I love a good Treasure Hunt. Especially on a Friday afternoon! They involve the students, there is an element of competition, and generally speaking students do as much, if not more, work as if they were to sit down and do the same questions as an exercise. There is also the benefit of it being largely self-checking.
And if you don't want the whole class up and about, you can always turn them into a set of loop cards, with groups of students working on them together.
Either way, student engagement is always high, and they are practicing the skills they need to practice. In my mind, this is a good position to be in.
But Treasure Hunts (and Loop Cards) can take a bit of time to create. Not only do you need the questions, but you need to put them into cards so that the order works, write up an answer grid, if you made them in the correct order (which we all do as it is the easiest way to check it works), then you either need to manually mix them on the computer or cut them all out for the students as a set of loop cards so you don't give them out in the finished order (I can't be the only one who has done that in a rush).
The natural extension to my QQI activities was the creation of my QQI Worksheets. One of the activities in each of these is the creation of a random set of treasure hunt cards, and these have proven very popular. It creates a ready to go set of treasure hunt cards, with the answers to each question and the loop in terms of card numbers. These can be printed in large to be used as a treasure hunt, or in small and given straight to the kids to cut out, as they are automatically reordered. Here is an example of one of these on differentiation.
As an extra challenge I have now created the Treasure Hunt Generator. This is a system by which anybody can easily create a set of treasure hunt cards, on any topic or subject. You can type in your own questions and answers, using plain text or full mathematical typesetting, or even inserting images into the questions, and the Treasure Hunt will be quickly and automatically created for you, ready to print off.
I have also created a fully customisable QQI BINGO Activity. This works in much the same way as the Treasure Hunt Generator, but instead of creating a printable Treasure Hunt, it creates an interactive Bingo activity that can be projected on the board for the whole class to get involved with.
It is also possible for teachers to save the data of a Treasure Hunt or BINGO, in the cases where you do not have a printer handy or want to use your BINGO on a different day. Simply press the button Copy Data, and copy the text in the pop up box that appears. Paste this into a text document, and save it. Then when you are near a printer, reload the Treasure Hunt Generator, and paste the text into the box labelled "Use previously copied data" and press Load Data. The boxes will populate with your previous work. Note, this does not work for images, you will have to load these up again. A video below goes through this process for the QQI BINGO Generator, but the process is identical for both systems. In fact, they are compatible (the data from a BINGO can be used in a Treasure Hunt and vice versa).
This Treasure Hunt Generator and QQI BINGO Generator will give teachers two easy tools to create Treasure Hunts and BINGO activities quickly. It offers complete customisation of the questions and answers that are used. Hopefully this will be useful to many teachers. Let me know what you think, and if you use it!
I started to flip some of my classes two years ago. I started with my class just starting on the IGCSE in the first year, and after some positive feedback from students, as well as evidence of good progress (both academically, but possibly more importantly, in students independence), I decided to expand slightly last year. I continued it with my IGCSE class, did it with my Year 10 class sitting the IGCSE and Additional Maths simultaneously, and also with my IB Standard Level class.
So what have I discovered about this method of teaching? Some practicalities on the homeworks first...
Firstly, it is a lot of work. I have been using videos for the homeworks, and for each objective, I need to find or make a video. I have been trying to produce my own videos for the IGCSE content, as I have found that the students react better to material produced by me than by other teachers, but that is very time consuming. If I do not make my own video, I need to find one that I like and that teaches the material in a way consistent with my own teaching. That means watching it first, which is also time consuming.
Secondly, early on I realised I needed some kind of accountability for the students. There needed to be a way for me to check they had watched the video. I started with questions in class, but this proved difficult to guarantee they had watched it. I then started to use Google Forms to create 2 or 3 questions for students to complete on the video before class, so I could check their basic understanding, and have something concrete to know they had done something. This worked well, but was also time consuming to set up, and still didn't guarantee they watched the video (copying homework in our school can be a big problem). Eventually I found EDpuzzle, which is an excellent tool, I talk about below.
