Flipped Classes Part 4: How to Flip a Lesson

 In part 1 of this series, we talked about what a flipped class is. In part 2 I gave you a list of things you should consider when planning your flip. In part 3 we talked about getting student buy-in. Now, it's finally time to see it in action. How do I actually turn my lecture notes into a flipped lesson? Here are a few general considerations to get you started before we jump into the example: Work from concrete to abstract. Give students very concrete examples and exercises to work with in the pre-class. That will put them in a strong position to move to a more abstract understanding when you meet together as a class. Students can read definitions and formulas. They may not yet understand the concepts totally, but they certainly are capable of writing them down without you putting them on the board. This is an excellent task for the pre-class activities. Avoid "tricky" problems in the pre-class activities. While students are not expected to fully absorb the topics

Flipped Classes Part 3: Do's and Don'ts of Getting Student Buy-In

 The first time I heard about the idea of flipped classes, I thought they were incredibly stupid. "But then they're not teaching you!" I said. Obviously, my perspective on this has changed. I now often reflect on why I started out with that perception, and I can almost surely point it to how it was described to me. At the time, I was an undergraduate student working in the on-campus tutoring center. The department was piloting a flipped version of one of the courses for which we get many students in the tutoring center. One of the students who was in this class was in the center one night asking for help. She described the course as the students having to teach themselves from the videos and then they just do homework during class. Looking back, I doubt this was actually the instructor's plan nor was it probably the way it was explained to students. However, this was how that particular student understood it and explained it to me. I tell you this story to illustrate

Flipped Classes Part 2: 5 Things to Consider When Flipping your Class

So, in part 1 of this series,  I introduced how I define a flipped class. Along the way, I mentioned a few things that need further details. As promised, here they are! So, without further ado, here are 5 things you need to consider when flipping your class. 1. Student Time I made this first because it's so incredibly important but also the easiest one to forget. Despite all of the benefits of a flipped class, we don't get to ask for more time from students. So, if you are going to require students to do something before class, that absolutely has to be offset by how much is required of them after class. Some of the time they would normally spend on their homework is offset by the fact that they have already gotten some practice during class, but this is a pretty small amount. Generally, the rule of thumb is that for every credit hour the course is, you can require 3 hours per week of student time for the median student. In fact, for lots of universities, this is written as p

Flipped Classes Part 1: What is a flipped class?

 Welp, I'm getting this out a week later than I had hoped. I blame the first week of classes. I somehow completely forgot how much time it takes to just answer emails at the start of the semester. Though, considering I'm teaching 300 students, I probably should have anticipated that. Anyway, here is the first part of my series on flipped classes.  So, what is a flipped class? This is one of those terms that has been defined by various researchers who developed the idea, but it has also been used so much that it looks different depending on who you talk to. For me, a class is flipped if students are first exposed to some or all of the course content before class time, which frees up some or all of class time for active learning . That's purposefully a bit vague because the exact setup will vary depending on the instructor, the course content, the size of the course, the needs of the students, and of course whether we are attempting to emergency remote teach through the middl

Snoop Dogg Says Read the Syllabus

 I'm a few days behind on getting last week's post up, and I blame all the beginning-of-semester prep. Tomorrow is the first day of class, so instead of a full post, here's a video of Snoop Dogg telling students to read the syllabus. This week, I'm going to start a series of posts on flipped classrooms, so be on the lookout for a real post on Friday!

Practicing Anti-Racism: Objectivity

 At the Joint Math Meetings (JMM) this year, the MAA-SIAM-AMS Hrabowski-Gates-Tapia-McBay Session Lecture was a moving talk by Dr. Erica Graham at Bryn Mawr College titled "Anti-racism in mathematics: Who, what, when, where, why, and how?".  I feel like it's going to take me until the next JMM to actually process everything in that talk. There were so many important things shared, and it was a great call-to-action.  One of the slides that stuck with me right away was a list of characteristics of white supremacist culture from Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun (2001) . I feel like this list is something I've been searching for in my work towards antiracism. It gives me a straight line from aspects of our culture that don't say the word "race" but do perpetuate racism.  So, I've decided to take this resource and weave it into my practice as a mathematician - and as a person in the world, for that matter. Each semester, I'm going to choose one of these ch

My Teaching Philosophy

 As I begin this blogging adventure, I thought it would make sense to start by outlining my teaching philosophy. There are four basic parts to the "why" of how I teach, outlined below. You must do mathematics to learn mathematics. Seems obvious, right? Yet, our default way of teaching mathematics is to talk mathematics at students, or lecture. Don't get me wrong, I've fallen into this trap. By virtue of being the teacher, we know what we are talking about, so talking about it is the easiest way to present content. However, it is also probably the most inefficient way to teach, for teaching cannot happen if learning does not happen. Lecturing is an instructor-focused activity. Learning, however, is an internal process. Students need to be working their own brains in order to learn, not passively listening to someone else. In my classrooms, I put student thinking and exploration as the focus of class time. That is not to say that I don't ever lecture. In fact, I'