Finally, I completed my first Common Core unit this week. According to the ISBE Scope and Sequence, this unit should have taken me 5 weeks. Instead, it has taken closer to 7 weeks. However, my scores have shown that it was worth it to take more time than rushing to get to a specific point at the end of the year as I had more than 80% of my students showing proficiency. But, that means I’m now short on time to cover every standard. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but GAFE and some motivated co-workers may have found me a solution.
I’ve read a lot in the past year about flipping my class and even bought a book this summer written by two of the first guys to ever flip their class. I just haven’t been sure how I was going to be able to do it. I’ve made videos of lessons and posted them on Youtube for students to review before a test or a quiz, but never made it my assignment. That was until I heard Dan and Matt, two science teachers I work with, talking about using GAFE in their classrooms. My district has a GAFE account for all students 6-12 and all teachers in my district, and Matt and Dan were using Google Docs with students to discuss material outside of class. Another one of my co-workers who teaches social studies, Kim, said that she had students turn in an essay using GAFE and had a much higher completion rate than ever. During classes, my students were talking about how cool it was to do their work online and how they wished more teachers would do it. I figured I better listen.
I made a few short videos of solving equations using the iPad app Explain Everything. However, if you use a SMART board, you can record a lesson and upload it to Youtube as well. I also took advantage of Google Forms now allowing you to insert a video. So I now have a 2-3 minute video over the basics of the standard, a 3-5 question quiz, and a 1-5 rating of how much students like learning that way. As of this post, I have had about 30 responses, almost all of them with correct answers and students rating this way a 5 out of 5, that they would much rather do this than have a homework assignment. The student have until 7:00 tomorrow night to finish and then I am going to grade their quizzes with Flubaroo and then email them the responses. Students are also saying it isn’t taking long to finish the assignment, so this could work.
Overall, I’m pretty excited about trying this and I hope it stays exciting. I also hope I can keep students engaged this way and the newness doesn’t wear off. If those things happen, I may have found my solution to running out of time for standards.