Thirdly, find a way to set the videos. Most schools have an online system now where you can set a link direct to the video. This works well. But EDpuzzle also takes care of this. You can import a video directly or from YouTube (or any number of other video sites), and cut it to only be the bit that you want (cut out the long introduction or the finale). You can then add annotations to the video which pop up as the student watches the video. These could be voice notes or typed notes. Best of all, you can add questions (open or multiple choice) throughout the video. Best of all, students sign up to a class, and then you can see exactly how much each student has done (how much of the video they watched, did they skip bits, their answers to the questions). All this is visible in real time, so you can check before the lesson if they have done the work, and identify any misconceptions. It also tells you when they did it (I have had to talk to a couple of students about sensible working times when it was registered at 3am).
But the homeworks are only half the story. You also have classtime, so how does this work in the flipped model?
Other than developing independence in students, the main benefit of this method of teaching for me is the time it opens up in class for students to do maths. I can give students more challenging problems as I and their peers are there to discuss the problems with. For those who need more practise of the basic skills, they have the safety net of being able to ask whilst they are doing the question. For those more confident, they can move to more challenging questions more quickly.
I always start the lesson with a starter based on the video. Sometimes this is one of the questions I attached to the video, if several students struggled with it. I then get one of those who got it right to explain how they did it, or get students to discuss their methods in their pairs. If there were a lot of problems arising from the video, I will get students to discuss these, and I will always review the key points, usually going through a final example based on the video, asking the students how to do it. Also, at the end of each video I include a question asking if the students have any questions on the content. I use this time to talk to individuals about these, or sometimes discuss them with the class if they point to a key misconception.
This is followed by jumping straight into questions. For exam classes, this has proven a great way to get them practicing more questions, especiaclly moving on to exam questions more quickly.
And what about for the students' learning?
Well this very much depends on the student. As I have mentioned, this method is really good at developing student independence. We have moved through the course significantly quicker than before, which allowed more time to do revision at the end, but in future I would make sure to do more practice in class at the time, with a larger variety of tasks. For my additional maths class, this has given me a lot of scope to get through the material for both courses in the time allocated, something we have struggled with in previous years.
I would not say that I have evidence that the results are better, but they are certainly no worse than those classes I have taught using the traditional method. With the thrown in benefit that students are visibly more independent, and have a better work ethic, I think this method has its advantages. It also provides the students with a good set of revision resources.
Some key points that I have learnt:
This year I am going to continue to use the flipped classroom with my Additional Maths class in Year 11 and my IB Standard Level class in Year 13. I am not going to use it with my IB Higher Level class in Year 12 since it is the first time I will be teaching this course, and want to teach it through once first, but next time I teach the course, I would definitely strongly consider it. Similarly, in my Year 7 class, I want to use a more traditional approach, though I will probably use elements of the flipped classroom through the year (such as the odd homework).
I have mentioned in a previous post that my school (in Lima, Peru) has set up a teacher training program. This is made up of two parts: the PGCEi (an independent qualification run by the University of Southampton) and the school based program (which assigns a mentor and runs workshops, along with checking progress against the UK teaching standards). In this way we are trying to emulate a UK PGCE course with the university part and the school based part. Last year I was a subject mentor to a trainee doing this training in maths, as well as running a couple of workshops over the year for all the trainees.
This year I am taking responsibility for running the induction (NQT) year for those in the senior school who have completed the training last year (which is only one person this year, the one I mentored last year, but will be more in future years). I will be working under one of our Deputy Heads who is running the whole training programme, but I will basically be the induction tutor/mentor.
My main roles in this position will be to observe the teacher twice each term and provide feedback, to meet with the teacher to discuss targets and how they are progressing towards these, and to discuss with them how they are progressing against the standards (which will be checked by the Deputy Head) and suggest ideas on how to meet any they are struggling with.
I am looking forward to the extra responsibility, and to develop my training skills. I am also excited to be involved in developing the program over the next couple of years. But I am also a little bit anxious as I know that this year can be incredibly important for a new teacher in developing as a great classroom practioner, and my role within this will play a huge part.
I am currently teaching the Cambridge Additional Maths course, parallel to the IGCSE course that we offer. As part of this I offer my students an extra after school session to come and practice questions from the Add Maths course, as we do not have much time in class to do the required practice. In this two hour session, I normally get between 2 and 10 students turn up, and they happily work through the questions, asking for help when needed. But this week one of the students came with a question she had seen on a Peruvian Maths Olympiad question, which I have turned into the image below.
