Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Flipped Lesson 2 - reflections

Today saw my second flipped learning lesson in MFL take place and I'm learning something new from each experience. Unfortunately, due to the completely restrictive nature of the controlled assessments at GCSE, I am off timetable Tuesday for speaking exams with my year 10 class, so this lesson was perhaps a bit rushed through so that we could have another go. Rhiannon couldn't take part in this lesson as she now has a student teacher taking her year 8 class but she helped us with the planning process and we were all happy with how the lesson was to take place. Pupils were set the video homework Thursday for completion for Monday - perhaps cutting it a little fine but most pupils had completed the homework by the deadline (a clear sign of their motivation, perhaps?).

We cut down on the differentiated activities this time as we felt that there was just a little bit too much going on in the first lesson. For a number of reasons, I felt that today too that was the case. It was a period 4 lesson, just before lunch and the pupils were a bit rowdy. Coupled with the fact they were arriving in dribs and drabs from swimming, we didn't get off to the greatest start, but I should add that we completed all the activities we set out too. I say 'we', as the flipped model does feel more collaborative with the students. The teachers put the work in and the students do their bit by completing the homework tasks so that they are ready for the lesson; if one of us didn't fulfil our expected role here, the lesson just wouldn't work.

Anyway we hit a couple of stumbling blocks in that today was a theme day so there was not one single piece of ICT equipment up for grabs, which meant the few pupils who hadn't completed their homework had to share my laptop. This wasn't practical - the class were a little on the noisy side and 6 pupils around one laptop wasn't going to work so they went and sat in the foyer. Rather than facilitating, I ended up crowd controlling somewhat. However, as soon as they had all seen the clip they joined us again and set about completing the rest of the lesson's activities.

Sentence ordering cards

We asked pupils to sort some sentences into the correct order as they were cut into cards. For some of the tables this was easy, so we had three sentences for them to have a go at. I think what the students, and indeed I as well found difficult was the 'checking' this activity was right. They are so keen for instant feedback the first time they complete an activity. Rather than having a couple of goes and seeing which way fits best, they simultaneously wanted me to check each of their sentences. I explained to them at the end of the class that they are going to have to learn to trust their judgement and go back to what they learned - where did Miss have a time phrase in her video? Have I made sure that's where my time phrase is too? I think they might need some training to get the concept of independently going through the lesson's activities - but I do feel it's worth the effort to persevere.

When asked, the students could articulate the purpose of the activities they were completing in relation to the work completed at home. They could identify that this was a skill needed in order to get them higher NC levels (not that they are set to be around much longer, but that's another blog post) and had retained the grammar structure well. They openly said that they enjoyed the video because it was fun to see the writing happening 'live' as it were but in this instance the video was too long, as we suspected. Some preferred the acting from their first flipped lesson but then who wouldn't want to see their teachers making a fool of themselves?  The only other thing I think we need to reconsider for next time is how to structure the tasks for those who don't complete the homework preparation task. I don't want to make it a punishment as I still want to engage those pupils but as might be imagined, the pupils who consistently don't complete their homework are usually the ones you might not want seated together! Perhaps catching up on the video is not the best way to start the lesson with those pupils - something I need to reconsider for the future.

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