Monday, December 17, 2012

Week Fourteen - Dec 10-14, 2012

This week was...interesting.

It started out very rough.  There were a lot of issues at the beginning of the week with mis-communication, lack of communication, and so on and it caused a very rough start to the week. And my bad mood seemed to carry over several days, which was a bummer.

We spent the week playing games dealing with perimeter and area and volume, and we continued learning our Perimeter and Area rap.  The kids really love learning these songs with the hand motions.

The best part of the week though was Friday.  One of the ideas I got from the Ron Clark Academy was to have "theme" days throughout the year.  These happen randomly and they only last for a day.  The kids also do not know these days are coming!

So on Friday I decided to turn my classroom into the "Nez Hospital".  I literally transformed my room into a hospital.  I borrowed lab aprons from the Waller High School and went to Dollar Tree and bought face masks, hair nets, and gloves for every student.  I even dressed up like a doctor named "Dr. Nesbit".  I told the students that Mr. Nesloney was absent that day.  They totally played into every single part.

We did different lab activities to review things we had learned with measurement conversions and perimeter/area/volume.  They had to pull "worms" (gummy worms) out of "bear blood" (red dyed water) and measure the length of the "parasites".  I also had them measure the length of their arms, dissect the worm, and other different medical math problems.  I used my SMARTdocument camera to display a 3D beating heart on the board, and had my iPod plugged in the back of the room playing the sound of a beating heart.

I had zero discipline problems and the kids acted great.  They said they REALLY enjoyed the whole experience.  And I can't wait to do it again!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Week Thirteen - Dec 3-7, 2012

Wow, talk about exhausted!  So after attending the Ron Clark Academy the week before (you can check out more about my trip at there were quite a few things I wanted to do differently in my class this week.  And man did they make a difference!!!

So for the first half of the week (Monday-Wednesday) I began my new expectations.  I began teaching the students the first ten of our new "Essential 55 Rules".  I also began implementing a more structured behavior expectation system.  After seeing how attentive, well behaved, and respectful the RCA students were, I knew there was much work to be done with my students.  Some of the new expectations I implemented were...

  • Must look at teacher while teacher is teaching.
  • Must come to class completely prepared.
  • Must enter room quiet and ready to learn.
  • Must look at other students as they are answering questions, talking, presenting, etc.
  • Must participate (I do a lot of "call-backs" in my class)
I do others too, but those are what's coming to my head right now.  Every time the students don't meet my expectations they have to put their name on my board.

  • Just name = warning
  • Name + check mark = silent lunch in my class
  • Name + 2 check marks = no recces and call home
  • Name + 3 check marks = call home and schedule parent conference.
I had already had high expectations of my students but I just increased those expectations this week.  I am already noticing a world of difference in my students.  I have already had MANY students in silent lunch or have to call home, and I already have two parent conferences scheduled for next week as well.  These students know I'm serious about this change.

I also had the students make their own multiplication flash cards (in addition to all the work we're doing in class) so that they could have something at home to study.  Multiplication facts are so very important and I'm trying to really instill that in the kids.  The amount of facts RCA students could do in  their heads  I want my  students like that too.

I also sorted the students into their new 4 houses!  We used a randomized spinner and each student came up and spun and got their house assignment.  I've also really been focusing on teaching my students how to CHEER for others and really be happy for others.  It was so much fun to watch them cheer and get so excited about spinning to be placed in their new house.  I chose to name my houses after Texas Universities, so we have UT, A&M, Rice, and Baylor.  The students are already working incredibly hard to earn points for their houses, but I'm not giving them out easily!!

I also started teaching with more purpose and passion.  I think my students can really tell a difference.  I was passionate before, or so I thought, but after seeing RCA teachers in action, I knew I could do better.  Another thing that really stuck in my head from RCA was that the teachers aren't allowed to ever sit while students are in the room.  I've been really trying to follow that rule too here and am working on getting my desk removed from my classroom too :)

The rest of the week was spent with my students teaching more rules, and having them practice social skills, and getting up in front of the class and teach lessons.  We did a LOT of modeling this week, because I really wanted them to see how my expectations of them are now THAT much higher.

