Saturday, August 29, 2020

Live Virtual Lessons: Challenge Problems

This week I've been sharing different ideas for your live virtual lessons. Today's video is about using challenge problems to engage your kids in rigorous problem solving while fostering risk taking and helping kids verbalize their problem solving strategies. 

Watch the video below to hear how I plan to use challenge problems in my virtual classroom this year. Then leave a comment and let me know if they will work in your classroom. 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Live Virtual Lessons: 3 Act Tasks

 This week is all about ways you can engage your students during your math virtual lessons. In a typical year, 3 Act Tasks are a huge part of my daily class math meetings. You can read all about how I use them in this blog post: https://www.teachingredefined.com/2019/08/math-workshop-using-3-act-tasks.html

But I wanted to take some time to talk to you about how this would work in a virtual setting. Obviously, things aren't going to go exactly the same way, but that doesn't mean you have to shy away from your usual resources/lessons. 

So watch the video below to hear how I plan to use 3 Act Tasks in my virtual math lessons: 

Leave a comment and let me know what you think about using 3 act tasks in your virtual lessons. What questions or concerns do you have about the technology? I'm here to help!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Live Virtual Lessons: Place Value Games

 This week I'm sharing quick and easy ideas for your math live virtual lessons. Today's video is all about using a simple place value game called "The Greatest Number". 

Watch the video below to learn how to play the game and how to incorporate the game into your virtual lessons. 

Be sure to follow me on Instagram @teachingredefined for more ideas for your virtual/hybrid/social distanced classroom. I promise to continue to bring you great ideas in a chaotic toddler-filled setting ; )

Leave a comment and let me know what your virtual lessons will look like!

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Whole Class Math Meetings

I've been using a flipped model in my math class since 2013. (Want to know more? Check out this post). That means that my whole group instruction has been replaced with short instructional videos. However, it does not mean that I don't meet with my class whole group at the beginning of our math workshop time. I just use that time differently now. 

As my school moves to virtual instruction to start the year (and with some students choosing this method for the foreseeable future), our district has designed a day where students tune in for a live lesson at the beginning of an instructional block. This lesson is also recorded for students who can't make the live time. So I had to stop and think - would there still be a way to do a flipped model in this style? Or would the live lesson replace my instructional videos? 

My biggest concern was the very reason why I switched to instructional videos in the first place - how would I keep students engaged while I lectured? And do I need to completely shift away from a workshop model or is there a way to keep things similar even with virtual learning? 

One of my favorite things about using a flipped model is that gone are the days of me standing at the front of the room while my students take notes. Trying to teach while ensuring that they are taking notes, that I'm not going too fast for slow students or too slow for fast students. That they're actually paying attention. That the lesson doesn't last too long. That I answer questions, but also keep the lesson moving along. You know the struggle. 

I can only imagine the added difficulty of this when I'm teaching to a computer screen and my students are staring at a screen that also has the faces of all their classmates staring back at them, along with whatever distractions are in their home. And it's not so easy to see that they're taking notes, or paying attention, or for them to feel comfortable asking questions. 

So the question remains, if I don't use my live lessons for teaching new content - what will it look like? 

I plan to treat the live lessons the same way I treated my whole group time in person - as a class math meeting. These meetings are a time for our class to come together and work challenge problems, play math games, work through engaging real-world problems, do number talks, or practice an activity they'll do on their own later. During these meetings students are active participants and it's a way to practice the current skill in a more play-based/discussion based format. 

Over the next week I'll be sharing tips for running successful math meetings - and they'll all be virtual learning friendly!

Leave a comment and let me know: will you be conducting live lessons with your virtual learners? 

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Edpuzzle for Flipped Video Lessons

If you're just getting started with flipped lessons an easy tech tool to use is Edpuzzle. Edpuzzle is a website that allows you to embed questions into videos and assign them as lessons to your students. It's a great way to hold students accountable for watching videos and works nicely with Google Classroom. 

