Monday, November 19, 2012

Glimmers

I haven’t written anything in like forever. It seems a little weird, to be honest. Life, like it sometime does, has gotten busy. My history class is also busy. I have seen increase in student ownership of learning. That makes me excited - I had a lot of students fall behind in their first taste of a self-paced, mastery-based classroom. Why the catch-up? A few reasons, I think.
  • Provisional zeroes in the gradebook: Students who didn’t demonstrate mastery of the democracy and revolutions content on the timetable I suggested received provisional zeroes in my gradebook for the classwork as well as the summative assessment that they weren’t ready to complete. I think these provisional zeroes increased the tangibility of my students’ inability to manage their time while in my class.
  • Contracts for success: These students that received zeroes also filled out contracts for success, linked here. These were a good initial reminder of what exactly needed to be done, and gave students a schedule to complete classwork they had fallen behind on.
  • Individual conferences: About a week after students filled out the contracts, I had individual student conferences with students who were still on the previous unit. These typically lasted two to four minutes. Some classes I only had five meetings; in other classes the meetings took most of a 50 minute period. This was not something I could have ever done before I moved to a self-paced, mastery-based flipped classroom. These meetings set specific goals for students to demonstrate mastery of parts of a unit and culminated with a date students would be ready to complete the summative assessment for the unit. Students have done a good job staying faithful to this second date of completion. Nothing like a little #EduHarassment to get some of them back on track.

So what’s next? Despite the fact that more students are owning their learning, there is still one class period where the feeling is just a little off. Students are viewing their classtime as something that is to be played with, not something to be taken advantage of. I am still working to come up with changing the dynamic of that class.