My whole "flipped classroom" environment has changed.  Students are working that much harder to achieve and my flipped classroom has taken on a whole new level of deeper learning and achieving.  I am implementing even MORE new things next week, and check out my blog next week because I have something HUGE planned for my students....can't say anything yet, because it's a surprise, but it'll be's an idea I got from Kim Bearden!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Week Twelve - Nov 26-30, 2012

Another great week!

We spent class time Monday working with my studnets on their new iPhone 4's.  It's surprising to me the lack of knowledge there is with this device.  I had assumed they kids would know what they were doing already, and they don't!  It's just more proof that we can't assume kids know technology just becuase they're surrounded by it.

Tuesday we went to the Houston Museum of Natural Science.  We had every student bring their iphone and they were tasked with taking photos while at the musuem, so that when they got back to school they could prepare a slideshow to show what they had learned.  It was so exciting to me to see the amazement in the student's eyes as they walked around the museum.  They took in every single exhibit.  And even more, every student now has personal memroies documented from the trip because for the first time ever, every student was able to have thier own camera at their disposal.  It was also great to get a compliment from the museum staff as we left about how impresed they were with our students behavior and that not many shools bring kids that are excited or interested as ours were!

Wednesday through Friday I wasn't at school.  I was afforded the opportunity to attend the Ron Clark Academy ( in Atlanta, Georgia.  It was life changing.  You can check out all what went down in Georgia at my trip blog,

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Week Eleven - Nov 12-16, 2012

This week was probably our best week by far!

My team and I decided to try a new schedule.  I teach 3 fifth grade math classes.  Instead of having a rotation where I teach all classes in one day we decided to try a schedule where on Monday I teach my homeroom Math ALL day.  Tuesday I teach another class math all day, Wednesday I teach another class math all day, and Thursday and Friday are our regular "normal" days where we see all three classes in one day.  We figured it would give us more time to really do projects and delve into information (especially in their reading and Science classes).

The schedule worked out AMAZINGLY and now we're going to implement that schedule every week!  For the first part of the week we finished learning about fractions.

One activity I did was give groups of students a plate full of M&M minis and they had to sort the M&Ms and write a fraction for the amount of each color and a fraction for the primary colors and secondary colors. Then they had to simply the fractions.

We then took pattern blocks and used an activity I found on The Teaching Channel ( and the kids really loved this and found it very challenging!

After that I had asked the students to bring in lemons and sugar because they had to make homemade lemonade.  They were split into groups and each group was given the same amount of lemons.  I cut the lemons and they had to squeeze them into measuring cups and write a fraction for the amount of lemon juice they had collected.  That was what we kept the SAME for every group.  Then I gave them the freedom of choosing how much water and how much sugar they wanted to add.  The only catch was they weren't allowed to taste the lemonade!  It was very interesting to see their thought process and how some groups added way too much sugar or not enough water.  When everyone had written the fractional amount of water and sugar they added we then all tasted our lemonade at the same time.  It was hilarious to watch their faces as some of their lemonade was very sour or way too sweet.  The group with the best lemonade got to take cups of their lemonade to the office staff to let them all try it while the other groups were given the opportunity to "fix" their lemonade.  The students LOVED this activity.

The final activity we did was I gave each group four sticky notes.  They had to write four different fractions.  Each fraction had to have a different denominator and the denominator couldn't be larger than 9.  Each fraction also had to be a proper fraction.  After they made the four fractions they had to order the fractions from greatest to least using the strategies they had learned in class.

The next day after doing all the activities we took our Fraction Exam.  Keeping in mind I had not even spent ONE day on test formatted questions, I was so nervous.  I had never taught a complete lesson without ever showing the kids a test formatted question.  Well, I will tell you this, I will NEVER teach test formatted questions again!

Last year on the exact same Fraction Exam (when I wasn't flipping) I was at 78% passing, with 23% commended.  THIS year WITH Flipping my Class, I am at 100% passing with 75% commended.  I was sooooo excited.  I cannot even explain it.  It just proves that when you just teach the skills the way their supposed to be taught, the test just comes right along with it.  I was also thrilled to have the highest scores out of our 5 elementary schools!  It was a great week for sure!

