Summer Fun – Developing a New Course #flipclass #mathchat #edchat

This summer has been busy… busy doing one of the things I love most, creating lessons. Developing lessons is where I feel I get the chance to explore and play with ideas. I don’t feel like I have enough time during the school year to really tap into the same creative energy I have during the summer, so I prefer doing work during my “time off”. During the school year, my focus is on tweaking and customizing those lessons for my set of students… and on trying to get to know my students as individuals as much as possible. This summer, however, I think I took on a bit too much. Which I do regret, in retrospect, because: 1. I think the creativity really flows best when I’m feeling most calm and relaxed; and 2. I don’t feel as energized as I typically do going into the school year. That being said, I’m really excited about the work that I did this summer and cannot wait to meet my new students! I just wish I had about 3 more weeks…

This year, I will be teaching a new course, Honors Algebra 2. Actually, I taught the course when I first began, but I’ve grown a bit since then :) In addition to preparing a new course, I felt like it was a perfect course to “flip”. I’m excited to try the format with 9th and 10th graders and to really open up class space to explore. With AP, I feel constrained by the curriculum, so I really don’t feel like I’ve been able to do enough playing with ideas. But I won’t have that problem in Algebra 2, which is exciting!

This summer, I have created PPT lessons (like the ones I created for AP Calculus) for students to take notes on while watching videos. I’ve tried to structure the course to be much more discovery-based than my AP Calculus set-up. You can’t really tell this from the videos, but the way I’m pacing things will set that up nicely. I wanted to keep the videos lecture-style because I hope that students who stumble across them can use them. I’ve gotten so many wonderful notes from students who found and used my AP Calculus videos… and also some from teachers. So it was important to me to keep the videos viewable and understandable to all. Additionally, my mom has been teaching the class for the past couple years and I wanted to take the opportunity to collaborate with her in the recording process. It’s not everyday that you have an opportunity like that… We have a lot to learn from one another and having a bit of back-and-forth in the video makes it a bit more engaging, I hope.

I have decided that my focus this year will have to be on creating the videos and paying close attention to how my students respond… and tweaking along the way. I will play with the in-class ideas that I have, but I’m just not going to have time to fully develop all of them. In AP Calculus, the first year I flipped, I focused on creating the videos and devoted the second year to restructuring the in-class experience. And now I’m so pleased with how my classroom is running. So I won’t beat myself up if I can’t do it all with Algebra 2 this school year!

Here’s a preview of some of what I’ve been up to (a playlist of the first chapter, which is largely review for students). Please share with others who might benefit from the videos. And I’d love feedback / suggestions…


For all Algebra 2 videos:

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