There are few things I like about Edpuzzle - especially with remote learning: 

Last spring when I was assigning video lessons, my students had a lot of trouble with videos loading when I shared a video via Google Drive or straight in Google Classroom. However, if I uploaded the same video to Edpuzzle they were able to watch it without any problems. 

You can upload your own videos or use videos you find online. However, be sure you're aware of your school's policy on sharing online videos. Youtube videos are blocked for my students so even if I put the YouTube video in Edpuzzle, my kids won't be able to watch the video on their school-issued device. 

Edpuzzle allows you to insert questions throughout the video. The video will pause and force students to answer a question before moving on. This is a great way to ensure your kids are paying attention to the video or to also grade students on the video content. On the free version you're able to insert multiple choice questions or short answer. 

Edpuzzle has some great tutorial videos to help you get started. You can check them out here: https://go.edpuzzle.com/resources_teachers_getstarted.html

Have you used Edpuzzle with your kids? What do you love? What do you wish was different? What questions do you have? Leave a comment and let me know. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Introducing Video Lessons

 This school year many teachers will find themselves using video lessons for the first time. Some will be teaching entirely online, while others will be using video lessons in combination with in-person teaching. 

I started using video lessons as part of an in-class flip for my math workshop back in 2013. I get asked all the time about implementing video lessons and my biggest piece of advice is to be intentional about how you start the year. Just like we set clear expectations for other parts of our school day, we need to set clear expectations for video lessons. 

Usually I introduce math workshop (which includes video lessons) during the first week of school, often on day 2or 3. We start with a concept that is related to our first topic, but is a review skill. For example, we usually start the year with place value so I’ll begin by reviewing 6-digit numbers (a skill they learned the year before). This way we can focus on the process of workshop without the added challenge of new content. It’s also a great way to get them thinking about math again. 

The first day that we watch a video lesson, I gather the students on the rug and play the lesson for the whole class. As I play the lesson, I pause and model my thinking as I complete the notes page that goes with the video. The kids fill in the notes page along with me. 

After we watch the video and complete our notes page, we review the process. What did they notice about how I watch video lessons? As we debrief/discuss I create an anchor chart for video lessons. A lot of times this takes the format of a t-chart with the headings “looks like”/”sounds like”. 

The second day we do a video lesson, I start by having the class gather on the rug and we review the anchor chart for watching video lessons. Then we walk through how they will find the video and again go over my expectations (wear headphones, taking notes as you watch, pause when you need to, rewind if you need to, etc.). I then send them off to watch the video while I circulate the room giving reminders when needed. After everyone is done, we come back to the rug and debrief again. 

Okay great, that’s a normal year. So what about if we’re learning virtually?? 

My school will be utilizing a lot of live lessons, but even though there will be live lessons there will still be times when kids are watching a video (or a replay of the live lesson) and I want to set clear expectations for both live virtual lessons and recorded lessons. 

I plan to follow much of the same process as I’ve done in person. I will model and “think aloud” what I expect. For recorded lessons, I plan on showing a video through my screen share and modeling for students what they should be doing when they watch a video lesson. 

Want to know more about how I launch math workshop? 

Check out my launching math workshop series

Need more information on video lessons/flipped models? I have a *free* course that will teach you everything you need to know. Check it out here

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Blended Math Workshop

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what math workshop will look like this year. Is it even possible? There are still so many unknowns, even as the start of the school year quickly approaches.

For my school, the *current* plan (seems to change by the day) is to start the year virtual for 3 weeks and then offer both in-person and virtual learning. Parents will choose the model they want for each 9-week grading period. 

In-person learning will also look very different with students staying apart from each other, no sharing of materials, and wearing masks all day. 

While I am certainly no expert in how to teach in a socially distanced classroom or an entirely virtual one, the blended workshop model I’ve been using for years (which includes video lessons) makes this challenge a little less overwhelming. 

Click below to watch my video where I discuss my typical blended workshop model along with thoughts and ideas for the current school year. 

After you watch, leave a comment with what your year will look like and your biggest challenges with incorporating math workshop.