We also got our iPhone 4's this week!  In June I helped fill out a $100,000 technology grant for the flipped classroom!  Well we WON the grant and with the money purchased and iPhone 4 for every 5th grader with pre-installed Verizon data.  The data plan is filtered (like our school internet), and the phones can't call or text. The kids are LOVING them and the interaction is incredible.  I can't wait to use them more and more in my class!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Week Ten - Nov 5-Nov 9, 2012

Another good week!

There are still so many holes in my student's education that I'm having to spend A LOT of time on remedial math :(

Monday was more or less another housekeeping day.  We went over homework, passed out papers, etc.  The students are doing really good about watching their videos lately as they've been having one almost every night.

We're learning about Fractions right now and adding/subtracting fractions so on Tuesday I laid out 81 pieces of candy on the floor (I did not tell them how many pieces), and a few other small items (pencils and such).  I told them to split into groups and then they had to categorize the items on the floor however they wanted writing each category as a fraction.  They weren't allowed to send more than one person up to the floor to count items.  They also couldn't bring their paper to the floor.  So they had to be really creative about how they went about this.  Some groups came up with really creative categorization while some just did like "chocolate" and "not chocolate" grouping.  We discussed how you need to add each fraction and hopefully end up with 81/81 to show that that equals a whole and that you included all the information!  It was a lot of fun for the kids.

I had a sub later that week but it worked perfectly because he showed a video, my kids took a quiz, and I got to Skype in to my class and review the quiz!

We also read the book this week "The Dot" by Peter Reynolds.  I LOVE this book.  I recently heard about it from Andrea Keller @akbusybees and we read it, discussed creativity and not quitting and I assigned students the task of creating their own "dot".  The kids did AMAZING!  I've posted several pictures on my twitter account (@TechNinjaTodd).  My kids are gonna hang them around the school so the other grade levels can view our "Dot Art Gallery".  I loved this assignment.  Yes, it had nothing at all to do with math, but it was so much fun and really allowed my students to show their creativity.  So much fun!

I also tried a new idea this week.  After giving my quiz on Thursday I took the students who did really well on it and sent them to other grade levels to be "helpers" while I worked with a small group.  I had emailed the whole staff earlier in the week asking who would like volunteer kids in their room as helps.  Teachers sent me how many they wanted and times, and I sent them kids all day Friday so I could work with smaller groups of students.  It worked out SO well, I will def be doing this every Friday!

One more week til Thanksgiving!  Oh and on a side note, every 5th grader will be getting a Verizon enabled iPhone 4 NEXT WEEK!!  From the $100,000 flip grant I was awarded.  I can't wait til the kids get those in their hands.  And no they won't be able to text or call, just access internet and apps!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Week Nine - Oct 29-Nov 2, 2012

Another fun week!

Monday we had another "house cleaning" day.  We went over the CBA from Thursday, did new vocabulary cards, and worked on FastMath (a program that helps students memorize their multiplication facts).

Tuesday I was out at ANOTHER training, but the students didn't miss a beat.  They watched a lesson I had recorded, then the sub worked with them on the math as I skyped into each class to check on them, review them, and answer any questions they had.  It was great!

Wednesday was a 1/2 day so classes were a little shorter.  But at my training from they day before I learned about a "Stamp Activity".  During the training several 7th grade teachers said their students would never be able to handle it.  I disagreed and said even 5th graders could handle it.  So I tried it with my class today.  And not surprisingly I DID have a group figure it out!!  That is proof that we can never count out kids based on their age.  They CAN do it if given the chance, you just have to push them!

Thursday and Friday we began Fractions and I recorded some new videos.  It's always funny to me how the kids are now begging me for videos to watch!  I love their hunger for learning now.  It's so encouraging!

I'm excited about next week!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Week Eight - Oct 22-26, 2012

This week was interesting....

We did a really neat lesson with cheese balls.  I bought three HUGE containers of cheese balls (one for each class), and we split the cheese balls up between the students.  They then had to count their cheese balls and identify wether or not their amount was prime or composite.  If they got it right they got to eat 6.  If they got it wrong, they ate none.  And we continued doing this over and over with different rules and trading plates of cheese balls and things until all the cheese balls were gone.  The kids had a blast and it was a neat way to teach math!