Part (a) is something that I have seen several times before, and from my university days I remember it being an area of Maths called Taxicab Geometry. I am sure that it also popped up in the fantastic Dara O'Briain School of Hard Sums at some point as well.
For those that haven't seen it before, it is worth a look, and I warn you now, that if you want to solve the problems yourself, then stop reading now, as I am going to go through how I solved this problem...
Part (a) is a simple combinations problem. You have to travel 12 blocks in total, and you need 6 of them to be East. That is the total number of ways of travelling East is 12C6 = 924. It doesn't matter how you travel North, as this will be predetermined by your pathway East.
Another way to do this is to consider how many ways there are to get to closer points. There is only 1 way to reach any of the points due North or due East of A. Then the way to spot the pattern for inside points is that you must travel to that point via either the point to the West of it or to the South of it. And from each of these points there is only one way to get to the destination. So if there are 10 ways to get to the point to the West, and 5 ways to get to the point to the South, then there are 15 ways to get toour destination.
This is just Pascal's Triangle (tilted a little bit), and is actually a very nice way to investigate the properties of this amazing sequence of numbers (though that is for another post).
I managed to answer this question for the student who asked quickly, and she was happy with the explanation (I did have to explain combinations to her, but since that comes up later in the course, that will be benificial anyway). The second part was another story...At first I thought maybe we could adjust the combinations method to find some way to cleverly divide out the routes we could not take because of the restriction...But this led nowhere. Then we tried to go via the triangle route, counting the number of paths available to closer points, and then extending this and trying to find a pattern...again, this go us nowhere as there seemed to be no pattern connecting the values. We got to that wonderful point where I said I was going to have to go away and look at the problem in more detail to try to come up with a solution. So that's what I did.
After staring at the problem for a while, I was still no closer to a solution, let alone an elegant one, so I turned to twitter for some inspiration. I got a response from @solvemymaths suggesting that it looked like a programming problem, so I decided to use a computer to help me find an answer
Knowing that every path must contain 12 blocks, I started by getting the computer to generate all possible binary numbers with 12 digits (made up of 0 for North and 1 for East). This was then simple to shorten to the 924 possible ways from A to B since we know there must be 6 Easts and 6 Norths, so the sum of the digits must be 6. So I removed all the options which did not have a digital sum of 6.
Now I had to remove all the options which contained either the string 111 or 000 which represent going three blocks in the same direction. Again, with a computer, this is fairly easy. After this process was complete, I got to the answer of 208 possible paths from A to B with this restriction.
After a bit of generalising, I came up with the widget below which will do the same process for different sized grids, and different block restrictions (code available here).
Grid Size = by
Max Blocks in one direction =
But being a mathematician, this still felt a bit like cheating, and I wanted to find a way to solve this problem without the use of the computer (though knowing the answer was certainly useful).
Trying to solve this manually the same way I used the computer was going to take forever, due to the huge number of possible options, so I had to come up with some other way. But the process of splitting it into binary options helped my thought processes. I ended up with the process shown in this document (first I solved the 4x4 version to check my method worked, before extending it to the 6x6 version).
I love it when students bring an interesting problem to class, as it shows they are interested, and also gives me a chance to discuss the wealth of Maths outside of the curriculum (something my students know too well, and are happy to exploit by distracting me and getting me to ramble on about some of the much more interesting areas of Maths). But this one was even better as it was one that I actually had to spend time working on to come up with a solution. The main reason I became a Maths teacher is because I love the subject, and I do not always get to DO maths as much as I like anymore, but this problem really made me remember why I love Maths, and why I teach it.
I would love to hear if anybody else comes up with a different way to solve this problem, so comment below...
We are just starting the revision process here in Peru for the IGCSE and IB exams in November. As part of the flipped classroom I am hoping to develop student independence in their learning, and with this I have been trying to come up with a way where they can identify areas that they need to work on. Self-assessment is not a new thing, and I have implemented it with relative success previously, but I am hoping the update system I have now created will help students to keep on top of this large amount of data more easily.
It starts with students filling out a Google Form which lists all the objectives for the year/course which they are studying. Image 1 shows an example for one section of the IB Maths Standard Level course. If you would like to give it a go, then fill out this form.
