Deeper Learning

Flash Blog Topic: What does deep learning look like in your classroom? How has it changed your/Ss role? How have Ss responded?

Deep Learning – It makes me think of Dead Poet’s Society (but without the dying).  People in cardigans passionately discussing what “it” all means.  Before I decided to flip my class we hardly got a chance to actually read and discuss ANYTHING because I was trying to make sure I COVERED everything!  Oh the stress!

Plus the issue of so many of the students getting stuck on the text – there wasn’t a lot of room for deep learning.  It wasn’t until I decided to make accommodations for those things did we get to where we needed to be.  Students now have the option to listen to every piece of text we are discussing in class.  Through my “audio/visual” text, they are able to rewind and reread until they feel comfortable.  Plus, it’s much less stressful sharing your thoughts and ideas in a group of 5 than a class of 25!  Most of our discussions are held during small group.

The part that I enjoy the most – that I think demonstrates deep learning is what students are able to create based on what they learned.  This is the part that I think has really changed the roles in my classroom.  Although I’m “in charge”, students have to opportunity of CHOICE which is often missing; mostly because I think teachers are sure what will happen if the loosen the reigns a little bit.  When students are given a choice, it allows their natural talents to shine through…it gives them confidence.


Initially my students whined and complained.  And I have to admit – it is really difficult in changing the mindset; look how long it took me!  In addition to the fact that they are expected to adapt to so many changed….they go from 3 teachers to 6 teachers, add lockers, and two of the meanest teachers on Earth (my math partner and I), middle school is daunting.  And on top of that I really want them to think? *gasp*  But when they see what they’re able to accomplish on their own – it changes them.  It makes them stronger; it makes them better.

One week, I told the kids, “I’m not gonna lie.  This text is HARD!  But we’ll get through it together.”  That night a student sent me this message.

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Made my freakin’ day! 🙂

Until the next time,


Fitting It All In


Being an ELA teacher is tough. I mean, who else has to teacher 3 subjects in one? Reading, Writing, and Vocabulary….each with their own set of standards!

I have to admit, since I flipped my classroom, I no longer have quite the stress that I’ve had in the past.

Let’s do the math…..60 minute periods…..25-30 students…..3 subjects…..6th graders! Before flipping, sometime it would take me a week to get through a lesson! Now that I’m flipping, that same lesson is done in one day. Students alternate between reading and writing instruction through videos which allows me time to work with students in small groups and/or on an individualized basis. I also have more time for students to create based on their learning…..Ah-Mazing!

To be honest, I have at least touched on every standard and most of them I’ve been able to go over in depth, assess, and reteach. And I almost don’t know what to do because this has NEVER happened to me before….NEVER.

And I have to tell you that it’s the BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD!!!

Until the next time,