This week we also played a review game with buzzers.  I got this new set of four buzzers where each buzzer makes a different noise.  So we played a review game where I split the class into four groups and asked them review questions over Prime/Composite and Patterning.  Groups buzzed in when they had the right answer or buzzed in to steal from a group with the wrong answer.  I think the kids may have had the most fun they did all year.  They were REALLY getting into it.  They LOVED hitting the buzzers.  The next morning I opened my classroom at 7:30 (we normally open our rooms at 8:10) for any kids who wanted to come play the game again, and 24 of 76 students showed up!  That to me proves it was awesome.

We took our CBA on Thursday and the kids didn't do as great as I would have liked, but I did see the problem.  I'm not requiring them to show ALL their work, and that is hurting them.  So I will def be adjusting that.

Friday we had a Track Meet, so we didn't do anything "math" haha.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Week Seven - Oct 15 - 19, 2012

This week was awesome!!  On Monday we completed the prime/composite project we had begun from the week before.

Then I had forgotten that I had to be out of town for two different trainings on Wednesday and Thursday, so I left a pre-recorded lesson with my sub, so it was like I wasn't even absent!  The kids worked in groups on different activities over the video.

BUT, my FAVORITE part, was that during breaks from my trainings I was attending I was able to Skype in to my classroom and check on them, answer any questions, and ask my own review questions over that days lesson.  It was soooo cool to interact with my kids even though I wasn't there in class with them.  And it also made me feel much better about missing school because it was like I wasn't even missing!

I also was able to convince a few educators I was with to Skype in to my class during that day too and ask my kids some "challenge" questions.  That was fun for them to get to see some of the people I was with, but to also meet some new teachers.

This year, having a Flipped Class model, as really allowed me to interact with and instruct my students in a whole new and exciting way.  My students are engaged, learning, and having fun!  What more could I honestly ask for?  It is a little extra work sometimes?  SURE, but in the end the rewards are totally worth it!  I am challenging my students more than I ever have, and it's taking time, but slowly and surely they are beginning to rise to my challenges!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Week Six - Oct 8 - 12, 2012

I've officially made it through Six Weeks of Flipping!  Woo Hoo!


Today we took our state's MSTAR test to test algebra readiness.  We'll take it again in May, but we took the test and I had all the students input their answers into their project share accounts.


Today we practiced patterning.  I showed patterns and then the kids worked in groups to create and share patterns with other groups to figure out.  After we did that we went to the computer lab and worked on ScootPad for about 30 minutes.


Kids came back ready to learn something new!  I made a mistake though, since YouTube is blocked at our school again :(, I wasn't able to upload my new video from school, and forgot when I got home.  So, I had a few students who didn't watch their video because those students normally access them on YouTube.  So I see that as my fault, so I didn't "punish" them for not coming to class prepared.

We're learning about Prime/Composite numbers, so I did wanted the kids to work with Arrays and use arrays to help them determine whether a number was prime or composite.  I let them use building blocks and let them actually build all the arrays they could for six different numbers and then determine if those numbers were prime or composite.  The kids had a great time, mainly because I was letting them play with blocks, haha.


These two days we started a new "project".  I got this idea from my principal who used to teach 5th grade math!  The kids love it.  I don't give any directions for this group project.  All of their directions are written out step-by-step on a piece of paper and all I do is hand that paper to each group, and have them begin.

I've learned that fifth graders are used to having a teacher do all the thinking for them, so this project really forces them to think on their own and follow a set of directions, because I also only allow each group THREE questions to ask me.  So they really have to decide if their question is important enough to use up one of their three....and yes, asking to use the restroom DOES count as a question.

What the students have to do is take a giant sheet of chart paper (that I got from the work room) and split it into 20 equal sections.  Then they have to create all the arrays for the numbers one through twenty and label each array and label whether that number is prime or composite.  It is a huge project that takes three days, but the kids really enjoy it!  We're finishing it up on Monday.

The other amazing thing this week that my homeroom got to do was Skype!  We were able to skype with @DeliaBush and @johnfritzky classes in Michigan and New Jersey.  That was the coolest experience for my kids to meet kids from another state and talk to them and ask questions.  We have since created an Edmodo group that all our students are joining so they can communicate in that setting as well.  We are also doing a Blog between the classes to talk about what we're doing in class and have the kids leave comments on the blogs.  It is a very exciting time and my kids can't stop talking about it!

