October 7, 2012 by scasadei
One month into my flipped 7th grade math class, and I am FINALLY able to take a breather and put my reflections in writing.
Since introducing the flipped classroom in September, I have received positive feedback from my administration, my students and their parents. The biggest benefit has been the amount of class time devoted to learning and practice. I no longer spend upwards of 15 minutes checking work book pages that were assigned for homework because we now do them in class as daily formative assessment. The biggest change for me as well as the students was the incorporation of Edmodo. Before I get into all the details, I will say that I am very happy with Edmodo and find it a very valuable tool for organizing assignments, record keeping, data analysis, and assessment. That being said, it took about two weeks for my students (all 67 of them) to get the hang of it: logging in daily, and turning in the assignment to me vs. posting a reply to the group.
Using Edmodo to facilitate the flipped classroom, at least the way I have decided to do it, is a lot of work. The time that I would have spent checking homework in the classroom has been replaced with me creating, responding to, and following up on Edmodo assignments. Between the hours of 4pm to midnight, I receive 67 “bings” (on a good night!) as my students submit their assignments. Since I am using their assignments as formative assessment, I need to read and respond to their work before I start class the next day. This is the only “downside” to my flipped classroom – however, I walk into class the next day knowing exactly who “gets it” and who doesn’t, and what I need to do meet their specific needs. I happily respond to all 67 of my “bings” because the information I gain from their responses is worth every minute of the extra time I spend on Edmodo.
Flipped Classroom Assignments on Edmodo
A typical math “homework” assignment is a video that introduces the topic or skill we will be covering the next day in class. I like for the students to have a heads-up and can come to class having already thought about the topic. I upload or link a video from BrainPop, YouTube, etc. to Edmodo and have the students watch it. I also post one application question to see to what degree they grasp the information. The students type their response in Edmodo and submit it directly to me. This is what my home page looks like:
The students understand that they do not have to fully understand the concept in order to get credit for the assignment. I just want them to try. Whether they get the answer correct, incorrect, or send me a message saying “I don’t understand how…”, they still get credit for the assignment. We always start the next class taking about the video, discussing the question I posted, comparing answers and the different ways many of them arrived at the same solution.
Here is a screenshot of the grade book within Edmodo. This is where I keep track of the students’ assignments. They will receive a 1/1 if the assignment was completed on time, and a .5/1 if it was late. At the end of the trimester they will receive an Edmodo assignment grade which is based on completed (rather than “correct”) assignments. I want them to feel free to take risks and reflect on their thinking, and grading them the traditional way would be counterproductive.
Edmodo as a Tool for Formative Assessment
My favorite feature in Edmodo is the quiz. I can create my own multiple choice, true/false, short answer, or fill in the blank self-grading quiz, and assign it as homework. I usually create a ten question quiz at the end of each skill or unit. Each student’s scores are reported directly to me, and the results of all of my students are complied in this awesome graphic:
When I first saw this I nearly giggled with delight! With this particular quiz, I learned that the students generally did well with the computation questions, but struggled with the vocabulary. Guess what we focused on for the first ten minutes of the next day’s class…the vocabulary!
The other really cool thing about the quiz feature is that each student’s work is timed as well as time stamped. I can see who took the quiz at 4:45pm and who took it at midnight. I can see who spent 12 minutes working through the questions and who breezed through it in 50 seconds. If two students score a 4/10, and one spent 12 minutes working on it and the other spent 50 seconds, I know who’s really working and who is not. You just can’t get that kind of data from a work book page.
Is it working?
I know some teachers compare tests results from year to year trying to quantify their results of the flipped classroom. I will not compare the kids in front of me to the kids I taught last year. I will say that I am pleased with the results of their first unit test and their first project-based assessment. The students were also pleased with their results. Most importantly, they feel confident participating in class and asking questions when they come in with the background knowledge from the video assignment. They come in ready to discuss the concept and willing to try something new.
It is working, and I couldn’t be happier!
The 7th grade science teacher saw how she could utilize Edmodo in her class, so together we created a group for science. Once the students are on Edmodo, they can access another class by adding the unique group code. This was their first week of completing both math and science assignments on Edmodo. The Social Studies teacher is looking to create a group for the social studies classes for the second trimester. She wants to post her videos on Edmodo and free up some class time for more group work. Edmodo will be a one-stop resource for our 7th graders. Luckily, they think it’s cool…for now
I welcome your comments and suggestions!