Morphing into a student-centered environment


I've hit the ground running with flipped instruction this year. Almost all my parents that I've talked to have commented that their child likes the "open-endedness" of outside assignments. For those of you new to "flipping" the general consensus is that students take notes either from the a.) book, or b.) video. Although this might be a good starting point, I would suggest that you mix in a some differences in summarizing and reflections to make each assignment slightly different and interesting. Here's an example:
  1. Read pages 39-41
  2. Watch the video example of example problems 1, 2, 3 and 4.
  3. Take notes on these examples but in your native language! If you are Korean, take notes in Korean, Vietnamese? In Vietnamese?
  4. Explain what property you would use to solve "k" divided by 2.5 = 6
  5. Reflect: As this is the last assignment of our first unit, write down your thoughts of how math is going for you. How do you think you are adjusting? Keeping up with work alright?
I just finished the first unit of the year and it's been dynamite. I was slow to integrate tech because my students didn't even have laptops for the first two weeks of school so I was taking notes on old school butcher paper so they'd be visible in class for reference. No more.



Since students have started to learn the routine of the classroom and my expectations, I'm starting to vary up new approaches to learning. (I would consider some of what I did in my first unit pretty antiquated but some parents of new students that for their child, it's been a complete paradigm shift in learning)

As the class adapts, it's time to evolve. This evolution is to enhance the experience of debriefing and sharing student's thoughts on outside assignments. So far, I have been the primary facilitator of this process, but I'm shifting the responsibility onto the students for our next unit. For the video example, I've posted a similar assignment to the one above, although I'm adding a section below it entitled questions for discussion in class. Like this:
  1. Read page 64 to 65 of your textbook from the section 2.1 "Rational Numbers"
  2. Watch Videos from examples 1,2 and 3. Write two key points from each video.
  3. Write your own definitions to the following terms Rational Number, and Relatively Prime Number.
  4. Explain how you can be sure that a fraction is simplified.
  5. Connect in your own words how percentages, fractions and decimals are all "cousins". Use "Like" or "as" and write a simile of your own!
Questions for student discussion in class. You don't have to write answers to these, but think about them for the student centered discussion:
  1. Where do we use fractions in our daily lives? Examples?
  2. How could athletes use statistics such as fractions, decimals, and percents to improve their "game"?



The discussion questions are meant to connect the learning to life in order to foster an appreciation for math and make it relevant. By putting the onus on the students, the learning experience becomes student centered and gives more opportunities for leadership and development of intra and interpersonal skills. I'll be taking notes in the background that students can refer to later (imagine that, a teacher who takes notes on his students!) on a simple Inspiration Map that I can add to our Moodle page for reference later. I have some other ideas for homework debriefing such as Socrative Teacher but I shant pilot them till later units. I stepped up for some explanations of applications of this work and to summarize what was said, but my goal is to put the role of 'learner' on the student.


Approaches to learning cannot be static. I think a dynamic classroom is one full of constants and variables alike. As our world is rapidly changing, It makes sense for educators to introduce change to students as a constant process that knocks them off their comfort level and encourages them to take risks as being competitive in our rapidly changing world requires adaptability.

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