Once completed, students then get emailed a link to see their personal results, listed in order of confidence, those needing most work first. Below is an example of one that I filled out. They can comment on this document, identifying areas they would like to work on first, and then you can see these comments. If they go to fill in the form again, they will be directed to their original submission, which they can then adjust and resubmit (this will send them a new email with a link to the updated document, with each update saved as a separate tab in the document).
I also have a second tab where I can add details of how they are doing in specific topics, by assigning them a grade of A,B,C or D. These could be based on specific tasks set for each objective, or a more fluid grade. These results are simultaneously shown with the self-assessment results, similarly filtered in order of needing the most work.
From my perspective as the teacher, I can see each individual breakdown that the students can see, but also can see the whole class split up by objective in the original sheet that the form submits to. With some conditional formatting, I can then also identify easily any objectives that the majority of the class are struggling with, so that I can provide whole class revision activities where necessary. Obviously, with the individual feedback, I can also plan more specific tasks for individuals as well.
I have managed to create the code that does all this using the Apps Script that you can enable for Google Sheets, and below I will explain how you can use this to create your own version of this Self-Assessment form.
Now you can edit the questions themselves. Leave the first question as the Name box. For the remaining questions you have some options. When you click on one, it will look like Image 4.
This will create a new spreadsheet to record all form submissions. When you originally copied the form, it probably created its own spreadsheet automatically. You will want to delete this one. Be careful though, as it probably has the same name as the new spreadsheet you just created. Now is also a good time to move both the form and the spreadsheet into a new folder for this (it is going to create a file for each student, so want them in a folder somewhere). You can drag them into a folder, or go via the File menu in each file.
Now open up the spreadsheet, either by clicking on View responses or opening it from the folder. It should look like Image 7 below.
If you now go back to look at the actual spreadsheet, you will notice that it has added a second tab named "Teacher Assessment", renamed the original one "Self Assessment", and frozen some columns. It also renames the questions removing the excess that Google Forms automatically includes.
In the pop up that opens now, change the settings to what is shown in Image 13. Then click Save.
The form is now ready to distribute to you students. Close the script editor, and return to the form. In the top right corner is the button to Send Form, and you can follow the instructions here to send out the form to your class. They will all now receive an email inviting them to fill out the form. As they submit them, they will receive an email linking to their own personal document (as in the example at the beginning of this post).
You can now manually input Teacher Assessment results for each student for each objective. In the relevent cell simply add an A, B, C or D for how the student is doing in this area from what you have seen. It must be one of these grades, nothing else will work.
If you now want to manually send out updated self assessment documents to all the students, then go back to the script editor (Image 8), and Run->selfAssess (Image 10). This will send the whole class an updated link for their document. When you do this, the conditional formatting should also kick in, colour coding the different grades.
There are some relatively easy alterations you can make to the code to personalise the form a little bit, and I will go through these in this section.
1. If you want to change the self assessment wording (Image 4 point 4), then you also need to change the code to fit this. Maintain the number of options at 3 (unless you are confident enough in to add an extra bit of code). Once you have changed these you need edit the corresponding code TWICE.
Find the section seen in Image 14 (part of the function selfAssess, use the line numbers 93, 98, 103). In each of the red boxes you need to change the text to what you changed the questions too. This must match exactly (case sensitive and spaces/punctuation). Make sure you leave the text within quote marks as well. This is the manual one you can run at any time.
You need to do the SAME CHANGE in selfAssessFormSubmit as well (lines 328, 333, 338). This is the one that goes automatically when they submit.
2. If you want to use different grades instead of A, B, C and D in the Teacher Assessment, then you can do this by changing the the four grades in the blue box in Image 14 (Line 80). Make sure each grade is inside quote marks, and that there are only four. They should be typed in uppercase, and start with the best grade and work down. You also need to make this change in Line 304.
4. Maybe you want to have the Teacher Assessment for you to see, but not available for students to see. If this is the case, use this slightly modified code. In the document that the student will be sent, there is no Teacher Assessment column, only the Self Assessment. But you can still see the Teacher Assessment column in the relevent tab in your spreadsheet. In this case, students are NOT sent an email when you manually run the code (as this is for when you update the Teacher Assessment, and they cannot see this), but they still receive it when they update their self-assessment.
For some unknown reason, the browser seems to crash when the setup process in run. If this happens, simply close the spreadsheet, and reopen it. You can then carry on with the process.
