Krystal's Klog

Volume 1, Issue 1

Back in the Classroom, a case for flipping

For the past few weeks I have been given the opportunity to work with fourth grade as they do a writing camp of sorts. After looking at student work, they grouped the students by what they needed--organization, elaboration or polishing. I am working with Ms. Smalling and the organization group. I have loved the experience, and as with most things, I've learned a lot. Better stated, I have realized that things I thought I was doing correctly I still need to work on and realized that I would do things differently if I were back in the classroom.

First and foremost I learned that gradual release is a real thing that I have to do. Of course we have all heard of the gradual release model, and I was certain that I knew how to use it, but when I am faced with a group of students who need a lot of help organizing their ideas and putting them on paper, I realized that often I have just skimmed over the "We Do It" part of the model. I'm pretty sure that I do that when I'm teaching staff development as well. I think that it all comes down to time. I never feel like I have enough time in class, so sometimes it is this part of teaching that I skip. Working with these students has made me realize that I shouldn't skip this part. In fact, it has made me think that the flipped classroom would really help with this time constraint. I could easily have taken video of myself going from graphic organizer to paper--and had them watch it on their own time. Then I would have more class time for the we do it and you do it part of the model. More time for me to work with the students and have them engage in their writing.

The second thing that I learned is that wait time is really, really important, and so is giving every single student time to share. The very first question we asked in our group was met with wide-eyes and the sound of crickets chirping. This is a group of students that is used to having someone else raise their hand to answer--so they have learned that they don't have to. It has been so hard to get them to realize that there is no one else to answer our questions, that they have to be active in the class. It has changed how I teach, and you might have noticed this during my digital citizenship lessons. I have been giving a lot more wait time and a lot more "turn and talk" time. When I was in the classroom I thought I was working really hard to make everyone participate, but again, time would be a factor. I needed to get through the lesson so I could go on to the next really important thing. A way to gain some time would be to flip some of this material. If the kids have the lecture and questions in advance, they will have the opportunity to think through the material and form some ideas and might be more willing to raise their hands and participate in the discussion.

Flipping isn't about making a lot of videos or completely changing the way you teach in the classroom. Flipping is about maximizing time spent with students. Flipping is about asking ourselves what we could send home with students that we don't mind giving up control of, so that we can some control over other aspects of our classes. Flipping is whatever you want to make of it so that you gain back some precious time in the classroom.

As always, I'm happy to explore options with you. Just let me know if you are interested!

Perseverance: A Lesson from the Week of Code

The week of code has been so long ago that you might not even remember it, but I haven't gotten the chance to share some of my thoughts about the experience. When this cute video came across my reader, I thought I could tie it into the coding experience.

The entire experience was fun. K-5 participated, and all of the classes seemed to really enjoy the experience. The most eye opening part of the week was seeing who has a natural tendency toward perseverance. I would say that about 15% of the students would try a level and quit immediately to ask for help. That's school wide. The rest worked really hard to get the job done. There were varying degrees--some of the upper grades would quit one tutorial and try another, and some of the younger grades leaned on their peers for help, but truly I was impressed with the students' grit. I thought that there would be a lot more whining, complaining and asking for solutions to the problems, but the kids jumped right in and got to work. It was awesome to see the students persevering, even when the problems got hard.

I'd love to keep the coding going, so if you would like some ideas for things to do in the classroom with coding, just let me know. There are lots of resources out their for kids (and adults!) to learn about coding.

Using the Right Cord

Have you received an error message on your computer that there isn't enough power to run the docking station and/or computer? If you have, it might be that you are using the wrong cord to power the docking station.

Our laptops came with two cords one that is 130W and one that is 65W. The 65W cord is for travelling purposes and doesn't have enough power to charge the docking station, computer and anything else plugged in to the docking station. In the picture the 65W cord is the smaller brick with rounded edges.

If you check that and the problem persists, put in a ticket and someone will be out to take a look at your computer.

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About Me

A Klog is a knowledge base, and that is what I would like for my newsletters to be. A knowledge base of ideas, tips and tricks, news and stuff that I find interesting and hope that others will too.