech-savvy, I always want to share my knowledge so others may get excited about it like I do. But I have to remember that not everyone is WILLING to get excited. Because, not everyone is comfortable with technology.
Sarah Magallano teaches 5th grade. She also coaches teachers on integrating art & engineering into their lesson plans.