I am not COVERING the curriculum…anymore.

 “Science is altogether dynamic and wonderfully incomplete.”
David P. Barash

Sorry.

Can’t do it any more.

The prescribed but useless bits of unrecognizable googlable information that I have been force feeding to children for years.

It has to go.

I get why it is here: it is tangible. And tangible is why we gravitate to it... making life appear finite and explainable… defining the edges.

Go here but not here. We like that.

Neat and tidy. A laundry list…

However…

It is not a God. It will not save us. Miraculously.

Because we followed.

Blindly.

Faithfully.

Over the years.

I do not accept the curriculum as doctrine.

Anymore. 

Submitting. Myself and my kids to it.
As if I am less and these children in my care are less.

Than it... a document…made out of paper.

I did. But…(this is incredibly and inexplicably hard)

I will not.

Any more.

I am more connected to these children than this document. Created by who? when? And why?

I can and will… stand up and say:

1. It is. Not enough.

2. It is dead. It died 10 years ago and has been lying there. A dead, decaying corpse. All of us unsure what to do with it.

3. It has no power. It goes nowhere.

4. It is boring. As. Snot. All chopped up.

5. It was created for and by another generation.

6. It was created to groom students for more of the same.

 And yet, the temptation remains: to rest on our laurels, to celebrate our truly encyclopedic knowledge, to teach it, write it, speak it, learn it, demand that it be mastered as if what we know now is enough.

 David P. Barash

From the horse’s mouth to your ear, #flipclass student speaks!

Kaitlin Graf is a Grade 10 student (now Grade 11) at Okanagan Mission Secondary. This is her second semester in a Flipped Math class with my colleague and fellow flipper, @Math_Johnson.

My name is Kaitlin Graf and I have experienced two semesters of Math (Math 10 and now Math 11) in a Flipped Class.  At first I disliked the Flipped Class but later I realized that it was actually very helpful.

I remember the first flipped class lesson I had. We all filed into the classroom and were handed a notes package along with a checklist of things we should complete before a test deadline. For example, there were journal entries we had to complete, several practice Moodle quizzes and of course math problems, we were assigned to do.  Instead of my teacher proceeding to teach us our 1.2 notes on surface area through the typical method of lecturing, we were given time to work through the material at our own pace. The concept of the flipped class and that we would be watching videos at home, and doing our homework in class. As a student, one of my favorite subjects is math, because of the structure and because for some reason I loved the boring, obvious, lesson plan. Since the flipped class took away the standard and traditional ways I didn’t like the flipped classroom at first. I felt that because our teacher was no longer teaching us and that there was no point on coming to class.

However, after a while in the flip class, I began to see the benefits of the flipped class and use them to my advantage. As a motivated student, I was no longer sitting around, waiting for the other kids to finish, I was no longer annoyed with the questions certain students asked and was not forced to re-learn things I was already confident I knew.

As well, I could move through the course as quickly as I liked, do as much or as little homework as I felt I need. After a couple of weeks into the flipped class, I actually started to like the overall idea of it. I also realized that during class there was now more time for the teacher to help you one to one, which in Math is extremely helpful.

The videos provided are additionally helpful because you can re-watch them as many times as you want. When you don’t understand something, you can just go online and find the section that explains your problem and move on.

At the end of the day, I cannot imagine returning to a regular Math class.

Meaning of grades? You tell me.

Student D shows up for class early, Staples-issue binder, Lou Lou Lemon lovely, warm breakfast sandwich lovingly wrapped in one hand and a Venti Starbucks in the other. As she enters she asks: “Can I ask you a couple of questions?” She sits at the front, during class she will ask up to 10 questions and gets impatient if her needs are not quickly meet. At break she hangs out with other like-minded’s and they map out a plan of attack for the up coming Physics project.

Student S shows up late. She struggles to get to school every day. Her mom tries to text her from work in the morning to wake her up. Her binder is somewhere, she just can’t remember where? Maybe her boyfriend’s car? She does not have time for breakfast or really the energy to make it. She rushes out the door hair wet. Once again, she did not bother to get the answers for the chemistry homework assignment….oh well.  None of her friends are in chemistry and she does know anyone well enough to text them for the worksheet answers.

Student C works upwards of 20 hours a week. She and her Mom have just moved to an apartment closer to school so she can walk to both school and work. When homework is assigned she relies on her friends. She is happy she has smart friends. She would like to do her own work but she just can’t keep up with the demands of work and school. For a Physics assignment where she had to build a catapult she thankfully purchased one from a former student. She tries to get her friends to tutor her right before tests and go through the material. She finds she is too tired most days to focus in class.

Student M sneaks quietly into to class, head down, books clutched tight, treading lightly as she moves to the back corner of the room, hoping to remain unnoticed a little longer. During class, she does not interact with other students and only on the rare occasion will talk to her teacher. She dislikes group work and any enforced group activities make her feel anxious. For the last group project she had no one to work with and ended up by default having to work with the other “left-over” student. The partnership did not go well and as a result the project feel on her shoulders to complete.

Now. Guess the grade for each of the above students?

Go on. I’ll wait.

By guess I mean use your detective skills to figure them out.

Did you have a knee jerk reaction of some sort to each description on how you expected them to do based on your experiences and biases?

Lately, I have been wondering (and feeling kind of queasy as a result) if grades, especially at the secondary level (as I watch my teen and her friends move through) in a points based transactional model, are more related to how the student is socially connected and than anything else.

What do grades tell us? You tell me.