You can check out @JohnFritzky's view of our skyping adventure here..

You can check out @DeliaBush's view of our skyping adventure here..

Were it not for Flipped Class and Twitter, I would never have been able to do some of the amazing things that we did this week!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Week Five - October 1-5, 2012

This week was a little frustrating...

So I got this idea from another teacher in my district to have the students work in groups to create their own board games.  They would write about 20 questions per group for their games.  But me, being the technology minded person I am, had another idea!  I figured I'd have them create their own Jeopardy game using this online template I found (  Students worked all class creating problems to fit into the five categories I gave them (Place Value, Decimals (add/subtract), Rounding, Multiplication  Division).  I also gave them examples of what I wanted their word problems to look like from each category.

The writing of problems was taking longer than I expected, so I decided instead of having each group create a Jeopardy Game, I would instead have each CLASS create a jeopardy game together from the questions they've been writing.  A best-of-the-best questions game.  So I picked the top questions and had each group get on a different computer and type in their questions into the Jeopardy Template.

WELL, what I didn't realize (until the end of that day) was that when one group would hit save for their questions, it would overwrite what the other groups were doing on the other computers.  So at the end of the day, we had some jacked up Jeopardy games.

I was so frustrated by my mistake, that I created a Jeopardy game and each class played my jeopardy game during their class (in teams) to review for our CBA.  It went well.  Instead of having them show their work on paper I gave them dry-erase markers and let them do the work on their tables!  It was way more fun to them instead of paper work.

Today we took the CBA over Multiplication/Division.  It did not go as well I had hoped, and I have my work cut out for me next week!!

School Holiday!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Week Four - Sept 24-28, 2012

Another amazing week of Flipped goes the run down!

I called this day our "House Cleaning" day.  The kids answered a poll on Edmodo about what they thought about me including my face in the Flipped Class videos.  It was pretty evenly split which I found interesting.  The kids who liked it said they liked it because they could SEE me talking, while the other students said it was distracting to see me in the corner.  Not sure what I'm going to do about that....yet!

The kids also filled out their 3rd week Surveys.  Here are the results .

The kids then made their vocabulary words for this week.

Then we played a dice game for me to quickly asses who did and did not have the concept of multiplication down.  Each student was given a dice, and they had 5 blanks to fill.  They were doing 3 digit by 2 digit multiplication (hence the 5 blanks).  They had to roll the dice five times and fill in the blanks with the numbers they rolled and then do the multiplication.  They had four minutes.  After four minutes they had to exchange with a partner and check each others work.  If they found a mistake in their partners work, they won points! They acted like the game was really fun, and the kids with top three scores at the end of the game (three rounds) go popsicles at lunch that day.  It was a very easy way for me to quickly see who was still struggling with multiplication.

This was seriously one of my most true "Flipped Class" lessons.  I had soooo much fun today!  This was also the day that our Campus Technologist, District Curriculum Director, Assistant Superintendent, District Technology Director, and a Student Teacher all decided to drop in at some point!  Talk about pressure!  I'm just glad I had a killer lesson!

First I gave the kids a three question quick multiplication "quiz".  Those who missed two or mor were put into a group to work with me so that I could help them in a small group with their multiplication skills.

The other students were put into groups of three and had to start planning to create an "instructional" division video.  Their rules were:
1.  Every person in the group has to complete a division problem on video (don't have to show face).
2.  At least one of the three problems has to be a three digit dividend and two digit divisor.
3.  The division has to be correct.
4.  Must also explain the five steps to division (D,M,S,C,B)
5.  Must have their multiplication check work.

I planned this video a little differently in telling them that there would be no story-line like past videos.  All they were to do was teach the math, and every person in the group had to do at least one problem.

It was awesome, because as I was working with a small group, the other kids were in their groups working (many had their devices out to find ways to use them in their videos), and if the kids got confused about division, they went over to a computer (or used their device) to pull up our "Division" video on and re-watched the part they were struggling on.  SO, they never had to interrupt my small group and they got to get the help ON THEIR OWN, by re-watching the instructional video.

As the kids in MY group got the concept of multiplication, I split them into groups to begin their work on their division video.