I am hoping that this will allow my students to easily identify which objectives from their course they personally need to work on, and give them a springboard to direct their revision. I am also hoping that it will give me a very clear idea of what the students think they can do, and direct me to any topics that I need to focus on with the whole class, as well as any I need to make interventions with for specific students.
If you have any comments, I would love to hear them below. I hope this is useful for people.
Over the last year, my school has set up to run the PGCEi course (an international version of the theoretical part of the PGCE) alongside its own ITT system. We are the first school to set something like this up in South America, and it has provided a great opportunity to many existing teachers (to get a UK based teaching qualification) and also as a way to train new teachers.
Teacher training is an area that I looked at before moving abroad, and I ran some sessions on using Autograph in the classroom, both for the mathematics PGCE trainees at Oxford Brookes and also for several local mathematics departments. But this new endeavour at my school has allowed me to take this one step further, and I am now acting as a mentor to a teacher doing the PGCEi.
This course is very different to the PGCE offered in the UK. Firstly, it is only the theoretical elements of the course, and as such, does not actually qualify teachers to teach in the state system in the UK. As mentioned above, my school is suplementing this theoretical part with its own ITT program, which assigns a mentor to each trainee, and also puts on some workshops for them.
I have been mentoring a new teacher in maths teaching, and have found the experience to be very interesting, and a great way to develop my own practice further as well. Another major difference to the PGCE course in the UK, is that she is teaching a full timetable of her own classes. I am observing twice a week, and finding time to sit down to discuss both these observations and how the week has gone more generally.
In these observations and discussions, although the focus has clearly been on developing her own teaching methods and reflecting on her practice, I have found that in doing so I am also reflecting on my teaching practice more than I used to. This is both because of things I have seen her do, and also ideas that I am giving her (which I remember from when I did my training, but never really got around to implementing).
I am really enjoying this new aspect of my job, and it is definitely something I would like to continue to work on at the moment.
This year my school got a subsciption to www.mathster.com, and I have been using it over the last couple of months, mainly in support of the flipped classroom that I am using.
Mathster advertises itself as a total solution for delivering the UK Curriculum Mathematics. I should state that I do NOT teach the UK curriculum as I am currently in teaching in a school in Lima, Peru. We teach the Cambridge IGCSE and IB. For this reason, I cannot really comment on its matching to the new UK curriculum, but I will give a general overview of this amazing resource.
The Question Bank
There are several sections to the site, but the main area of interest is the Question Bank. This is where you choose the types of questions you would like ot include in the current assessment. You choose the age range that you are teaching, the area of mathematics within this key stage, the topic and finally the sub-topic that you want a question for. Now you get the choice of the different question types available for this sub-topic.
By clicking on the question a pop-up appears with that type of question. You can click the "Regenerate Question" button to create a new question with new numbers. This will give you an idea of the random element to the questions (which I will discuss further below). You can then add up to 10 of this type of question to the current assessment, by choosing the number to add, and pressing the "Add to Assessment" button. If you particularly like the shown example (the numbers work particularly well), then you also have the choice to lock those numbers in place.
In my opinion, one of the main strengths of the system of Mathster is that the questions are all randomly generated (obviously this is something that I like, as most of my website is based on this premise). This means that every time the assessment in regenerated, the questions will be the same but with different numbers involved. We shall see how this effects each of the main options as we go through them.
Once the questions are added they appear in the right hand part of the screen, and you have the option to reorder them, and adjust the number of points available for each question. You then have to choose how you want to use these questions.
The first option is to use them directly on the IWB. You then have three options: Timer; Slideshow; Display all. The timer option sets a time limit to the questions, the slideshow allows you to move through the questions at your own pace, and the display all is great for a differentiated task, where different students can focus on different questions. In all of these modes, you have the option to regenerate the question at anypoint, so if the class has not fully understood, you can just display another question of the same type with a different set of numbers. This is perfect if you want to use the questions with the whole class as examples, or a quick starter/plenary.
The second option is the one that I have been making the most use out of in the flipped classroom. You can set the questions as an online assessment. To do this, you have to set up a class first, and give students their login details (this is a breeze to do), and then assign the assessment to that class. You have several options, such as the dates that it will be available, and how many attempts you want to allow per question.
