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FlexMath. “Best practice” for the 21st Century school, (and a lot more fun for everybody...) . Our Presentation. Who are we? The philosophy of Flex The model The details The challenges Questions/Feedback. The Philosophy of Flex.
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FlexMath • “Best practice” for the 21st Century school, • (and a lot more fun for everybody...)
Our Presentation.... • Who are we? • The philosophy of Flex • The model • The details • The challenges • Questions/Feedback
The Philosophy of Flex • Flex is based on the premise that students learn at different rates, in different ways and through social interactions. • Flex builds on the idea of “continuous progress” where students attain mastery learning before moving on to new concepts.
The Model (Learning Guides) • The course is subdivided into a number of modules that we call Learning Guides (LG’s). • Each LG contains a general introduction to material in the guide as well as an explicit list of the intended learning outcomes. • The LG’s may contain resource material, links to other resources, sample questions and helpful hints. • The LG’s outline the work that is to be completed by the student before being submitted to the teacher.
The Model (Role of Teachers) • The teacher acts as a resource rather than the traditional deliverer of information. • The teacher is an organizer of additional resources making sure they are available when needed (LG’s, tests, computer stations etc.). • The teacher monitors each student’s progress and communicates with parents on a regular basis.
The Model (Role of Students) • The student should strive to become self-motivated. • The student should learn to present his/her work in an organized manner leading to a solution. • The student should strive to develop time management skills in order to keep to a personal timeline.
A Typical Class Flex Math • Traditional Math • Homework questions • Lesson/ activity • Guided skill practice • Assignment given • Work time • Individual help (if time) • Messages (housekeeping) • LG Packages in / out • Pre-scheduled LG Tests • Work time • Students help each other • Individual help • Tests turned in
The Details • Number of Learning Guides per course. • Mastery Level (60%?, 67%?) • Multiple tests per Guide (at least 3). • Test sign-up sheets. • Individual help lists (when very busy). • Weighting of LG work, LG tests and Final exam. • Test re-writes. • Unacceptable student work. • File folders for individual students.
“Best Practice”...wozzat???? • What we mean by this...creating env. For student ownership of learning, student determination of levels of success, scholarly skills and self-management • HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOU KNOW SOMETHING WELL ENOUGH TO PERFORM IT INDEPENDENTLY? • Communication skills, rigour , attitudes of work • Organizational skills, time management • Goal setting
A sensible delivery model • Team-teaching • Students work at least as hard as the teacher;o} • Timetabling and scheduling • Hidden curriculum!!! • Teacher as MENTOR, not adversary • Individual student needs • Private practice, public performance when ready • MASTERY – set at 60%, 67%???
Students attend every day • Students work productively • Students master all of the material • Students produce high quality work • Students understand concepts • Students are very successful • Students like Math, have fun • Teacher gets some real satisfaction Math Teacher Heaven ? • Why not?!
So many questions... • Why do kids skip class? • Why don’t kids stay on task in class? • Why don’t kids hand in high-quality work? • Why don’t kids hand in work at all? • Why do kids fail tests? • Why do kids fail the course? • Why do kids who pass settle for 49.6%? • How can one lesson be “right” for every student? • Why can’t I do a better Job?
CHALLENGES (For Teachers) • Teachers must be exceptionally organized. Have spreadsheets or customized forms for recording homework, tests, retests for each LG. All tests and retests must be readily accessible for students who have signed up for tests. • Teacher workload can be an issue. Marking is coming in on a daily basis. Written feedback on the quality of student homework is time consuming but valuable to the student. Quick turnaround is essential for the success of the program.
CHALLENGES (For Students) • Flex is more work for the student. Mastery learning requires more effort but this will pay off in the next level of math. • Flex programs put more emphasis on reading skills. Students who are poor readers may have difficulty. • Flex classes tend to be a bit noisier and less structured. Students who are easily distracted may find it a poor environment for their style of learning.
CHALLENGES (For Admin.) • Creating a timetable to accommodate flex can be a challenge. Not all students complete the course at semester end. Flex courses should be offered in both semesters for the seamless flow of continuous learning. • Class size issues may sometimes be a concern because the number of students “flowing over” into the next semester is unpredictable.
CHALLENGES (General) • Students new to the program often initially spend enormous amounts of energy trying to find “shortcuts” (cheating, copying answers from book, not showing work, sloppy or incomplete work, avoiding corrections, or, in short, avoiding the required effort). This greatly adds to teacher workload. • Finding a secure and relatively quiet area of the classroom to administer and monitor tests can be a challenge. A testing centre would be ideal but not many facilities have that luxury.
Roadblocks... • Admin. Misunderstanding: flexMath is a CLASS that needs a consistent dedicated space and teacher and materials, not independent study that students can do in the back of some other class, just to give them a place to sit.
FlexMath lends itself to team-teaching situations with very large groups up to 50 or 60, given adequate space and facilities. Two pairs of eyes and hands and two brains are more than twice as effective.
Our Perspective • We’re retired, we’ve had time to think about this (on the beach) for a few years. • Frustration lingers over never actually getting all systems in place and running right in our school. We knew what we wanted to do, but just couldn’t get all the ducks to line up... • Driven by looking for remedy for unprepared students (low marks in last course) and inadequate time for some students to learn the curriculum. Frustration with not being able to bring capable students to mastery in the time allotted. Pretests in Math11 based on Math9 skills produced scores of 2/20 before we even started.