Faculty Spotlight: Karen Flanagan & Mike Grant

Teacher(s) name(s):Karen Flanagan and Mike Grant

Subject: 6th Grade Math

Specific topic being taught:  Decimal Math

Learning Goal: Students should learn the basic concepts of decimal arithmetic before coming to class.

Technology used: edpuzzle.com website

Description: We worked on an action research project investigating the use of the Flipped Classroom model. One aspect of the Flipped Classroom model is the use of videos for homework to introduce topics to students so they are ready to get right to work in the classroom. We used edpuzzle.com for this purpose. Edpuzzle allowed us to use pre-existing videos from YouTube, trim the start and stop times, and add questions throughout the video to make sure the students were paying attention. The software has a class management aspect that allowed us to see if students watched the videos, how many times they watched them, and how they answered the questions.

Pros: Can Check homework status before the students even get to class and see what questions they got wrong.

Frontloading students with basic instruction helped the class time go smoothly with less repeated instruction.

Cons: It does take some time find quality videos or make your own.

It can be tough to manage when students don’t do their homework and aren’t as well prepared. They may have to watch the videos during class and miss out on in-class work.

Would you use this technology tool again? Yes, maybe weekly rather than every night.

Is there anything you would do differently next time?

Make more time to find the videos and formulate the assessment questions.

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Flipgrid.com

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Are you looking for a new way to assess your students, allow them to express themselves, and generate discussion? Take a look at flipgrid.com. It allows you to use simple video recordings to ask questions and collect answers. It is very popular among foreign language teachers.
Here is a quick video introducing Flipgrid! Let Mike and Molly know if you want to try it out!

Think like a computer?

It’s not new, but lately Computational Thinking (CT) is cropping up in every education publication and on ed blogs all over. This New York Times article from today looks at where the movement started and where it is today.

In thinking about how to teach computational thinking, it’s important to go beyond “approaching problems the way a programmer would” as described in the article. For a better understanding, please check out this  practical definition of computational thinking created by the team at Harvard University that brought us Scratch programming (the language used by our fourth graders with Mr. Grant).

Below are some examples of lessons teachers in all disciplines are using to incorporate computational thinking into their classrooms:

  1. Sample lesson on drawing monsters from code.org
  2. Sample lesson including “decomposing steps,” abstraction and algorithms from code.org
  3. International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) maintains a project page with their own definition and presentations for teachers of all grade levels to add computational thinking to their lessons.
  4. Another ISTE blog post on 3 easy lessons

Are you still with me? Feel free to start a conversation by answering any of these questions in the comments section.

Where do you see computational thinking at work in our current curriculum? (i.e. the steps in a shop project)

Did you see any lessons or ideas that would be easy to incorporate into an existing project?