With the assessment set, student log in and it appears in their homepage user interface. They then type their answers into the relevent answer boxes, and submit their answers as they go. There is a working out pad built into the system, which records all their working, and also a calculator available (if you choose to allow it). The power of the random questions comes into effect here as well, as every student is given different numbers (so copying is impossible). After they answer each question, they are given immediate feedback as to whether they are correct or not, and if you allowed multiple attempts, they can try and correct any mistakes.
This system as I have described it is a fantastic resource for homework, but it gets even better. As students answer questions, they are recorded in real time in your Grade Book. You can click on each individual assessment for each student to see there answers (and any working out that they did on the working pad). You can then award points for their answer as appropriate, and use the built in messaging system to give feedback to the students within the Mathster interface. You can also leave general feedback on the assessment, and this and the final mark are both recorded in your online gradebook. You can also add external grades to the gradebook with a single click, and download the whole gradebook as an Excel file (with or without your feedback).
The real benefit for me in using the flipped classroom is that I can also attach a video to this online assessment. So when students open the assessment, the first thing they see is the video, and then when it finishes the questions appear. Alternatively, even better, you can set the video to stop at a certain time to show the first set of questions, and then restart when these have been completed before stopping again for the next set. It also has a system to record your own videos (though I have not used it as I use another program to make my videos available on YouTube).
One other nice feature is what is called thee Secret Code. This allows you to set a code, which students can choose to use once during an assessment to be taken to a mathematical game to play for 5 minutes before being taken back to the assesssment. This is a nice way to give students the opportunity to have a small break and allow their brains to relax for a moment before continuing.
The final option is to turn it into a printed assessment. This is easily done, and you can add options such as the title, a box for students name, a smiley face self-assessment box, show the points available or not, add clip art to the worksheet, and borders and backgounds. You can regenerate each question individually until you get ones that suit your needs, and then export either as a PDF (not editable but much faster) or a Microsoft Word .docx file (which is fully editable, but has fewer options). Obviously, the answer sheet is also created.
This is a great way to create a worksheet for practice, but also for creating tests and exams. You can have a set assessment, and each year, simply regenerate it with different numbers. And all this in a matter of minutes!
Other Areas of Mathster
There are many other great features in Mathster. There is a set of stock assessments that have been put together for a large number of topics across all age ranges. You can also share all your assessments with the other members of your department so you can all use them with your classes. Another nice feature is the Report Wizard, which I have not used yet, but has a variety of stock phrases to help build reports quickly and easily.
Within each class that you set up you also have the ability to view your gradebook (as discussed above), send messages to students, add or remove students throughout the year, and also set a seating plan (either manually or by using the random option).
Mathster is a fantastic resource for all Maths teachers. The question bank allows you to utilise random mathematical questions in a variety of setting which will suit every teacher in some form. The printed worksheets are invaluable, and so easy to generate, and the online assessments provide a fantastic way to keep track of student progress through the automatically updated gradebook. I would not look back, and know that I will be using Mathster for many years to come. An A* product!
I had a really great lesson today. I am teaching IB Standard Level, and they need to know the effects of changing the original data by a linear transformation, and what this does to the mean and the standard deviation of the data.
I started with the simple question shown below from Autograph, where I used the raw data function to create a random sample with a normal distribution, and then plotted this as a histogram. I then asked students to calculate the mean, median, mode, IQR and standard deviation of the data. We also discussed the fact that this was an estimate as the data was grouped, and compared these statistics with the statistics of the raw data using Autographs statistics box.
After this we got into the main part of the lesson, and I have made a brief video explaining how to use Autograph to investigate what happens to the statistics of data as you perform a linear transformation on the original data.
If you would like the Excel file I showed briefly at the end of the video, it can be downloaded here. Just press F9 to generate new questions.
Last year I started using the Flipped Classroom. I managed it for pretty much the whole year with my year 10 set 2 class studying the first year of the IGCSE course. Overall, it went well, and we covered the course significantly more quickly than other classes, and the results in the end of year exams were as expected (not significantly better than previous years, but definitely not worse). However, the real benefit has been in the attitude of the class. Over the year the majority of them had become much more independent, asking each other for help and answering each others questions. I was also able to focus more on working with the ones who were stuggling with particular topics, and felt that my time in class was much more productive.