It was so awesome to see how hard all the kids were working and the fun they were having.  They had devices out watching the videos, I had kids at the computer's re-learning parts to division, and they were really working to make sure everyone in their group understood the concept.  It was amazing how fluid everything went, and how in charge of their own learning they were.  I truly got to be a "helping hand" and work with the strugglers.

I also got the idea today to host "Parent Flipped Class" days once a month where parents could come in and participate in our Flipped Class and watch their kids in action....not sure yet!


Today we spent time finalizing plans for the videos and the kids actually recording the videos.  Because they had three members in each group, and each member had to do one division problem, it took them a WHILE to finish the videos.

We don't use any video editing software, so they kids had to get it in one take.  So if person number three messed up, they had to start the video ALL over again!  But it was excellent practice for them!


Today we spent time working on vocabulary and taking a multiplication and division quiz so I could assess how well my kids are just grasping the CONCEPT of multiplication and division and next week we're gonna focus on the actual word problems and how to work through those!

They also took their fourth Vocabulary Quiz through Edmodo.  I love using VERY little paper in my classroom!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Week Three - Sept 17-21, 2012

Another amazing week of Flipped Class.  I really am having the time of my life.

Monday was our "Housekeeping" day.  The students filled out their weekly "Flipped Class Survey" ( and also answered a Poll on Edmodo about whether or not they liked taking their CBA online (only 1 student out of 75 did not).  The students also worked on creating their new Vocabulary flash cards.

I also partnered them up and between their partner and themselves they chose 3 questions from the CBA they missed and corrected them with their partner.

Today we finished the partner work over CBA corrections and then I had each group get in front of the class and teach one of the problems they chose to re-do.  It was pretty interesting to watch them try to teach their classmates.

This was the most fun part of the week.  I put the students into groups of four and gave them an iPod Nano and had them create a video that taught me about 3 digit by 2 digit multiplication.  My students get SO excited about making the videos.  And I even had an AHA moment!  Because we're not doing any video editing, the students have to have their video in one fluid shot.  Since they laugh, and other things during their video they have to keep re-recording it.  WHICH MEANS, they had to keep doing those multiplication problems again and again and again!  They didn't even realize how MUCH math they were doing because they were having so much fun making their actual videos.

The videos were MUCH better this time, than our first attempt during Place Value.  You can check out the kids videos at

Today we focused on different word problems and the kids did two individually and then partnered up to check and re-explain to their partners how they solved them.  They did an excellent job today!

I am still in awe at the amount of fun and amount of learning that is taking place in my classroom this year.  I can't wait to see how the year will continue to progress.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Week Two - Sept 10-14, 2012

I can't express enough how much I am enjoying this "new" model of teaching.  I am getting to do things with my students that I have only dreamed of doing before, but never had the time!

The Videos

  I finally got some survey results back from my kiddos and you can see them here
The kids had lots of positive things to say, and the survey really showed me that my kids are choosing to access the videos in a mirad of different ways.  Which tells me that it may seem like I have too many options of ways to watch the videos, but that is actually BETTER because the students choose the avenue with which they are most comfortable, or enjoy the most.  
     This week I only had 4 kids not watch their videos.  They saw that when they don't watch their videos they don't get to participate in that day's project, so man they were not going to miss our projects!

The Projects

     This is my FAVORITE part of what's new with my class.  We've been learning about place value so Monday and Tuesday my students were able to work on a two day project practicing using those skills with REAL-LIFE applications.  I gave them circulars from HEB, Walgreens, and CVS, and told them they in their groups they had to plan a party for 10 or less people.  They had to make sure they bought decorations, food, drinks, silverware, cups, and plates.  If they had left over money they could also buy games.  Then I gave them a budget of $50.  They had to stay within that budget when planning their party.  After they went through the circulars and cut out the things they wanted (and added them up to make sure they were staying in their budgets), they then had to create a giant invitation/poster for their party, posting the things they decided to buy.  Beside that poster (which got hanged in the hall) they had a sheet of white paper where they had to NEATLY do their work, proving they stayed within their budget and how much change they were going to receive back.
     I did very little explanation on what to do.  I just gave them their boundaries they had to stay within, and what their goals were to accomplish, and they did AWESOME.  And best of all they had FUN and learned a skill they will all use the rest of their lives.
     The other "project" we did, was we had to prepare ourselves for our first Test.  So I put them into groups of four and they were given STAAR formatted questions that they worked through with their group.  I modeled how the conversation was supposed to look and how they were supposed to work together, and then I worked around with different groups helping out and explaining things they couldn't get within their groups.  It was amazing to me to see how seriously they took this time, and really worked within their groups to gain deeper understanding of how to do those test formatted questions.

