Monday, August 26, 2013

Flipped Classroom Check-In #2: The One Where I Almost Pulled the Plug

Hi Education Universe-

Rough day.  Just got home at 10 PM from grad school and working on my flip vids.  I'm a little behind, partially due to technical stuff and slight procrastination.

I talked about how we were going to use the Cornell style of notes in class today with a few modifications.  Here's a look at them:

This is what students will fill out when they watch.  I was really excited about this.  I mean sure it was a little more work than annotating PowerPoint slides in class with me, but they could do it whenever they wanted.

That's the point of the flipped model right?  Accessibility, flexibility, and mastery.

They were less than enthused...  eye rolls for all.  Combine that with a very loud day and confusion still over the XP system and you can imagine that I was a bit deflated when I came home.

I could have gone for a jog, instead I decided to blog.  This is one of those days where as upbeat and positive as I am, I felt like perhaps I should just quit the whole thing and go back to something traditional.

I'm sure Dave Burgess would have made me walk the plank, or maroon me in a school in the 1950's.  It's hard to keep up that spirit when the kids don't exactly buy in.  But I'm going to stick to my guns on this one, because ultimately I think it's best for them.  When they get that free time after completing their required work to explore, I think they'll buy in.

I also added a quartermaster system to my class so students who are responsible and trustworthy can get badges on Edmodo as quartermasters.  They handle classroom logistics from running errands, decorating, cleaning up, making copies, and grading papers.

I awarded the first quartermaster badges today.

I also found new contacts as I met Rob Steller (@robbiestells) on Twitter.  He is working to produce a classroom XP interface that would mesh with some of my ideas.  I look forward to learning more in the future.

Here's his project at  Check it out!

Back to flipping videos, and hopefully not desks tomorrow :).  7th graders in August are just loud.

If I had to get a tattoo, it would say one of the following (in order)

1.  Carpe Diem (cliche but I don't care)
2.  TLAP
3.  School = Fun
4.  What's the Common Core?
5.  #Gamification
6.   Do or do not, there is no try.

But I'd never get one... so that's all just speculation

Until next time...

Mr. J.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Flipped Classroom Check-In #1: The One Where I Might Have Procrastinated Just a Bit

After a 3 week hiatus... I'm back!

So as always... hello education universe!

If you are a visual learner, or if you just don't want to read my glorious post... here's my first Flip Vid:

School has started, and I am slowly getting back into the swing of things.  Tomorrow will be quite a bit of work for me as I work to get my flipped videos completed.  But at the suggestion of many people I have met in the Twittersphere, I am going to blog as I go.

So here's the update.

My classroom is up and running, and I am in the process of working on putting the final touches on my XP system.  My first flipped video is completed, with about two dozen in the works.  I have about 48 hours to get those done as well.  I'm trying very hard to make the videos somewhat entertaining, and I hope that the kids like them.  I ran into my first snag over the summer when I recommended xtranormal to some fellow Tweeps and found out that it was shutting down its service.  I was horrified, because this meant that my digital sidekick, Mike, the History-Loving Robot was lost.

Farewell.  You are, and forever shall be, my friend.

Ok so Wrath of Khan references aside, I had a problem.  So I quickly scoured the internet for a replacement.  I came upon two websites:

Go Animate will be the new home of my cartoon creations, while Pow Toon serves as the way to create the introduction and graphics for the beginnings of my videos.

And with Go Animate, Mike got a new look, or as I call it, some "upgrades."  So he's back!  And he got back on Edmodo!

My videos are coming along.  I am using my SMART Board and a USB microphone to record my instruction.  If I am using a program like Google Earth, I use a USB headset to narrate instead. I am combining the theme of the videos and my XP system in class to create sort of a military/secret agent type of system.  So far, the kids seem to be ok with it.  In the future, Mike will probably be getting into trouble that only my students can save him from.  But that is for another day.

Students will interact with most course materials, including my videos, through Edmodo.  This has allowed me to form groups of students for projects and eventually reading groups in the future.  Each group of kids came up with their own "company" name and logo using the NATO alphabet.  The results were that the "Junior High Army" command structure began to form:

Each grade became a "division," each section in each grade a "regiment," and "companies" became project groups.  Each designed their own logo to represent themselves:

So now it is just a matter of getting the work done.  I am picking reading assignments, finishing up my videos, and creating assignments over the next couple days.  I'm excited, but I'd be lying if I said I don't feel at times as if maybe I got myself into an amount of work and prep that perhaps I cannot keep up with... especially with Baby J. only a few months away.

But I think I am on to something... and I'll check in again soon!

Enjoy the year!

Mr. J.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Tag' Em

I hardly recognized you education universe... it's been awhile.

My ball game got rained out tonight so I am taking the time to post for the first time in forever.  Hopefully no one of the nearly 2,000 page viewers held their breath (no refunds).  Anyways, a quick new thought tonight in my constantly developing XP system.

I ordered 150 plastic dog tags the other day.  I'm using them as a way to keep track of things that tend to wander away in my room.  I'm going to give each kid a set, and if they want to borrow something or reserve their spot at the computer, they need to give me their tags.  Additionally, if they are misbehaving, I can take their tags for awhile as a way of reinforcing my expectations.  They will also be allowed to write their name and unit (group) on the tags and show them off.

Here's what they look like:

These will help to reinforce my military XP system theme as we go, and may serve as an in-class intervention for behavior prior to a referral or other corrective action.  It will also help me make sure my stuff comes back to me.  I bought like 5 million pencils last year that I never even got to use.

I'm hoping groups of kids will choose matching tags and we can begin to develop subcultures within my class with norms and expectations of their own.  With everything tied to academics, this was a good way to reinforce the behaviors.  We'll see what happens.

I plan to document my journey this year.  Between flipping, grouping, e-learning, BYOD, and the XP system, who knows what's going to happen.

Right now there's just a lot of possibilities.

Hoping for a drier tomorrow... I got a championship to defend.

Mr. J.