One of the things that I realised very early on was that in order for the approach to be successful in our school, there had to be some accountability for the sudents, and I decided to use Google Forms (something I have dabbled with before) to set a couple of questions on the video which students had to answer before the lesson as well. This allowed them to check their understanding, for me to get a sense of their understanding BEFORE the class, and also a way for me to ensure they were watching the videos.
Towards the end of our school year (southern hemisphere means we finish at Christmas), I asked for feedback from the students, and overall it was very positive. They identified that they felt more independent, and that they were able to work at their own pace. There were some who had some negative comments, and these were largely about not getting a set of notes (as they hadn't realised they could take notes from the video) and that they couldn't ask questions during the video.
At the end of the year, a colleague and I who had been working together in this collaborative project (we all have to be involved in one of these over each year) were asked to present to Senior Management. We put together this powerpoint which summarises the whole process, and gives our main findings. In the preparation week before the students returned to school after the summer holidays, we were once again asked to present our project, this time to the whole teaching staff of the secondary school. There were lots of questions and interest in the method, and since then we have both had several other teachers asking us about the details.
This year we are continuing with the same collaborative project (it is a two year course after all), but expanding it. I am now using the method with three of my four classes this year (Year 10 set 1 doing IGCSE and Additional Maths over two years, Year 11 set 2 continuing the method from last year, and Year 12 IB Standard Level Maths). My colleague is trying it with her Year 10 bottom set as well, and other colleagues in the department are trialling it in limited ways with some of there classes (at all ability levels and ages).
There are several things I am going to do differently this year. Firstly, in the first lesson of the year, I explained the system very clearly, and gave them all a reminder of the expectations of this teaching methodology for them. This included a printed out reminder for them to stick in the front of their books. This details the 3 thing they must do for any set homework: watch the video (and take notes); answer the set questions; prepare a question for the next lesson.
The final point is designed to either get them to write down any questions they have during the video or to come up with their own example based on the material. At the beginning of the next lesson, they will get 5 minutes to discuss their questions with each other, and hopefully other students will be able to answer these questions.
I have also written a letter to the parents of the students in my class to explain the methodology, what is expected of their child and how they can help if they wish.
We are only a week into the year, so we shall see how it progresses this year. I have also discovered Mathster, and my school has signed up for the service, which I am using to implement the method (I will be writing a review blog post on Mathster shortly).
Overall, I am excited by this method of teaching. It is certainly a lot of work (especially as I am trying to make some of my own videos as well), but the outcomes for the students seem to be very good. They are developing skills that will be useful later in life (independence, taking good individual notes), and getting the opportunity to practice significantly more than in the tradionaly method.
Do you use the flipped classroom? Is it something you are interested in trying? Comment below.
Sometimes we need students to practice a certain skill, and this can often be a boring lesson with students working through a worksheet or textbook exercise. As teachers we are often looking for ways to get students to practice the needed skills in a more engaging way. The idea of carousel activities has been around for a very long time, and most teachers have used them at point or another.
They involve splitting the class into groups, and having different workstations around the room. Each group starts at one of these workstations with an activity, and after a given amount of time, all groups move round to the next activity. Over the lesson, every student has completed several different activities, and in the process they have practiced the required skill a lot.
A couple of weeks ago, in an INSET session in our department meeting, I shared my website and the QQI range of activities with my department (as well as some other fantastic websites for maths teachers). Since then, several members of the department have been making use of these resources, and helpfully feeding back to me with any issues they have encountered (allowing me to fix them).
However the biggest benefit of sharing, is always that it is a two way process, and in sharing my resources, I had a fantastic suggestion of how to use the new QQI Worksheets in class in an even more engaging way. And that is to use them as a carousel activity.
The QQI Worksheets create 5 different paper based activities which can be printed off to use in class. These are: a standard worksheet; a treasure hunt (or loop card) activity; an odd one out; a codebreaker; and matching cards. Each of these is randomly generated on the given topic, to the specified conditions. My colleague had decided to get one of each of these on decimal addition, and use them as a carousel activity. So simple, yet something I hadn't even thought about.
So if you are looking for an activity to get students practicing a specific skill, but want a more engaging lesson, why not try a carousel activity using the QQI Worksheets. Every one you generate will be different, so you could even have the same type of activity but with different questions around the room.
I am a maths teacher looking to share good ideas for use in the classroom, with a particular interest in using technology as much as possible.
New QQI Range
Build the School