The Test

     We took our first test on Friday.  This is the same test my students from last year took as well.  There was only one glaring difference between the test from last year, and this year's test.  On this year's test we added second and third steps to every problem to make them more challenging so that we could really grasp wether our students understood the deeper thinking skills or not.  I was shocked to see that this year's group of kids did BETTER on a HARDER test than last years kids I taught!!!  That was proof enough to me that the flipped classroom model IS working!!  I was shocked to see how much deeper their understanding and thought processes were because we had done those real-life applications  in class that had allowed them to really understand what was going on and the impact math has on their lives.  There of course is still work to be done, but I am very encouraged by our first test scores.  And last year I had no one make a 100, but this year I did have one student!  Again, on a HARDER test!  That was exciting!

Overall Thoughts

     Week 2 of my flipped classroom went great.  I'm still tweaking things here and there, but the excitement of my students, and the difference I can see in their thought processes is beyond exciting to me.  My kids love coming to class, and that excites me so much as a teacher.  There were two awesome quotes that I heard this week....a 5th grade girl told me "I've never loved math, and I love this class!", and a 5th grade boy sent me a message on Edmodo (keeping in mind this boy is not a lover of learning) "Can you please hurry up and post some new videos?  I'm ready to learn something new!".  I was beaming with pride after hearing those....and yes I made some new videos the next day!  I can't wait to see the difference a whole year of flipping is going to make in these student's education!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Week One - Sept 3-7, 2012

Well we finished out our first week of flipping in my 5th grade classroom.  This is my first year ever attempting flipping, so I'm definitely learning things as I go along.

The week started out with about 15% of my students not watching their videos at home.  As the week went that number decreased so that was VERY encouraging!  I think the kids were getting to see the fun things we were doing in class and the benefit of watching the videos.

The videos are quick and easy to make.  I'm trying to stay a few lessons ahead with my videos because I actually have quite a few kids that are watching videos before they're supposed to!  I'm all for working ahead!  My longest video thus far has been 9 minutes.  Most have lasted about 6 min.

I am trying to provide as many ways as possibile for the kids to access the videos.
I have all the links on our class webpage (
     - I upload videos to because they will host my videos and it's not blocked at school, so the students can access the videos at school at any time.  Sophia also allows me to embed a Google Form version of my WSQ for students to complete online.
     - I also upload videos to our class YouTube channel (  From that account I also link to other great instructional videos as well as that is where I upload the videos that will be creating this year.
     - I created an iTunes U account so students who have an Apple device could download the iTunes U app and access all videos
     -  Students can bring in a flash drive for me to put the videos on.
     - I burn the videos to re-writable DVDs
     - I have 18 iPod Nanos that I check out to students with the videos pre-loaded on them.
     -  I also allow students to come in before school or stay after to access videos.

This has been the best part about flipping my classroom.  Now I have so much time to do really cool and fun activities with the kids that allow me to explore the concepts in ways I haven't be able to before.
They went around the school and took pictures of numbers with their devices and then took those numbers and wrote the out in word form.
They also spent time in groups of 4 using their iPod Nanos to record videos of them teaching the concept of "Comparing & Ordering Decimals".  It was awesome to see their excitement when I explained what they were going to get to do.  You could tell they'd never been "let loose" like that before.  I let them excericse all their creativity and create whatever kind of video they wanted.  Since they are 5th graders, and since this was their first time creating videos, some weren't amazing, haha.  BUT they learned, and they had a blast, and they are already begging me to allow them to make another video.  I took those videos that were completed and uploaded them to our class youtube page.

Overall, I don't know how I taught before Flipping.  I am so excited about the endless possibilites that this year presents.  There have been a little "push-back" from a few parents.  But that's to be expected because this is so different then what they are used to. And many parents aren't comfortable themseleves with the technology their kids know how to use.  But I'm getting those parents on my side slowly but surely.  Our first unit test is this Friday, so then we'll really get to see how well this is going.