Sunday, 19 June 2016

What's next?

April 7th  - We seems to be at a bit of a standstill, and are meeting with a bit of one's fault, it just is.  Our good intentions of meeting with our Director of Education to discuss our need for student access to our team YouTube channels here at school, as well as our student's desire to create their own flipped video to teach peers, has met with ....well...our director has been seconded and now we have a new director who I feel need some time before we come at her with 'guns blazing'.  We did meet with 2 superintendents and a French facilitator, all of whom were shocked and amazed with our classroom changes and the evolution of student thinking and accountability.  We did explain our need for students to access our YouTube channels here at school and our belief that a next step to flipping would be student flipping.  We recognize the board's concern as a legal liability to have students on YouTube, however other boards have done it with a parental permission form drafted by the board lawyers.Not yet at least.    This has not changed anything...yet...right now... just feeling tired. 
Also, our Kindies to Gr. 3 do not have the same access to technology that our junior and intermediates have, as a result our students cannot work together with peers online (like you can with google docs or office 365), they cannot send their teacher their work to be reviewed in real time and then sent back to them...too many restrictions.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Feeling Good!
I am happy to report that another teacher in the school has taken a step towards making her learning environment more flexible.  She has seen the changes that Sandi and I have been making in our classroom and she felt inspired.  She decided to change up the desk/seating plan and move desks around the room in different arrangements and let the students decide where they wanted to sit.  She has told me the students are soooooo excited and love the freedom to choose where they want to sit.

As for my room I have noticed an improvement in the students engagement and ability to self regulate during the day.  I see students move when they are distracted from others without my involvement.  I also see students interacting more comfortably with me and their peers.  Yes, there are still students who require me to "help" them make a better choice but I still feel I am allowing them to develop these skills in hopes they will be able to self regulate on their own in the future.

All in all I have to say its been a very positive and enlightening experience!

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Better late than never

Well I had great intentions of posting my learning along the way however life seems to have gotten in the way.

This is my first year flipping and I love it!  I love being able to support my students while they are at home, better prepare them for learning in class, review material they need practice with and engage parents with what their children are learning.  By flipping my classroom I am able to achieve all of these things.

I have experienced some inconsistency with regard to students watching the videos at home.  I decided to remind parents of the immense value of the videos to their child by sending a letter home explaining my views.  I also posted the information at the top of my web page where students go to watch the videos.  Since then I have seen an improvement. 

Ms. Chilton's Web Page

That's all for now :)

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Incredible Changes!

So, here we are in March and my TLLP team and I, including my principal headed to Ottawa to meet with some teachers and to visit classrooms in the Ottawa Catholic School Board.  These teachers all started out 'flipping' their classrooms.  As my team continues to create homework videos for the kids, regularly, we needed a 'now what'.  I was happy with the reaction to the videos from both students and parents alike (although it is not the same for our gr. 8 teachers - that will be another entry) and wanted to better understand how we could further embed technology into our flipped learning model.  Our inquiry activities were on the increase, but we still weren't finding them exciting or engaging enough. They were still 'events' and I wasn't entirely happy with that.  My friend Tammy Doyle, an incredible teacher with the OCSB, and also a previous TLLP lead teacher, welcomed us into her gr. 1 class with open arms.  Actually, she and her teaching partner Linda almost had to hold us up as we watched the incredible things going on in a number of classrooms.
She warned us, "This may change the direction of your TLLP a bit!"
 It has.
1)  a unique classroom environment to meet needs of many types of learners
2) team teaching - teachers share the responsibility for students from a variety of classes
3) technology truly being utilized by the students - not as a toy or to play games on, but as a learning tool.
4) inquiry embedded in practice
5) space maker
6) STEM - science, technology, engineering and math
7) self-regulated, self-directed, focussed, happy, engaged children
8) strong communications amongst students to complete tasks

This just skims the surface.  As my TLLP team looked around in wonderment we all agreed, "We want this too!"

So with brains full, excitement brimming and knowing we had full support from our principal and could fall back on the Ottawa teachers as we went along, the car ride back to Uxbridge entailed tonnes of note taking and discussions about what to do first.  Here is what we decided... to make a video for our grade 2/3 and gr. 3 students and to bring their ideas into the mix.  We wanted parents to see it too and to get everyone feeling our excitement:

Well,...the enthusiasm was indeed contagious.  Once students reflected on the video they came in with all kinds of notes, printouts from other classrooms, lists of 2 classes together, we reviewed every single one!  We made a t-chart - Keep ... Change.
This list was 3 chart pages in length with only a few 'keeps' and many 'changes'.
Here are photos of the lists we scribed on behalf of the students.

What was shocking is that much of what we saw, our students came up with on the list.  Their ideas, we had just never asked them before!
With students ideas as our ammunition, Maryann and I spent the weekend shopping - Canadian Tire and online used items sites.  We came back to school and set up the new classroom furniture.  Our custodian was taken aback when we removed all of our desks.  Our principal had our backs and actually, so did our custodians.  In fact they love the change.  So much easier to clean the classrooms.   Together, our classes set up rules for furniture usage within the classrooms.  As well, our students knew that they would be flowing between our two classrooms so they developed a sign in/sign out system, which they can do independently.  This was a change that was only the beginning, but it was huge. 
Next video was a homework video, but we told the students that it was homework for the parents!  They loved that, and basically forced their parents to watch it!

As we continue to move forward, our classes tell us that they love flowing between classrooms.  They now get to chose the literacy and math centres they go to.  Carrying with them their learning goals on a ring.  Each centre has a learning goal to go with it.  As they work through the centre to completion, they can chose to meet with a teacher to conference and discuss why they think they have successfully achieved that goal.  Sometime they may complete a goal and still feel that they need more practice.  They are deciding this...not us!  They are in control of their own learning!  They are thinking about their own learning! 

More to follow...

Monday, 11 May 2015

Our Goal...

Our goal is to develop, and improve teacher knowledge, skill and instructional practices on an inquiry-based learning model, by using a flipped classroom approach and technology.  This will support increased personalized learning for the student, increased engagement as well as increased parental support of their child's learning.  By front-loading video lessons for children to view at home, and revisit as often as they deem necessary, there will be more time in the classroom to interact on-one-on with students, address questions and explore concepts through collaboration, using open-ended inquiry.  By flipping the classroom and incorporating technology into inquiry activity-based learning, parents will have increased access to the curriculum and their child's classroom and thus, can participate and support their child's learning.  

Friday, 8 May 2015

In the Beginning...

Here we are, on this adventure into flipping our classrooms at Joseph Gould P.S. We are excited to embark on this trip and will use this platform to track and share our teacher learning and student learning. We are ready to share our successes and also our struggles...yes, it is a risk, but by sharing we hope to learn from each other.  Possibly, those who wish to join our journey can teach us a few things too!
Image result for flipped learning model
From The Flipped Team