Skip directly to content

Shot heard round the world

on April 15th, 2013 at 8:00:01 AM

Enjoying front row vieiwing of the re-enactment of the Battle of Lexington thanks to a police officer who gave us VIP passes to get up front.

4th grade division using arrays

on February 16th, 2013 at 1:09:17 PM

Have you seen 4th graders do division? It's completely different than the way we learned it. Here's Elizabeth showing how to do it - Khan Academy style


Don't Lecture Me

on February 10th, 2013 at 8:32:54 AM

Flipped classrooms are getting a lot of attention these days and this is great, since this teaching model can be hugely beneficial for both students and teachers. In a traditional classroom, students listen (usually passively) to a lecture and then they're expected to go home and learn the concepts on their own by doing homework. But in a flipped classroom, things are inverted and the passive lecture watching happens at home while the the active learning happens in the classroom. Students spend their classroom time doing activites with other students, working out problems, and getting coaching and help from their teacher and peers. 

Lots of teachers and college professors are using this new model and the results are positive. Here's one example of how one physics professor structures his class so that his students  learn more from each other during class time:


Here’s how he does it: Before each class, students are assigned reading in the textbook. Pretty standard for a lecture class, but if you talk to college students you’ll find that many of them don’t bother with the reading ahead of time. They come to class to figure out what information the professor thinks is important, then they go to the textbook to read up on what they didn’t understand.
“In my approach I’ve inverted that,” says Mazur.
He expects students to familiarize themselves with the information beforehand so that class time can be spent helping them understand what the information means.
To make sure his students are prepared, Mazur has set up a web-based monitoring system where everyone has to submit answers to questions about the reading prior to coming to class. The last question asks students to tell Mazur what confused them. He uses their answers to prepare a set of multiple-choice questions he uses during class.
Mazur begins class by giving a brief explanation of a concept he wants students to understand. Then he asks one of the multiple-choice questions. Students get a minute to think about the question on their own and then answer it using a mobile device that sends their answers to Mazur’s laptop.
Next, he asks the students to turn to the person sitting next to them and talk about the question. The class typically erupts in a cacophony of voices, as it did that first time he told students to talk to each other because he couldn’t figure out what else to do.
Once the students have discussed the question for a few minutes, Mazur instructs them to answer the question again.
You can see a video of Mazur’s peer instruction approach in action here:
Then the process repeats with a new question.

Read the full post on MindShift.