Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Flop in the Classroom: Using Google Classroom to Flip a Lesson

As I said in a previous post, I flipped my AP Psych class last year, to tremendous success (94% pass rate on the AP test, anyone?).  Not to toot my own horn, know...TOOOOT.  :)

I decided to try to do more flipped assignments and units in my intro to psych class.  I had great plans to start this day one - and then my mom passed away.  The best laid plans, right?  So last week, I was beginning to get my feet under me again, and I decided to do a split lesson. They had me for the first half of the hour, and the second half of the hour they were required to go online for the rest of the lesson. They didn't have to finish the lesson that hour, but they had only until midnight that night to submit it.  This is very rapid for an online assignment for me, as I often will try to give 2-3 nights to work on something online, since they may not have access at home.  This time, instead of using my Google site to submit the assignment, I tried it on Google Classroom.

Talk about a flop.

I imported students the night before. Super easy. Kind of a pain, but it's a one-time thing, so no big deal.  I put the assignment up.  Awesome.  Honestly, I was so excited to give out this assignment. It looked awesome.

Only 17 of my 28 students that hour could figure out how to submit the assignment.  One submitted it as a separate post in the stream. (There is currently no way to turn off the students' ability to post in the stream, by the way.)  Two submitted it (cut and pasted) in the comments of the assignment itself (also no way to turn off comments).  One handed me a paper copy. One emailed it to me.  Several didn't bother doing it for one reason or another.  What a mess!

I thought it would be intuitive.  Read the assignment, then hit the big blue "turn it in" button.  It is NOT intuitive to all students.  Do take the time to go over how to submit an assignment.  For this, you will need to have a student log in so that you can project what they see.  As of right now, teachers can't see what it looks like from the student perspective. I hope this will change soon.

Grading-wise, I love it.  All of the papers in one place.  didn't get 1700 emails (slight exaggeration) as the students shared their assignments with me.  I could even grade it right there and submit with comments to the student, so the student is alerted to when I have graded it.  Of course, then I have to submit grades into my grading program...but that's a different issue.

I think that Google Classroom will be good. I think it will be the go-to for most teachers. I'm really excited about it. I'm just also reminded what "beta" means - and that it will not be as easy for others as it is for me.

So this one didn't work out.  Should I just give up?  Of course not.  I will be trying again. And again. Until I get it right. By covering basics out of class, I have time for the application piece.  Google already knows facts. The kids need to know what to do with them - and flipping the classroom allows me time to do that.  So I will keep on keeping on.

What about you?  What happened to you when you tried to flip the classroom? What about your thoughts on Google Classroom?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

On flipping the classroom, flipping out, and flipping in general.

So much has changed in the last few years...where to begin...

On a personal level, I have divorced and remarried since I last posted here. I have 2 more children than I did. I have taught at 5 schools simultaneously at which I taught 5 different preps. I finally teach an AP class.  My mother has passed away, and my father is now a permanent, daily fixture in my family.  So much change. So much stress.

And yet.

I am throwing myself into my work and am remembering how much I really love what I do. I love having students appreciate what we do for them. I love to watch them learn. I love to see former students who excitedly tell me what they're going into - and how what I did, in some small way, encouraged them to do it.  I love making a difference.

I, like other teachers, am being asked to do more with less.  I am teaching 2-3 classes simultaneously for the bulk of my day.  I can't do what I used to and expect to be successful. I am remaking my classroom.  Last year, I flipped my AP psych class to grand results.  Of the 17 students that took the AP exam in May, 16 of them passed the exam.  Of those 16, 8 received 3's, 4 received 4's, and 4 received 5's.  It was a grand success.  While I am tweaking my AP program, I will leave it as a flipped class.

Now it's time to revamp intro.  I want my intro to psych class to be fun and innovative.  I'm coming up short on activity ideas, however.  I want to make it different from AP.

So...what do you do?  How did you flip your classroom?  What classroom activities have been successful for you?

It's good to be back.